“Is this necessary?”
—Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor from 161 to 180
How often do you feel or hear yourself telling others that you are busy, slammed, and overwhelmed with all the demands of life? How often do you ever get to the bottom of your to-do list with energy left over to spend as you wish?
We all crave some wiggle room and respite in our days to recharge, renew, and even play. Many don’t let themselves play until all the work is done — and it rarely is.
Write the question, “Is this necessary?” on a few post-it notes places in strategic spots at home and at work. Now capture all those past to-do items that end up your ‘to-don’t-do” list. Share this list with others to support your new intentions and accountability.
“Find the Energizers.”
—Erika James, Dean at the Wharton School
Image from Unsplash by Federico Beccari
What comes to mind when you think about energy?
Where do you look when it comes to outside sources?
The source at the top of my list is our sun, which makes life possible for many reasons. Beyond its miraculous properties which include supporting photosynthesis, powering our weather, and helping us produce vitamin D, its mere presence each morning is often the starter gun that kicks off our days.
As we head into winter in the northern hemisphere, the levels and duration of sunshine decrease, which can frequently reduce our own levels of energy and vitality. What do you do to remain fully charged and energized?
Make a list of all the energizing strategies you can think of. Talk with friends, family members, and others in your personal and professional communities about their best ideas.
Take particular note of which of these special people energize your world the most with their sunny personalities.
“Lovely days don’t come to you. You should walk to them.”
—Jalāl ad-Dīn Rūmī, 13th-century Persian poet
Image from Unsplash by Bob Canning
The term snowbird was first applied to humans in the early 1900s, to describe northern laborers who flocked down south to work as the cold, harsh winter set in up north.
Today, northerners of all kinds – including vacationers and retirees – are migrating south as the first frost arrives, to experience more lovely warm days.
Rumi surely wasn’t referring only to the weather. Perhaps he wanted all of us to look around – and deeper within – to determine exactly what a lovely day means, and just how much influence we have to create our own weather, wherever we happen to be.
What are some additional ways you can use your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual energies to walk or even run toward far more lovely days in the future?
“Yesterday already had its turn. Give today a shot.”
What was yesterday like for you?
Go back 24 hours to see where you were, who you were with, and what you were doing. How would you rate this day compared to most?
What criteria do you use for higher versus lower ratings?
Did you get off to a quick start, keep up your energy and momentum and finish strong, or something less remarkable?
The good news, if you rated yourself high, is that you get to do it again with a few bonus outside the box efforts. The other good news is that even if your yesterday(s) were not so hot, you get to give today another shot.
Please consider using one of my favorite quotes by Tuli Kupferberg to guide today and many more of your tomorrows – When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge.
“Electricity is really just organized lightning.”
—George Carlin, 20th Century American comedian
Image from Unsplash by Lucien Kolly
Imagine early man looking to the night sky during a storm, with all those thunderous bursts of lightning. What wondrous, frightening, and awesome source could generate such power?
As time progressed, great thinkers and scientists saw the potential to harness this power for the benefit of man.
Consider that you, too, are a source of lightning, given your numerous gifts, talents, ideas, and the contributions you’ve made at various points in your life.
How consistently or inconsistently do you experience the flow of energetic expressions of yourself?
In what ways can you more fully harness and express your energy and brilliance, to lead a more powerful and electrifying life?
“A day of worry is more exhausting than a week of work.”
—Sir John Lubbock, 19th Century British politician
Image from Unsplash by William Hook
Imagine you are a cell phone.
You begin your day with a full charge, and prepare to productively navigate your day. All of a sudden, a Worry App is opened on a family matter. Then two more open on your way to work. After your first cup of coffee, a couple more Apps open, due to an email and a text you’ve received.
Following a day of such events, your reserves of power are low or completely exhausted.
You’re in need of a recharge.
Unless you can limit or eliminate the open Worry Apps, you may find yourself headed to bed mentally and emotionally exhausted, sometimes unable to turn them off so you can rest.
How can you more efficiently and effectively allocate your physical, mental, and emotional energies throughout the day?
How would greater awareness of your worries limit or prevent you from experiencing these draining factors?
“How can I help more people?”
Image from Unsplash by Toa Hefitba
Research has shown that a critical component to a purposeful, happy life is helping others.
Consider how you currently help others in your personal and professional communities.
What contribution and difference have you made at this point in your life?
Each day, we allocate our time and energies. At some point we run out of gas and need a recharge. Beyond our own efforts to efficiently use these resources, how might you leverage yourself to make a ten-times or 100-times impact?
The Quotable Coach Blog and the book based on this series is one way I’ve chosen to assist people well beyond my geographic reach to better their lives.
You are welcome to explore the almost 2,000 posts written over the past 8 years, by checking out the drop-down category list when you scroll down the home page.
What leveraged activity can and will you pursue to help even more people in the years ahead? Feel free to reply to this post with some actions you intend to take.
“No problem of human making is too great to be overcome by human ingenuity, human energy, and the untiring hope of the human spirit.”
—George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States
Image from Huffpost
Do you watch the news and follow current events? If you do, my guess is that you may see the world is in quite a mess, with problems around every corner.
We don’t need to look at just the global, national, or regional events presented to us by the media. We need only look to our own back yards, within our communities and families to see our immediate challenges.
Would you believe me if I told you that there is fact-based evidence that the world as a whole is in many ways far better off than at any other point in human history?
Imagine a media outlet focused exclusively on the power and impact of human ingenuity, energy, and the hopeful efforts of the human spirit.
Do some research for yourself into how mankind is actually coming together to solve some of our most pressing problems.
A few books you may consider reading on this subject are:
Abundance by Peter Diamandis
Factfulness by Hans Rosling
Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman
“The best cure for a sluggish mind is to disturb its routine.”
—William H. Danforth, 20th Century Founder of The American Youth Foundation
Are you a Lark or an Owl?
Said another way: Are you a morning person or a night person?
Larks are at their best in the morning and usually hit their low energy walls at mid-afternoon.
Owls start their days a bit more slowly, hit their peak at mid-morning, and work productively much later into the day.
In his book, WHEN, Daniel Pink points out that both Larks and Owls need to insert breaks and even an occasional nap into their days. We need this to break up the marathon lives we live and cure our sluggish minds.
Where in your day would you most benefit from a change or break, in order to renew or recharge?
Consider blocking out 15-30 minutes each day over the next week, and see what you notice about your effectiveness and productivity.