by Mandy Green, Busy Coach
I wanted to follow-up from the article I put in the College Recruiting Weekly newsletter last week about how to keep your energy up with another few ideas as you head into another competitive year with your team.
My husband and I decided that it would be a good idea to get our two kids out of Youngstown, Ohio, where we are currently living and working and head to Niagara Falls for the 4th of July.
This little mini vacation is usually exactly what I need at this time of year. Getting out of the town, shutting off my phone, not checking email, hanging out with family, seeing new and exciting things is exactly what I need to get refreshed, rejuvenated, and recommitted to my work assisting college coaches and their recruiting plans with Tudor Collegiate Strategies, and continuing to develop Busy Coach.
It’s the old metaphor of sharpening the saw: when you’re sharp, you work better and faster, but when you’re dull from overuse, you become slower and less efficient. For example, remember the last time you tried to read a book when you were tired. If you’re like most people, you had to read and re-read, and maybe re-read again, the same paragraph over and over.
I think most of us coaches with smartphones realize it’s easy to carry work into our evenings and weekends which, if you tracked how many hours you were working, could put you easily at a 70-80 hour work week. The problem is, in the long run, overworking drives down our productivity. Why? Because it depletes our energy.
For me, managing my energy levels really has been key to my productivity and getting things done. If you want a great book on the subject, read the book The Power of Full Engagement, by Tony Schwartz.
The fact of the matter is that there’s an inverse relationship between how much you work and how much energy you have. When one rises, the other falls, and vice versa. You might be working 70 hours, but you’re not really getting 30 hours’ worth of productivity out of those last 30 hours, right? I think we’ve all experienced this phenomenon. It comes back to Parkinson’s Law: “work expands to the time allotted for it.” If we’re not careful, we’ll confuse busyness with productivity and wear ourselves out.
Some coaches experience this every single day. They start the day with so much energy, and they get so much accomplished in those early morning hours. Then after lunch, their energy begins to wane. Or they have great energy on Monday and Tuesday, but by Thursday and Friday your energy is down. Well, that’s the result of energy flexing the wrong way: more hours, but less accomplished.
Here’s the good news: energy is a renewable resource. It can easily be replenished. You just have a have the right recipe, which means that just because you’re currently on empty, doesn’t mean you have to stay that way. Even if you have a pattern of frequently finding yourself on empty, it’s fairly simple to change. By the way, it may not be easy because it will require some change in your behavior. But it’s not complicated. We just have to be intentional about rejuvenating ourselves.
The great news is that this is completely within your control! I have talked in previous posts about how to rejuvenate your energy through what you eat and drink, through getting more sleep and exercise. Go to www.busy.coach if you want more info about that.
Another practice that top performers use that you can to ensure that your health, fitness, and energy levels fully support your program, recruiting and career goals and objectives is to:
Every 90 days go on vacation
438 million is the amount of vacation days Americans failed to use according to Harris interactive research group. As a result, America ranks #1 in depression, mental health problems, we are experiencing burnout, reduced productivity, decreased creativity, failed relationships, stress or stress-related ailments including depression, heart disease, or stomach ulcers at record levels.
Every 90 days or so, try to get away and unplug from your work for at least a few days. Pull out your calendar and put these on your schedule. You don’t even need to leave town, you can stay home. I know this is hard with recruiting, camps, your kids’ activities, and other life events, but you need to stay sharp and to do that, you can’t keep working to exhaustion. Getting away for a few days will really help you rejuvenate your energy supply so you can come back into the office rested, focused, and more energized.
Eat to win. Put very simply, everything you ingest either contributes to your health or detracts from it. Let’s start with making time to eat. In order to be productive and feel energetic, you need adequate fuel. It’s that simple. Specifically, you need to keep your blood sugar up. When it drops, you lose energy. This has a biochemical impact on your brain. You’ll experience difficulty with focus and with other cognitive activities, both of which are important if you want to be more productive. At a minimum, you must eat three meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I find that many people skip one of these under the mistaken notion that they don’t have time for it. Nonsense! You don’t have time not to refuel. This is like saying you don’t have time to stop and get gas for your car. This strategy will eventually cost you way more time when you run out of gas and have to call a tow truck.
You might even want to consider eating six smaller meals so that you can spread your intake throughout the day, keep you blood sugar up, and even ramp up your metabolism. Though it’s counterintuitive, this is a very common weight loss recommendation, but here, in this context, I’m focused on productivity rather than losing weight.
Drinking water puts a check in the plus column; 8 cans of Mountain Dew everyday probably won’t. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables equals more plusses. Rolling through the drive-through to wolf down some fast food, not so much. I know you know the drill. This isn’t rocket science, but you do need to stop fooling yourself. Become aware of what you’re eating and how it’s affecting your performance as a coach or recruiter. If you are interested in really seeing how your eating is actually affecting your performance, check out our new Tracking Journal.
If you are interested in seeing how your food, exercise, and sleep really are affecting your performance, you can do that by using my energy tracking forms.
In these energy tracking forms, you just keep track of some very simple information:
· Write down how much sleep you get.
· What you eat for each meal.
· How much water you drank.
· What exercise you got for the day.
· Pay attention to how your energy is throughout the day and record it on the tracking pages.
· Then at the end of each day, make not of what went well and what you could do better.
Based on the information you collect and the results that you get, you need to keep adjusting and tweaking until you find the right amount of sleep, food, water, and exercise that will get your energy to the level you need to be at to perform at your best day in and day out.
You and your staff need to engage with Mandy Green to help make this year’s recruiting and coaching campaign more organized, smoother and more results-oriented. She works with coaches and staffs all over the country, and she can help you, too. Click here to get more information!