The Energy Project

TheEnergyProject (Image: The Energy Project)

I’ve had a few aha moments over at The Energy Project, so I thought I’d share some of my favourite tips from them about performance and productivity.

They offer a curriculum called peoplefuel, which “teaches people at all levels in companies to more efficiently manage their four sources of energy.” Those four sources of energy are:

  1. Physical
  2. Emotional
  3. Mental
  4. Spiritual

This concept, of taking an inventory of your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual energy, applies to everyone, including self-employed individuals like myself, and serves to make you aware of areas where your energy is needlessly being zapped.

I love the idea of regular self-inventories!

Energy Rituals

One of my favourite Energy Project concepts is energy rituals, which are “highly specific behaviours done at precise times.”

The idea is that if you develop rituals for your daily routine – setting your alarm for the same time every day, always working out first thing in the morning – you’ll have more energy leftover for the important stuff like productivity at work and being present with friends and family.

I cook a nice meal most nights of the week, which would take far too much time and energy if I didn't prepare for it, but every weekend I make a menu for the week ahead and from that I make a grocery list for all of the items I'll need. Then I pick up everything except for the produce needed for the end of the week, which I'll pick up mid-week so it's fresh when I go to use it.

That way, during the course of my day I never have to distract myself from work, thinking about what's for dinner and whether or not I have everything necessary on hand.

All I have to do is turn on some music, pour myself a drink (whether that's sparkling water or wine), and whip up a healthy meal.

Also take a look at The Energy Project’s CEO Tony Schwartz’s article about energy rituals for the Harvard Business Review.

Energy Quadrants

Another concept that struck me as useful is the idea of energy quadrants, which is defining your current energy as one of the following:

  1. Performance
  2. Recovery
  3. Burnout
  4. Survival

Schwartz says, “Human beings are actually designed to pulse. We’re most productive when we move between expending energy and intermittently renewing our four energy needs: sustainability (physical), security (emotional); self-expression (mental) and significance (spiritual).”

So, in terms of energy quadrants, alternating between performance and recovery is ideal. If you’re hanging out in the burnout or survival quadrant, it’s time to survey your energy sources, address which areas need improvement, and follow through with step-by-step actions.

Be Excellent at Anything

Lastly, Schwartz has a new book, which is on my to-read list, called Be Excellent at Anything: The Four Keys To Transforming the Way We Work and Live. You can have a peak at it on Google Books.