How to Better Perform at Work?

Energy Management For Employees and Businesses

The Basics

What: Summary of Harvard University researched energy management for employees and business owners to increase your capacity to get things done.

Source: Harvard University, Tony Schwartz author of The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working

Great for: Allocating time and energy to the areas of your life—work, family, health, service to others, and living your core values in your daily behaviour.


The science of stamina has advanced to the point where individuals, teams, and whole organizations can, with some straightforward interventions, significantly increase their capacity to get things done.

STOP Putting in Longer Hours of Work

Most of us respond to rising demands in the workplace by putting in longer hours, which has a serious effect on our physically, mentally, and emotionally. That leads to declining levels of engagement, increasing levels of distraction, high turnover rates, and soaring medical costs among employees.

Invest Time in Your Energy

The core problem with working longer hours is that time is a finite resource. Energy is a different story. Defined in physics as the capacity to work, energy comes from four main sources in human beings: the body, emotions, mind, and spirit. In each, energy can be systematically expanded and regularly renewed by establishing specific rituals—behaviours that are intentionally practiced with a commitment and discipline, with the goal of making them unconscious and automatic as quickly as possible.

To effectively reenergize their workforces, organisations need to shift their emphasis from getting more out of people to investing more in them, so they are motivated—and able—to bring more of themselves to work every day. To recharge themselves, individuals need to recognize the costs of energy-depleting behaviours and then take responsibility for changing them, regardless of the circumstances they’re facing.

Establishing simple rituals such as an earlier bedtime, giving up drinking or smoking, morning exercise, taking morning and afternoon walks, meditation can lead to striking results across organisations. 

Manage Your Energy in Four Areas

The Body: Physical Energy

Intermittent breaks for renewal, we have found, result in higher and more sustainable performance. The length of renewal is less important than the quality. It is possible to get a great deal of recovery in a short time—as little as several minutes—if it involves a ritual that allows you to disengage from work and truly change channels. This is an answer if you ask: How long you can work without work? That could range from getting up to talk to a colleague about something other than work, to listening to music on an iPod, to walking up and downstairs in an office building. While breaks are countercultural in most organizations and counterintuitive for many high achievers, their value is multifaceted.

The Emotion: Quality of Energy

When people are able to take more control of their emotions, they can improve the quality of their energy, regardless of the external pressures they’re facing. To do this, they first must become more aware of how they feel at various points during the workday and of the impact these emotions have on their effectiveness. Most people realize that they tend to perform best when they’re feeling positive energy. Unfortunately, without intermittent recovery, we’re not physiologically capable of sustaining highly positive emotions for long periods. Fight-or-flight emotions also make it impossible to think clearly, logically, and reflectively. When executives learn to recognize what kinds of events trigger their negative emotions, they gain a greater capacity to take control of their reactions.

People can cultivate positive emotions by learning to change the stories they tell themselves about the events in their lives. Often, people are in conflict with themselves in the role of victim, blaming others or external circumstances for their problems. We got to recognise what is happening inside us and outside without having an outside environment impact our inner peace. Becoming aware of the difference between the facts in a given situation and the way we interpret those facts can be powerful in itself. It’s been a revelation for many of the people we work with to discover they have a choice about how to view a given event and to recognize how powerfully the story they tell influences the emotions they feel.

The Mind: Focus of Energy

Many executives view multitasking as a necessity in the face of all the demands they juggle, but it actually undermines productivity. Distractions are costly: A temporary shift in attention from one task to another—stopping to answer an e-mail or take a phone call, for instance—increases the amount of time necessary to finish the primary task by as much as 25%, a phenomenon known as “switching time.” It’s far more efficient to fully focus for 90 to 120 minutes, take a true break, and then fully focus on the next activity. We refer to these work periods as “ultradian sprints.”

The Human Spirit: Energy of Meaning and Purpose

To access the energy of the human spirit, people need to clarify priorities and establish accompanying rituals in three categories: doing what they do best and enjoy most at work; consciously allocating time and energy to the areas of their lives—work, family, health, service to others—they deem most important, and living their core values in their daily behaviors.

The science to healthy use of fear for abundance.

Discover how to use fears to escape the anxiety trap and create the life you want.

Free Webinar