I am incredibly grateful to have the Harvard Business School, www.harvardbusiness.org, wisdom at my fingertips. I was digging around looking for an article regarding practicing, how to practice more efficiently, become better at whatever we do as court reporters, and somehow Google led me to two articles, “Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time,” by Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy from Harvard Business, and “Why You Need Sleep in Order to Succeed,” by Anne Field. What does Google know that I don’t know? Why did I find articles on getting energy, rather than practicing and working harder?
I believe people perceive me as being a very high energy person, some might say “hyper.” My father, Hans, used to warn me that I would be rundown by 40 and an old lady by 50 if I didn’t slow down. 15 years ago friends did an “intervention” on me, telling me to relax and work less. People and activities give me energy. I have no desire to “slow down.”
The thing is, I am 49, and I’m starting to feel a little tired. It is getting harder to “rev” up. Google found for me these two articles that I plan on paying attention to, and I thought maybe someone out there could get a “jolt” out of them as well.
The article, “Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time,” starts out, “As the demands of the workplace keep rising, many people respond by putting in ever longer hours, which inevitably leads to burnout that costs both the organization and the employee. Meanwhile, people take for granted what fuels their capacity to work – their energy.” McCarthy and Schwartz go on to talk about how it is the more energy one has that allows them to get work done, not more time. They performed what is known as The Energy Project in which it was discovered there are four key dimensions that will build energy:
1. Take intermittent breaks to restore physical energy. (Comment: Typically, I don’t take breaks during the day. I work straight through, eating something at my desk during lunch. This is a bad habit.)
2. Rejecting the role of a victim and instead viewing events through “hopeful” lenses, avoiding draining negative thoughts. (Comment: I know this is true. I use upbeat music to help support positive thoughts and energy.)
3. Avoiding constant distractions that technology has introduced. It takes up mental energy to be constantly multitasking. (Comment: I have been doing a lot of multitasking. It is distracting and pulls my mind in different directions during the day. I will become more disciplined with my time.)
4. Participating in activities that give you a sense of meaning and purpose boosts the energy of the spirit. (Comment: Volunteering to help people is a great way to feel good and energize.)
Google led me to a second article titled, “Why You Need Sleep In Order To Succeed,” by Anne Field. I have met people, typically attorneys, who brag about how little sleep they need, “Five hours is all I need. I am up by 3:30 every morning getting work done.” One thing I do know personally, I love sleep and get a lot of it, eight to ten hours a night. I believe that is where a lot of my energy comes from.
Two sleep experts explain that healthy sleep is divided into four-stage cycles. Each cycle is to last 60 to 90 minutes. In the first two stages, we become “unplugged” from the world until we reach stage three. That is our deep sleep. At stage four we are in our REM sleep. During REM sleep, our brain becomes active and we dream. Apparently, important restorative work is done in our brain during the deep sleep and REM. This restorative work is crucial for physical renewal, concentration, memory, and higher-level thought. The trouble is, when you cut back on sleep, your REM sleep suffers the most, making concentrating on a single task difficult and multitasking almost impossible.
For all of the court reporting students out there, working court reporters, and everyone in the world, let’s all pay attention to our bodies and our minds. The baby boomers are known to be workaholics. Many of us are proud to wear that moniker. Let’s relax and energize. Go, go, go!
via Twitter: @rosaliekramm