7 Effective Strategies to Master Your Mind and Energy
There can be many challenges in sustaining your engagement, energy, and motivation. Here are 7 effective ways that I have helped my clients!
Brenda*, a 37-year-old marketing executive, contacted me for productivity coaching because she wanted to take her career to the next level. She felt there were several factors blocking her from reaching her full potential.
She described worrying a lot and not having the zest she used to earlier in her career. We scheduled an hour to discuss her challenges as well as her thinking about the challenges. As a coach and consultant, I felt confident that Brenda had many of the answers and ideas about her current situation. However, perhaps like a diamond in the rough, she just needed to polish her thinking.
Within the first twenty minutes of the coaching conversation, she articulated many ideas for reaching her goals as well as some new, valuable insights that she hadn’t previously considered and felt hopeful and energized that she could achieve definitive changes in her life. In addition, I asked if I could share several strategies that I have found powerful in helping clients master their mind and energy.
Below, I describe some of the most helpful strategies.
1. OBSERVE RUMINATION
Rumination is thinking about the same thing over and over. It can sap your energy and take the “wind out of your sails”. Attempting to stop the thoughts can often make them persist. Instead, label them as “ruminating thoughts” and turn your focus to another activity. One technique that you may find helpful is saying, “Oh…there is obsessing”, or “Oh…there is worry”. Just observe what happens when you name the thought. Research has shown that this can lower the intensity and duration and thus improve your focus, energy, and prodcutivity.
2. INCREASE STRUCTURE
Many successful professionals struggle with time management, initiating tasks, organization, follow through, and prioritizing. Chronically feeling overwhelmed can lead to worry and exhaustion.
Having a schedule or “game plan”, can help one feel calmer. Using a calendar, either paper or digital, can help structure tasks and time. This can help with productivity and organization.
Many professionals, despite past successes, often feel they never are going to catch up or achieve their goals. You may recognize some of the self-talk:
● “I am always screwing things up”.
● “I will never be good enough”.
● “This will never work for me”.
This type of self-talk is often called the inner critic and can sap energy similar to rumination. Rumination can often interfere with mastering your mind and energy.
Often, I encourage my patients to do the following:
● Notice the inner critic.
● As above, label it. “Oh….There is the inner critic.”
● Remind yourself: “I am a work in progress”.
This may just sound like positive talk or unrealistic, but thousands of studies for many decades have shown that how we talk to ourselves affects how we feel and behave. This concept is the basis of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
4. IMPROVE SLEEP
There has been more attention over the past decade on sleep and the impact of sleep deprivation. Restorative and adequate sleep is important not only for energy but also for cognitive functioning.
Some tips to improve intermittent sleeping difficulties include:
● Avoiding electronic devices for three to four hours prior to bedtime.
● Establishing a consistent, evening routine.
● Creating a calm, uncluttered sleeping environment.
● Using earplugs or a white noise machine if needed.
● Exercising during the day and not within three hours of bedtime.
If you suffer from significant low energy during the day or chronic insomnia, it is important to seek treatment from your doctor about potential underlying medical causes of fatigue. This is an essential stragegy to improve your productivity and energy.
Often, successful and highly productive people can feel so overwhelmed or without enough time that fun or pleasurable activities are ignored. People may say, “I don’t have time to relax or have fun” or “I don’t deserve to do that”. However, fun can energize you and help you have a better outlook and be more productive. Fun can involve watching a comedy, playing with your dog, visiting friends, or pursuing an artistic passion.
6. SET GOALS
Just like a map, having specific goals can help you stay on track. As you make progress in your goals, it can provide momentum and guidance on your journey. I would recommend that you set several create both short-term (e.g. one month) and long-term (e.g. one year) goals.
Effective goals usually have specific outcomes (e.g. increased sales by $10,000 or eating meals with the family three times a week), a game plan or strategy, and most importantly, a means to measure the outcome (e.g. a chart or checklist).
7. CARDIOVASCULAR EXERCISE
Cardiovascular exercise such as biking, running, dancing, swimming and other activities are good for our overall health. In addition, cardiovascular exercise can improve our sense of well-being and energy.
There are many hypotheses about why cardiovascular exercise has this benefit including releasing endorphins and increasing a “motivational transmitter” called dopamine.
After Barbara and I worked together during a six-session coaching engagement, Barbara clarified her thinking about her most important personal and professional goals as well as strategies for achieving them.
In addition, with the collaborative coaching process that included clarifying her thinking, developing specific action steps and due dates, and exploring new strategies that we discussed, Barbara felt re-energized and more engaged in work. In addition, she was managing her team more effectively and she was receiving a lot of acknowledgment from her colleagues. Interestingly, within a year, with her new found energy and confidence, she a new job that was a significant step-up in a leadership position with a much higher salary.
As you pursue success in your personal and professional life, there can be many challenges in sustaining your engagement, energy, and motivation. Helping people achieve their highest potential is a passion of mind. Thus, I hope these seven ideas to help you master your mind and energy are helpful to you!
If you would like to learn more about productivity coaching and consulting, please visit my website at www.theproductivitycoachnyc.com.
*Disclaimer: Details of cases have been altered to protect the confidentiality of any and all individuals.