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Published on December 21, 2018

12 Changes to Make When You Feel a Lack of Energy and Motivation

12 Changes to Make When You Feel a Lack of Energy and Motivation

Do you ever feel tired of feeling tired? It’s like you get up in the morning and instead of feeling rejuvenated like the people from the TV commercials, you drudge the sound of your alarm and hit it like Ted Williams hits a baseball.

The worst thing is that you have work that needs to be done and you literally can’t afford to slog throughout the day. But there are ways how you can fix that. Since your body is a holistic being, the change in one area will affect a plethora of changes in the other ones. So that’s why these changes will make you feel energetic and motivated to push the day.

The changes affect one of the four crucial categories of every single person:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Intellectual
  • Spiritual

So let’s start to make these changes if you feel a lack of energy and motivation:

Physical

1. Daily walks

Most of us do work which requires us to sit for a long time in uncomfortable chairs. The human body isn’t designed for that. So take 10-30 minutes every single day and just go for a walk. It will help your body stay healthy.

And if you think you don’t have time for that, you can invite a person with whom you need to have a meeting and go for a “walking meeting.” You basically go for a walk and have the meeting in that kind of setup.

There are no excuses which would prevent you from doing this activity – it’s light, easy, and short. But at the same time, provides the much-needed boost to energy for your body.

2. Take a nap

If you think that the kids in the pre-school are foolish to take afternoon naps, you are missing out on a great energy boost. A mere nap of 20-30 minutes boosts your focus, lets your “smart” brain refocus and prepare you for more work that you need to do.

All the biggest performers in the history took naps because their work required immense amounts of cognitive focus which drains you of energy. That’s why naps are important.

3. Stretch

Sometimes, all you need is to stretch your body for two minutes. When you’re stiff, especially if you don’t exercise in the morning, your body still didn’t wake up. So it’s important to let loose all the body parts and allow a non-disrupted flow of energy throughout it.

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This will make the blood flow better, especially coming to your head which needs to focus on demanding cognitive tasks. So stand up from your chair and stretch yourself out because it will make you more energized. You can also try these simple stretches in your office.

Emotional

4. Eat what fills the head and the stomach

I didn’t put food in the physical part because for most of us, the relationship with our food is emotional and there is a big reason for that. The sugar-heavy saturated food makes us high at the moment but then comes the low and you lose all energy to do anything at 11 am which is absurd.

When you start thinking about food, start thinking about usability and pick the one which you can use the most. High fiber, protein food will fill your stomach but your brain as well and you won’t be tired after it.

5. Call a friend

Relationships play a major part in our lives. They are the main source of our happiness and our entire species is called a social animal. So when you get down and low, one of the best energy boosters is actually going into a social environment and just having a good time.

Social circles tend to pump the energy back into us even when we think we have no energy left for anything.

If you are at work and there are no “water cooler” talks around, simply call a friend on the phone and talk with him for a minute. Don’t message him, simply give a call and talk over the phone.

6. Play a game

Do you know that most CEO’s reported that they play games to be more productive. Sounds a bit paradoxical, but when you take into the account the nature of games, you understand the reasoning behind it.

Games are old as human civilization itself and even though we fail at around 80% of the games that we play, we still enjoy playing them.

Playing a simple game of, let’s say, Minesweeper can make you feel more productive and energized. So don’t think of games as energy wasters, think of them as energy amplifiers.

Intellectual

7. Play some music in the background

It doesn’t matter if it’s only white noise in the background or classical music or pop songs, music does wonders to us regarding energy and motivation.

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You know what works best for you and during which time and this only serves as a reminder that sometimes you need some music in life to make magic happen. Here’re some nice motivational songs you can try: 30 Inspirational Songs that Keep You Motivated for Life

P.S. I was listening to Dragon Ball- Cha La (German version) while writing this. There is just something super motivating, inspiring, and energizing in that song for me which forces me to write until my hands bleed.

8. Books

The stimulus provided by books help you regain focus for a longer period of time. So you should start reading some (if you already don’t).

In the beginning, people can’t read more than a couple of pages of a book without falling asleep. That’s perfectly fine because your brain is readjusting to the focus necessary to read through tens of pages of a book.

After a month of reading books daily (20 pages per day will suffice)[1], it will be way easier for you to stay focused and energized at work because you will have trained your brain to stay sharp and focused for a longer period of time.

9. Change frames and perspectives

Frames are a powerful weapon in hands of people who know how to use them. When you encounter a problem or a challenge which makes you stop before you even start, the problem isn’t in the task itself but in the way you approach (frame) that kind of task.

Doing a gym routine of six exercises with 4 repetitions each becomes way easier when you think about it in terms of levels in a game. You start a quest to level up your physical attributes of strength and stamina, and each rep brings in more experience which makes you level up at the end of the gym routine.

Whenever something brings your energy down or makes you feel unmotivated, try to look at it from a different angle.[2] When you change your relationship with a problem, it stops being a problem.

Spiritual

10. Meditation

Taking just a minute to breathe in and out, focusing and letting go of your thoughts through meditation and mindfulness can bring your energy levels back up in an instant.

Meditation has been used for thousands of years as a stress reliever, happiness bringer, and energy booster. If you are working in a crowded office, find just a minute of quiet and alone time to meditate and you will see major differences in your energy and motivation levels.

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11. “Get in zone” ritual

Most people today call it “flow”. It’s about finding the sweet spot between boredom of menial tasks and the anxiety of tasks for which we are incompetent.

When you get yourself in the zone, you distort time and gain massive focus and energy to do anything which is in front of you. Runners use the term “runners high” for this.

I used to be a gamer and I could sit in the chair for 10 hours playing the game without moving a muscle or even flinching. The immense focus and energy I summoned for that were incomparable with everything else in my life.

It’s not that we don’t have the energy and motivation, it’s just that we don’t have a clear path of summoning it (yes, I just used a gamer reference). Flow provides us with that path.

12. The power of now

Whenever we’re doing something, we are always thinking about the next thing that we have to. This makes us constantly chasing something which is in the future and is never quite here.

You are working on a task for a client at the moment, but you’re constantly thinking about the meeting that you have in three hours.

When you come to the meeting, you are constantly thinking about having to go to the gym in two hours.

When you come to the gym, you are constantly thinking about dinner with your wife and kids.

When you start dinner with your family and kids, you constantly think about the report that you need to send before you go to bed.

When you get in bed, you think about the things that you need to do in the morning as soon as you wake up.

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And this perpetual cycle keeps going and going until you are out of breath, energy, motivation to do anything.

The point is to stop and be in the moment — enjoy the power of now. It provides so much rejuvenation to simply look at a tree and think about nothing except that tree. When you live in the moment, it not only brings energy but conserves the one which you would spend thinking and worrying about the future things that you need to do.

Small Changes Bring Big Results

All of these changes don’t seem like a big deal when you read about them. But in practice, they make massive results especially if you can combine them. The big results come only from an accumulation of small things so the sooner you start working on them, the sooner you will see the results in bigger energy levels and motivation.

The small changes in the physical domain include taking daily walks, napping, and stretching.

The small changes in the emotional domain include eating the right kind of food, talking with friends, and playing games.

The small changes in the intellectual domain include listening to music, reading books, and changing frames/perspectives.

The small changes in the spiritual domain include meditation, getting in the zone/flow, and being the moment (having the power of now).

Small changes, big results.  What are you waiting for?

Featured photo credit: Seth Doyle via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Bruno Boksic

An expert in habit building

12 Changes to Make When You Feel a Lack of Energy and Motivation How to Break a Bad Habit and Retrain Your Brain Feeling Unmotivated During the Day? Best Morning Routine for Success 20 Tips to Get Your Bedtime Routine Started for a Better Tomorrow Conflict Management: How to Turn Any Conflicts into Opportunities

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Published on January 16, 2019

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

  • Are you a great strategist?
  • Are you an effective planner?
  • Is Project Management your strength?
  • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
  • Are you the ideas person?
  • Is Implementation your strength?

Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

4. Take Time for Planning

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

You can take the time to think about:

  • What’s the purpose of the project?
  • How Important is it?
  • When does it need to be delivered by?
  • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
  • What are the KPIs?
  • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
  • Who is working on this project?
  • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
  • What tolerances can I add in?
  • What are the review stages?
  • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

5. Focus on Priorities

Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
  4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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    The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

    If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

    If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

    6. Take Time Out

    To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

    If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

    Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

    In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

    Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

    7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

    Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

    I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

    Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

    If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

    8. Stop Multitasking

    Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

    So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

    When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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    If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

    9. Work in Blocks of Time

    To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

    I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

    Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

    Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

    Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

    Then take another 10-minute break.

    Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

    By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

    10. Get Rid of Distractions

    Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

    “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

    Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

    If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

    11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

    You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

    Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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    Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

    12. Take a Time Audit

    Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

    Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

    You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

    Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

    Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

    At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

    If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

    13. Protect Your Confidence

    It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

    When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

    Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

    When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

    Final Words

    A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

    The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

    If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

    Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

    Reference

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