CIOs, like all executives, live in a fast-paced world and need to be highly productive.
Being highly productive serves three important purposes. The first, most obvious, is that it enables us to get our work done. No small task given the pace of business and the extra load budgetary constraints impose. The second important benefit is that by completing our work in a highly productive manner, it controls stress. Consistently high feelings of stress cause health problems, reduce creativity, and impair our ability to communicate effectively.
But the third benefit of being highly productive is often overlooked. It's the benefit of setting an example for the rest of our team. Consequently, how we attain high productivity is as important as the productivity itself. Sacrificing one's personal life, health, and family isn't the most admirable example to set. The key, therefore, is to become highly productive in a way that sets an example you'd like to see duplicated by your team.
There have been scores of books written and courses taught about time management, prioritization, list making, and calendar management, and most of them make sense except for one thing -- I don't know anyone who's achieved sustained productivity using these methods.
Each of those techniques can be useful, but unless another critical factor is addressed, all the prioritization and list making in the world won't help. And that issue is energy management. The energy I'm referring to has four components to it -- physical, emotional, mental, and inspirational.
Let me briefly discuss each energy reserve and then offer some strategies to help keep them buoyed up.
- Our physical energy affects our drive and our self-discipline. If you've ever had a "mid-afternoon crash," then you've experienced the impact a low physical reserve can have on productivity.
- Our emotional energy impacts our ability to deal with stress, to communicate well, to think clearly, and to interact with others effectively. Often, we become short with people when we're feeling stressed or tense.
- Our mental energy affects our ability to think clearly, to concentrate and focus, to solve problems, and to be creative. Clearly, a low mental reserve hampers productivity.
- Our inspirational energy is the fuel that motivates and inspires us. In the absence of motivation and inspiration, we end up just going through the motions.
Here are a few steps you can take to recharge your reserves:
Take breaks throughout the day. Take a 15- to 30-minute break every 2 to 2.5 hours to recharge and rejuvenate. Don't just sit at your desk. Take a real break -- get up, go for a walk, get something to eat, listen to music, get out of the building, etc.
Eat "strategically." Eat about five times a day, and make sure to balance protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Stay away from sugars and lots of starches if you don't want a "carb crash" later.
Maintain your attitude. Eliminate negative messages and people, and introducing positive messages and people into your life. If you don't decide what goes into your head, someone else will.
Get restful sleep. Avoid caffeine late in the day and avoid eating a big meal late in the evening.
Don't be fooled by the simplicity of these strategies. For years they've allowed me to accomplish about 50 percent more than most people do. Managing your energy reserves combined with prioritization of tasks will make you a productivity superstar.