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Managing your energy in the workplace

Posted by: Adam Refoufi - Posted on:

Managing your energy in the workplace

Perry Timms, Founder and Chief Energy Officer at People and Transformational HR shares five tips to help with managing your energy at work.


Hi, I’m Perry Timms, founder and chief energy officer of People and Transformational H.R. A small H.R. organisation, design, development and change consultancy across four time zones with nine of us who operate under that banner.

What we do as an organisation is we stand to help to transform the people profession, to create more agile and inclusive ways of working, and help design organisations where people flourish. And I have a real fixation on energy, and I’m sure all of you in the beloved NHS have expended an extraordinary amount of energy over the last few months and continue to do so. So I’ll start with a big sense of gratitude for all that you do and all that you continue to do for the rest of the country.

I’d like to talk to you today about several factors around energy. And so we’re either working in a converged sense, as in we still have to attend the place of work or we may be working in a diverged sense. And that means working from home or for a real alternative location. So we still have distance measures and we still have people who converge. And so I guess both of these apply equally within your converged or diverged. If you’re converged, I guess you’ve got 3 D’s to bear in mind in those three days. Are demands, distance and defence. By defence, I mean safety, protective equipment, that kind of thing. And if you’re diverged, you have three I’s, irregularity, isolation and inclusion. So demands, distance and defence, irregularity, isolation and inclusion. The factors around energy are still the same, just in different circumstances and perspectives.

So my tips in this video to help you with energy management, because there is no such thing as time management, you can’t manage time, it just progresses, but you can manage your energy within that. And the first one is to know your energy and by knowing your energy what I mean there is, when you’re at your best, how you deal with fluctuations in your energy. What kind of rhythm you have. Those things are quite important because as we design jobs and as we undertake tasks and activities within those jobs, they are rarely designed with energy in mind. There’s almost an assumption that we have a full stack of energy and we use it to discharge those responsibilities in our job. But we work in different ways. Some people love quiet periods of deep reflection and deep work, and others love variety and stimulation. So there’s something about knowing your energy that I think is a great place to start. So write it down, create a mood board, whatever you want to do, but know your energy.

As a result of that my second tip is to map your energy. And by that, what we need to think about is what is a high boost for our energy? What activities do I get involved in where my energy is actually boosted by doing the activity? And similarly, where are the drains on my energy and then looking at the workload and the schedule and so on. What is a very high demand of our energy? So contributes to that drain. And then where and how do we best utilise our energy during the day? So you can map out the challenges and the task and activities and create an energy map that says for doing this, I need all of my optimal introverted energy to concentrate and reflect. And therefore I’m going to map that into my day when I know my rhythm is going to be conducive with that.

My third point then is to time box for your energy and by time box what I mean is, look at the tasks that you’ve got to do during the day and start to think how long is that going to take me in terms of time? Because you can’t manage the time, but you can manage your energy within that time. Now I use a simple technique, its either a quarter an hour, half an hour, an hour, two hours, four hours or eight hours. And so just using that calculation, you can look at the demands of the day and allocate the time box to some of the aspects of that day to map them to what you’ve just done with your energy.

My third point, fourth point even, at the end of it, is then to journal your energy. So the end of the day reflect back. Where did I get those moments of spark that lifted my energy where the biggest drains but create a kind of daily routine of journaling so that you can look at punctuations and look at how you can perhaps manage your energy a little bit better the following day. And then my fifth final point is to engage with your energy. And by that, what I mean is listen to yourself about how you feel. Perhaps share that with colleagues when you’re in conversations with them, either diverged work in setting or a converged working setting and start to think about empathy within sharing of energy. So you can say to people, I’ve had a tough day. It’s been really demanding. I’ve had to compute so much up here and my heart has been right in the job and I’m completely drained. And just exchange those kinds of things and collaborate and support each other based on your engagement with energy and others will do the same. So those are my five points. Know your energy, map your energy,  time box for your energy, journal your energy, and engage with your energy. And then I think whether we conversed or diverged, we will be creating an energised workplace designed where people flourish. Thanks very much.

 

Having written publications on creating an energised workplace where people are able to flourish and reach their potential, Perry:

  • Highlights the type of energies used most
  • Encourages reflection about what activities motivate and drain you
  • Explains how to make yourself more effective by actively managing your energy throughout the work day

Whether you are still attending your ordinary place of work, or working from home or from another remote space, paying attention to these five tips can help:

1. Know your energy

Everyone is different and knowing your own energy rhythm can help:

– How does your energy fluctuate throughout the day?

– Do you like periods of deep reflection or do you prefer variety and stimulation?

2. Map your energy

Mapping out challenges and tasks for the day can help to line up tasks alongside your energy rhythms:

– What activities boost your energy?

– What activities drain your energy?

I.e. What activities will require you to think and reflect and where can you best schedule to do these in your day?

3. Time-box your energy

Looking at the tasks and activities you need to do in the day, ask yourself:

– How long will each task or activity take?

– How can you map these alongside where your energy levels will likely be at?

4. Journal your energy

Reflect back on your day and journal your experience of how you used your energy. This will help to learn how to manage your energy better tomorrow

5. Engage with your energy

– Listen to yourself about how you feel

– Share with others how you felt throughout the day

– Think about how to empathise with yourself and others about how energy is used

Whether you are working in converged sense or a diverged sense, these tips will help to create an energised workplace where people can flourish.

Further resources

For further reading on the topic:

The Energized Workplace: Designing Organizations Where People Flourish by Perry Timms, Kogan Page Publication 2020

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