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15 Things You Can Do To Sustain Energy All Day

15 Things You Can Do To Sustain Energy All Day

How familiar does this sound to you?

You wake up in the early morning, tired. You scramble to the kitchen for your first coffee hit, get on the train to work with a spring in your step, get to work feeling relatively energetic, but by mid-morning you feel your energy is declining so you reach for coffee number two. It keeps you going for a short while and before you know it lunch comes around. You’re hungry, so lunch comes at the perfect time, but after lunch you experience the mid-afternoon lull and your eyes spend most of your remaining work hours staring at the clock hoping that 5:30 p.m. will swing by so you can get home and rest.

Home is comforting and the kids are so excited to see you, but you plant yourself on the sofa citing a stressful day for your lack of desire to engage with them. Dinner’s done, the kids are in bed and by now you’ve cemented your butt so deep in the sofa that getting up for a glass of water seems as likely as you winning the lotto. Off to bed you go and even your partner’s bedroom eyes aren’t enough to keep you from crashing out within five minutes.

The next day, 6 a.m. rolls around, the alarm sounds its horn and, yes, you guessed it: Groundhog Day!

Not exactly the life you craved, but one that millions of us are unfortunately experiencing, day in, day out. We crave energy like a breath underwater and find any form of pick-me-up we can get our hands on to keep us conscious as the day goes on.

What we don’t tend to realize is that the more reliant we are on external sources of energy, the more harm we are doing to our bodies, and what is really happening is that we are ignoring our bodies’ signals to slow down.

But what if you could change all of that? Do you not think that by sustaining a constant level of energy you would improve your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your sleep, amongst other areas of your life? It really is a no-brainer: life would be way more fulfilling. How is it possible? Below you’ll find a list of the 15 most effective ways you can sustain energy all day long.

1. Do what you love

Quite simply put, the further you steer away from the things you love, the less likely you are to enjoy doing what you are doing, and we all know that doing something you dislike can be exhausting. Avoid tasks that you haven’t the slightest interest in performing if you want to keep your energy up.

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How can you bring back the love? Dig deep into the areas of your life that you are unsure about right now and ask yourself how they align with the person you are. If they do align, let go and allow yourself to fall in love with them.

2. Be grateful for the craziness

We all experience some kind of crazy during the day, and at that point you think you’ll find calm you know as well as I do that something else will crop up to throw your plans out the window.

Be grateful for the craziness by reminding yourself that there is only so much that you have control over and that there isn’t such a rush to get everything done at once. Learn to take it in your stride.

3. Pump up your playlist

Ooh, this one is great! Feel-good music at the time you are feeling low is highly recommended. Fix up a playlist of your most favorite tunes and be sure that when you are feeling low, you step away from what you are doing, plug your earphones in, and hit that play button.

Feel-good music will activate the pleasure center in the brain, which will send surges of exhilaration through the body. Just the substitute for the third cup of coffee, don’t you think?

4. Connect with your best buddies

We are social creatures, always wanting to feel loved and connected to others. Being in contact with your buddies is a great way to do that. Think of how many times you have picked up the phone or sent a text and the other person’s response has put a smile on your face.

Take a moment out of your day to give someone close to you a call and take your mind of the day’s challenges.

5. Make someone’s day

Doing good for others is probably the most energizing thing you can do. It makes you feel good, gives you a sense of achievement, and will make your day. It releases happy hormones in the brain, which go some way to energizing you. More on this later.

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Take time to physically help someone you know is struggling, and make sure you do not leave until you have given your all to help them out.

6. Be grateful

Gratitude is the gateway to your heart. When you are able to give thanks and show gratitude, you will open up your heart and mind to be inspired and uncover your own genius. Be grateful for all that has happened in your life because it is all one big lesson.

How can you show gratitude during the day? Take a moment each time you are feeling stressed or de-energized to remember all the good things that are happening in your life right now and literally say thank you for each and every one. Be grateful to yourself and the people you reflect through and you will find more love and energy will flow through you.

7. Eliminate a stressor

We experience stress in many different areas of our life. Imagine a jar full to the brim with all your stress and now think about what would happen if you were to add more stress to the jar. You’d experience an overflow, or in real life terms, a breakdown. Before you get to that point, it would be wise to attack a stress head on before it starts to take over your life.

How to eliminate a stressor? Forget all the minor distractions and tackle a big task you have immediately before it takes up valuable brain power and becomes a stress.

8. Boost your oxytocin

Oxytocin is known as the love hormone and is released in the body when connection is made and good is done for others. It’ll make you feel good and also crave for more, so quite like point five above, it would serve you to help and serve others to the best of your ability.

Build a new connection today by being open to people and making an effort to engage with them.

9. Smile in the most testing of moments

You’ve heard the popular quote: “Smile and the world smiles with you.” Well, smiling releases the feel-good chemical in the brain to help you forget the moments that may be zapping your energy. Smile and remember that you can’t control everything. It’s contagious too, try it!

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Get people smiling and laughing and you’ll create a happier, more positive environment.

10. Take time out to breathe

The less energy you have, the more threatened the body feels to keep up with all that it’s faced with. The more threatened you feel the more shallow your breathing will become, which will affect the quality of your respiratory function. I suggest you take time out of your day to slow down and control your breathing, rather than letting it control you.

Try to close your eyes and start breathing through your belly rather than your chest to help reset your correct breathing patterns.

11. Take out the trash

You know the moments when your mind is congested with a load of thoughts and you find yourself not focusing? Well, have you ever thought about taking out the trash? That is, quite literally, eliminating all the garbage thoughts that are holding you back from doing exactly what you had set out to do. Get rid of them!

Thoughts come and go, so don’t be afraid of ones that keep reappearing, just find a way to let them go as quickly as they entered your mind so that you can regain focus.

12. Stay hydrated

Studies may vary slightly on how much of the body is made up of water but be sure it isn’t less than 70%. With that knowledge it’s advisable to keep hydrated throughout the day. Your cells need water to function, and once hydrated will keep the organs and then the systems of your body intact too.

For the best results try drinking one liter of water per 50 pounds of bodyweight.

13. Get a good night’s sleep

Most of us underestimate the importance sleep plays to our energy levels and getting less than eight hours a night can be very damaging to long-term health. During your sleep you will get physical and mental repair, so ensure you get more sleep to keep yourself from snoozing at your desk.

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Getting to bed as early as 10 p.m. is advised to ensure that your body is able to repair both mentally and physically.

14. Count your successes

Each time you reward yourself for a success, your brain releases the neurotransmitter known as dopamine, which stimulates happiness and which recent research suggests regulates motivation. So don’t be afraid of giving yourself a pat on the back every time you tick a task off your to-do list.

Point to note: Stick to achievable tasks on your to-do list so that you get the chance to release dopamine.

15. Move, move, move

We are creatures of movement, and if you hadn’t noticed, the sedentary lifestyles lived by many are causing great harm to our health. In primal times we were on the go all day, only sitting down for our evening meals after a long, arduous hunt to catch our goodies for the evening. It is not uncommon for us now to be seated for up to 90% of our day, which is causing havoc with our hormones, health and happiness, and our energy.

Starting tomorrow, make an effort to move more by setting your alarm to sound every hour to remind you to get up, walk around and mobilize your body. Soon enough it’ll become a habit you won’t want to get rid of.

Find a way to make use of these points to sustain energy through out your day. Before long you will be bouncing around like an Easter Bunny all day long.

Featured photo credit: 15 things you can do to sustain energy all day via photopin.com

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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