Everyone has the same amount of time to work with.
But how come some entrepreneurs are able to accomplish 10 times as much as others?
We all know the type. Maybe you’re one of them yourself. The kind of person whom just looking at their daily schedule can make a “normal” achiever feel a bit sick.
They’re driven and focused, sure. But they also have a secret weapon that many of us don’t: tons of energy.
Many people chase more energy for years. How can you finally find it, and use it to start making the impact you’d like to make?
Keep reading to find out!
The Low-Energy Dilemma
Practically all of us have struggled with energy lulls. Getting important work done during those times is nothing short of miserable.
External motivations are often what it takes. Telling your boss you can’t handle a big project because you hardly slept all week isn’t an option. Neither is missing deadlines. You’re simply forced to power through your exhaustion.
That can change for entrepreneurs. For those working with clients, you still might have deadlines to drag you (kicking and screaming, most likely) through those low-energy periods. Other entrepreneurs, who have little to fall back on besides self-imposed deadlines, are left to figure out the energy issue all on their own.
Time management is crucial, but energy management trumps is even more important. What’s the use of meticulously carving out blocks of work time if you’re snoozing at the keyboard?
A Practical Blueprint for More Energy
Fortunately, there are plenty of practical ways for entrepreneurs to gain energy – even without external motivators like bosses or deadlines.
Here’s a 7-step blueprint. Apply each step one at a time, and you can take charge of your work instead of work taking charge of you.
Let’s get to it:
1. Start with a Vision (and Review It Daily)
Image credit: BreaW
It’s hard to shoot out of bed in the morning when things just feel… pointless.
If you’ve ever had a job you hated, I’m sure you can sympathize. What’s the point of getting excited? So you plow through the day however you can – usually with a caffeine drip so steady it might as well come from an IV.
This can happen to entrepreneurs too. After the initial excitement of starting a business wanes, you get lost in the grind. You lose sight of the bigger picture: the vision that inspired you to start in the first place!
A compelling vision is a high-entrepreneur’s heart. Even if things suck right now, they know where they’re going. That keeps them humming along day after day.
How do you want your business to look next year? How about in 5 years?
Maybe you had inklings of these things while starting out, but it’s easy for them to get lost in the day-to-day. Now’s the time to bring that vision back to the forefront. If you’ve never thought about this seriously, now’s the time to clarify exactly what it is that you want.
Your business vision is entirely your own, but it can include things like:
- How you see yourself spending your time
- The impact you want to make
- The products/services you want to create
- Your dream schedule
- Your ideal customers/clients
Imagine these things in vivid detail. And don’t just imagine them: write them all down! Don’t worry if you don’t have everything figured out. You can always tweak the details. Your vision is just a target – something to aim at and direct your energy. It will evolve along with you.
Once you have your vision as well-defined as possible, review it daily. Nothing motivates me more than reading my vision first thing before I start my workdays and right before bed.
You can even expand this exercise to encompass every aspect of your life. Where are you living? What do your health and personal relationships look like? Which adventures do you take?
Find your vision. Take a few weeks if you need to; it’s that important. Pinpoint that vision, and refresh it daily in your mind. You’re on the path to a lot more energy.
2. Cut out the Negative Influences
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Once you have your vision and are reviewing it daily, things can feel a little strange.
You have grand plans. But you’re also well-aware that your day-to-day habits don’t always align with those plans. There’s a tug-of-war happening in your subconscious.
You can make huge strides by cutting out as many negative influences as you can.
Most of us spend chunks of our day gossiping, watching depressing news shows, and browsing low-value websites. We spend all this time eating mental “junk food”… and then we wonder why we don’t have more energy!
This is something I struggle with all the time. Sometimes I even catch myself halfway through an article. Getting caught up in negative cycles can be addicting.
Now’s the chance to take an inventory. Here are just a few things worth dropping right away:
- Gossip. Instead of talking about others, spend that time pursuing your vision.
- Low-value media. This stuff that isn’t necessarily negative in tone, but it adds little value to your life. It’s the Buzzfeed articles and funny cat videos. Small doses are fine. But if you’re spending a significant amount of time here, consider replacing it with higher-quality information.
- Negative media. “Hate reading” articles about people, political groups, or anything else is no path to more energy. Neither is immersing yourself in depressing news.
- Negative people. This is one of the hardest ones. But sometimes it’s time to step away from those people who are always complaining and negative.
Don’t know if something is negative? All it takes to clarify is a single question: Is this activity bringing me closer to my vision? If not, you know what to do.
3. Get Proactive about Your Stress
Image credit: Shivmirthyu
You’ll find yourself with a lot more energy after getting clear on your vision and dropping some mental baggage.
The more big moves you make as an entrepreneur, the more you expose yourself to uncomfortable, stressful situations. Some entrepreneurs simply accept this and deal with things as they come.
It’s better to go a step further. Stress is cumulative. We might not feel it because it builds up gradually. Or we get so used to it that “stressed” just feels like “normal.”
You can create more energy by getting proactive. If you do something to ease stress regularly – something more than just navigating the stressful situation – you can counteract the negative effects.
There’s no set formula here. The main thing is to do something consistently. For that reason, it’s easier to pick something you enjoy and look forward to.
Here are a few things you could try:
- Creating art
- Deep breathing or meditation
- Listening to music
- Reading fiction
Make time for this – even if you can only swing 10 or 15 minutes a day. You deserve it.
Image credit: skeeze
When you’re exhausted all the time, moving around is the last thing you want to do. Better to sink into the couch and watch Seinfeld returns until your eyes glaze over.
But movement is actually one of the best things you can do to feel more energetic.
It sounds counter intuitive, but it’s true. Researchers found that people who exercised regularly – even at low intensities – reported feeling more energetic throughout the week. And while watching a movie or TV show might seem relaxing, it can actually overstimulate the brain. That makes you even more tired than before.
You don’t have to engage in long, strenuous workouts to experience the energy-boosting effects. Simply getting your blood flowing throughout the day – whether it’s stretching, brief walks, or trying a standing desk – will make you more alert and focused come work time.
Getting a health tracker, like a Fitbit, was one of the best things I’ve done to stay motivated here. I had a bad habit of getting sucked into work and sitting for long periods without remembering to get up and move. The tracker is a great motivator. It’s easy to see how many steps I’ve taken – and how many more I need to reach my daily target. You can even set some trackers to beep whenever you haven’t moved after a certain period.
5. Cultivate Positivity
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Removing negative inputs from your life will make you feel more energetic. Adding positive ones will take it even further.
That’s where cultivating a positive attitude comes in. How many super negative people have you met who are just bursting with energy? Probably zero.
Take a few minutes each day to write down what makes you grateful. No item is too small. Even if your day went terribly, there’s almost always something positive you can take away from it. Maybe it’s the chance to practice your skills. Or having a roof over your head and food at your table. Your health and relationships are always good ones to focus on.
Numerous studies have found that keeping a gratitude journal resulted in more energy, alertness, and enthusiasm while reducing stress.
And remember to laugh. Laughter has been proven to reduce stress, but studies reveal it can also boost energy levels.
6. Get Your Sleep and Nutrition on Point
Image credit: Ranya
You see this advice all the time, and there’s a good reason: they form the foundation of an energetic, productive person!
I won’t dive too much into specifics because you’ve probably heard them before, but here are a few key principles to keep in mind:
- Avoid sugary foods and drinks.
- Focus on nutrient-dense foods. Vegetables, fruits, protein (whether you eat animals or not), and healthy fats (nuts, olives, avocados, etc.) are the cornerstones of a healthy diet. The more active you are, the more carbohydrates you can consume for energy.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol.
- Make sure you’re sleeping enough. Most people need 7 to 8 hours a night.
- Sleep quality matters too. Don’t just sleep enough; sleep well. Make sure your bedroom is completely dark. The National Sleep Foundation recommends your room be cool, somewhere between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. If you struggle falling asleep, create your own wind-down ritual (showering, having some tea, light reading, etc.) to ease your mind.
Sometimes you’ll stay up too late, eat poorly, or have a few too many margaritas. That’s life. You’re only human. Enjoy those times, have fun, and get back to your healthy program as soon as possible.
7. Understand Your Natural Energy Rhythms and Align Your Work Accordingly
Image credit: jarmoluk
Even if you normally have a lot of energy, you don’t have a lot of energy all the time.
It’d be awesome if we had a steady flow of energy throughout the day. But our bodies don’t work like that. There are peaks and valleys, like ocean waves.
Some entrepreneurs fight their natural energy rhythms. When they slow down (usually in the mid-afternoon), they just hammer a Red Bull, splash some water on their face, and push on.
I was one of them. For years. I ended up exhausted every night and addicted to caffeine. Worst of all, the work I did during those energy lulls wasn’t nearly as sharp. That meant I had to go back and fix it often.
That changed after I gave up. I surrendered to the peaks and valleys. And, because I knew when I was most likely to be tired, I arranged my schedule so those times coincided with less demanding tasks.
You can do this too.
This is the essence of energy management. Instead of cramming demanding tasks into low-energy periods, you could:
- Do admin work (email, pay bills, send invoices, etc.)
- Do your stress management practice
- Take a nap or meditate
You might work a little less, but you’ll get more done. And you’ll feel better doing it too. Win, win.
You have more energy available to you than you know.
With action, you can unlock it and reap the benefits.
It’s time to stop feeling worn out every day. It’s time to crush your work and still have energy to spare. Give these tips a try.