experience designer // public historian


Manage your energy, not your Time.

How to have a higher quality of life.

 As both a junior and a yogini, this is one of my favourite topics. How to maintain a high quality of life by managing your energy, not your time. How to not only develop your skills, knowledge, competence, but also build and sustain your capacity. (Your energy) In fact, greater capacity makes it possible to get more done in less time at a higher level of engagement and with more sustainability. Energy can be renewed with the right set of specific rituals, when practiced regularly, automatic and unconscious. I hope to make you more conscious of your actions by showing you the next steps. Make your decisions wisely, take care of your energy. Not only your time.

the self.

  1. Take care of your body

Work out. It is no news that this will increase your energy, health and overall joy. Try to move your body, e.g. walking, at least an hour a day. Just sitting will make your body ache. Take rest after work. Find your ‘off’ button. For instance, I have a place 20 minutes before I am home where I stop thinking and prepare on being home. In order to fully be present when I am home. Sleep at least eight hours and limit your phone use just before and getting out of bed.

2. Eat well

Understand that what you put into your body will affect your output. Aim to stabilize glucose levels over the course of the day, avoiding peaks and valleys by eating smaller meals and light snacks every three hours. Therefore, think maybe twice about food that influence your mood or energy levels. Have enough vitamins, protein and maybe even some extra of those concentration enhancers such as omega 3&6.

3. Be mindful.

With this I mean, be present. Be aware what is going on. Your mind will definitely get fried after a day at work, so make sure you notice that you are. Stand up, walk around. Play a game. Move your body and be mindful of your actions. Observe your thoughts, decide if you want them to be your actions.

4. Focus.

Multitasking undermines productivity. Create rituals to focus more. For instance, when you have a task that requires attention, leave your desk and go to a room away from phones and e-mail. Also, notice yourself e.g. looking at screens while you are at the toilet. Give your mind some rest and focus on one project at the time. Your productivity will increase. Read up on this, there is so much written about it. What could help to is creating your own “renewal room/space” where you can regularly go to relax and refuel. And my key trait; being grateful. About even the smallest things. Positivity = energy to me.

5. Organise yourself.

Before your leave, make a list of top priorities the next day. Start with these first thing the next day. Unless peole intentionally schedule time for more challenging work, they tend not to get to it at all or rush through it at the last minute. Prioritise everything you do into urgent and important. 1. Urgent and important. 2. Urgent and not important, 3. Not urgent, important, 4, long term: not urgent not important. Also, read up on how to organise your e-mail. I take two times a day (early in the morning, 3.30pm). I have all my notifications taken away from my home screen on my smartphone following my idea of acting, not reacting. Also, I organised my e-mail into: Answer. Check. Archive. Later. For me this is the way to instantly divide all e-mails into priorities too.

6. Personal Projects.

This is my personal favourite: have personal projects. Meaning you develop yourself outside of your work. One way could be with a ‘burrito Tuesday:’ order food in one set day in the week, e.g. Tuesday, and with all your colleagues develop a project. A project that is not related to work. Something you have come across and never had time for to develop. Play around together.

This is something for in your personal life too. Be developing yourself. Have something weekly that gives you energy. Be practicing something, learning, reading up on. Personally, I am an early bird and wake up an two hours before I have to leave just to do things for myself. To read that one book, to do yoga, meditate, run, read the paper. These are the best hours of the day to me. And during work, also keep on developing yourself too. Attend congresses, read articles, expose yourself by writing articles, stay ahead.

7. Breathe through emotions.

When you are able to take more control of your emotions, one 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.

Confronted with, for instance, unexpected challenges, people tend to have negative emotions — the fight-or-flight mode — often multiple times in a day. One simple but powerful ritual for defusing negative emotions is what we call “buying time.” Deep abdominal breathing is one way to do that. Exhaling slowly for five or six seconds induces relaxation and recovery, and turns off the fight-or-flight response. Therefore, Breathe. Breathing is scientifically proven to relieve stress, get in contact with yourself. It settles the mind, slows down your heart rate, and relaxes you. Make it a ritual too.

the work.

8. Breaks.

Take real regular breaks. Don’t break behind your computer looking at Facebook and even the cat videos won’t really do for quality breaks. Stand up, take up some air and give yourself some space of mind. The value of brief but regular breaks at specific intervals throughout the workday breaks is grounded in our physiology. “Ultradian rhythms” refer to 90- to 120-minute cycles during which our bodies slowly move from a high-energy state into a physiological trough. Toward the end of each cycle, the body begins to crave a period of recovery. The signals include physical restlessness, yawning, hunger, and difficulty concentrating, but many of us ignore them and keep working. The consequence is that our energy reservoir — our remaining capacity — burns down as the day wears on. Therefore, get up. When you walk you are not actively thinking, which allows the dominant left hemisphere of his brain to give way to the right hemisphere with its greater capacity to see the big picture and make imaginative leaps.

10. Surroundings.

Create positive surroundings, for instance, with plants on your desk. Change starts with you, therefore, be the change. If you want something, do it. Take time to critically look at your surroundings and think of how you can improve it. Part of it can be changing your perspective: meaning literally stand up and work somewhere else. Work somewhere else for a change, this will spark more inspiration.

11. Colleagues.

I would suggest sitting down when you arrive at work and breath for a minute. Check in with yourself and then with your colleagues. Interacting with your colleagues is the best way to create a positive culture at work. Schedule time in for this. To ask how they are, what they need and have a laugh. Expressing appreciation to others fuels positive emotions. A practice that seems to be as beneficial to the giver as to the receiver. It can take the form of a handwritten note, an e-mail, a call, or a conversation — and the more detailed and specific, the higher the impact. As with all rituals, setting aside a particular time to do it vastly increases the chances of success. Also, maybe teach yourself the art of asking. (There is an TEDX on this.) Finally, express your needs. This is the most valuable when interacting with your surrounding.

the why.

12. Mindset: What would you do if your life was a movie?

The most effective way people can change a story is to view it through any of three new lenses, which are all alternatives to seeing the world from the victim perspective. With the reverse lens, for example, people ask themselves, “What would the other person in this conflict say and in what ways might that be true?” With the long lens they ask, “How will I most likely view this situation in six months?” With the wide lens they ask themselves, “Regardless of the outcome of this issue, how can I grow and learn from it?” Each of these lenses can help people intentionally cultivate more positive emotions.

13. What are you doing?

Being introspective and asking questions about what matters to you can be illuminating and energizing. You will have more energy when your everyday work and activities are consistent with what you value most and with what gives you a sense of meaning and purpose. If the work you’re doing really matters to you, you typically feel more positive energy, focus better, and demonstrate greater perseverance.

Take away. These categories helps you to go a long way toward achieving a greater sense of alignment, satisfaction, and well-being in their lives on and off the job. Those feelings are a source of positive energy and renewed energy that gives takes you into the long run. In short, try to create rituals of priorities and consciously allocate time to all the areas of your life you think are important to you. (work, family, health, service to others.) Live your core values and dreams. Walk your talk, as this is a challenge, but when you do not let external demands dictate your actions, you will free an unlimited source of energy.

Good luck, and I will be happy to hear from you!

stephanie de rooij