The Power Of Full Engagement teaches you how to manage the only thing worth managing – your energy – by telling you how to properly maintain your four kinds of energy, live a life of purpose and accept your limitations.
Co-authored by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, both experts in high performance research, this book is just what time management junkies have been waiting for – because it sets them straight.
The two of them found that contrary to common belief, grinding for hours on end every day is not the way to success and that people who managed their energy, instead of just their time, tend to outperform their close to burnout peers.
I’m also pretty sure that James Altucher got his daily practice model from this book, which I’ve been following for years.
Here are 3 lessons to help you manage your energy better and work at full engagement:
- Manage your energy, not your time.
- Keep track of all four sources of energy in your life.
- Accept your limitations.
Ready for a new approach to managing life? Rock’n’Roll!
Lesson 1: Manage your energy, not your time.
Doesn’t it make sense to you instantly?
There seems to be never enough time to get things done. We cram, we fight, we work into the night, yet we can never ever catch up.
But just because every day has only 24 hours, that doesn’t necessarily mean time is the thing we need to optimize.
It’s just our default setting.
Let’s turn the tables. Imagine you had all the time in the world. More than you could use. Your day is 100 hours long and you’ll live to be 150 years old.
What then, could keep you from doing everything you wanted to in life?
Without energy, you can have as much time as you want, but it’ll be no good. In March, I learned this lesson the hard way, once again. I was stuck in bed for almost 2 weeks, with a severe case of the flu – because I was stressing myself too much before.
Had I managed my energy better, I would’ve avoided the whole thing and not lost 14 days (which feels like a year when you’re sick).
You can come to grips with this truth by simply thinking about how you feel right after an incredibly long stretch of work.
How did you feel after working for 8 hours straight the last time? How after pulling an all nighter? Make your assessment and you’ll see it’s not the way to go.
Lesson 2: Keep an eye on all four sources of energy in your life.
So what to do instead? Manage your energy!
By focusing on being in your best shape you won’t have to stress about cramming more into the time you have, and can instead make more with the time you’ve got.
There are four kinds of energy for you to manage: physical energy, emotional energy, mental energy and spiritual energy.
Physical energy is the most important and it’s based on how well you sleep, how well you eat and how well you exercise. Without physical energy, you won’t be able to do anything, so most of your attention should go to that.
Emotional energy allows you to react to situations with a broad set of feelings and not just let the world push your buttons. It’s the difference between yelling at a poor clerk in the store, or taking their slowness with a smile.
Mental energy helps you not cave when things get tough and power through the boring parts at work when you need to.
Lastly, spiritual energy is not about following a religion. It’s just a sort of compass for your life, pointing you in the right direction thanks to clearly knowing your own morals and values, when you’re in need of guidance or don’t know what to do next.
Pay attention to these kinds of energy throughout your day and you’ll notice they have a much bigger impact on your performance than managing your time.
Lesson 3: Accept your limitations.
But Nik, how do I optimize all of these energy levels? This blog post is too short!
Yup, I get it.
But Four Minute Books posts always share 3 lessons from a book and are supposed to help you get the big picture. It’s a limitation of the system that both you and I will have to accept.
Just like you’d be better off accepting criticism you get at work, instead of dismissing it as wrong and stupid.
Yes, avoiding the truth of our shortcomings feels good at first. It leaves our confidence intact. Yet, in the long run, we pay an expensive price for it.
When you ignore criticism and keep doing things the same way, you’ll make the same mistakes over and over again, and every time you’ll have to face criticism again, draining you even more of your energy.
Instead, try to accept that your point of view is just one of many, and not necessarily the right one. It’ll allow yourself to stay flexible and figure out how to overcome barriers at work faster.
My personal take-aways
When I first came across this book I was a bit shocked, because it so closely resembled what I’d been learning from James Altucher for years. Once I saw Blinkist had published a summary of it, I knew it was one I instantly had to read.
It is very detailed and provides several blinks to help you deal best with all of your energies, and wraps everything up nicely with some blinks about living a life of purpose and using habits to conserve energy.
I highly recommend what Jim and Tony have put together. Unleash The Power Of Full Engagement.