Life happens, and...
I have always loved hats. As a mother, wife, sister, daughter, business owner, executive coach, corporate trainer, and friend, I sometimes change “hats” multiple times per day. It’s a challenge to make sure I am wearing the appropriate hat for the appropriate occasion because I am not very effective when I approach my friends wearing my business hat and I am really ineffective when I interact with my husband while wearing my mom hat.
Recently, I found a new hat to wear, and I believe it may be the most important hat in my wardrobe. This hat ensures that I can wear all of my other hats with style. It may not be the prettiest hat in my closet, but I believe it is absolutely essential for the management of my life. It is my “CEO of Energy” hat. Prior to being given this hat, I thought my time management cap was the most valuable hat in my closet. I had the belief system that time was my biggest resource, so I was always on the prowl for a better time management accessory. I tried every time management tool on the market. However, since my demands always seemed to exceed my capacity, I felt I had no alternative but to cram as much as possible into my day. My time management hat was beginning to look like a ten-gallon cowboy hat that wobbled precariously on my head and never quite fit.
Once I was introduced to the concept that energy, not time, is my greatest resource, I began to make some shifts. The first shift involved periodically taking my hats off. When I wear too many hats at once, I don’t look like a model…I look like a freak! I need time to re-adjust my hair in between costume changes. The answer to wearing my hats with elegance isn’t to try and cram more into my time, but rather to develop a rhythm that allows me to bring more energy to my time.
The best way to increase your physical energy is to make sleep a priority. It’s hard to go to sleep with all those hats on, so it’s important to have a set time every day to take your hats off and unwind. 19 out of 20 people need at least 8 hours of sleep per night, but the average American only gets 6. We brag about not needing more sleep; however, studies show that adults who only get 6 hours of sleep over a two-week period operate at the same level of performance as someone who has been sleep deprived for 48 hours.
In addition to needing sleep, I also require time to re-charge emotionally or I’ll feel negative and overwhelmed. One way you can increase your emotional capacity is by making time to do the things you enjoy just because you enjoy them. These activities could include gardening, reading, playing an instrument, walking in nature, dancing, or playing a sport. If an activity is enjoyable, fulfilling, and affirming, it will recharge you emotionally. These activities need to be written on your to-do list with permanent ink.
Filling your mental energy tank is also necessary when you are wearing your CEO of Energy hat. Your mental energy is depleted when you spend your time multi-tasking. Since the majority of employees feel overworked and overwhelmed, you may feel forced to multi-task. However, research shows that multi-tasking actually lowers your productivity by 40% and lowers your IQ by 10 points. Although it feels counter-intuitive, you will accomplish more by wearing only one hat at a time rather than trying to wear all 20 at once.
The last area of energy we need to address is our spiritual energy. This energy gives you the motivation to choose which hat to wear and when to wear it. When you spend your time in alignment with your values, you are able to access your reservoir of spiritual energy. I put on my CEO of Energy hat when I take time to reflect and evaluate my activities and then only wear the hats I am passionate about. I am in complete agreement with Stephen Covey when he said, “How different our lives are when we understand what is truly important to us.”
If you are feeling at all overwhelmed with life and work, then I want to encourage you to dig out all your hats and see if they still work with your wardrobe. It may be time to get rid of some to make room for the most important cap in your closet. If you begin to wear your CEO of Energy hat more regularly, you will be able to wear your other hats with style!