I don’t have much energy today. I have things I need to do, but I’d rather just sit around and watch TV.
We all have those days or weeks when we just feel like our bodies are lagging. We can’t focus well, and we don’t want to do anything. But not doing anything usually isn’t an option. Instead we have to find our motivation or at least drum up the energy to get the things done we need to do.
In the book Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky, the authors write about how increasing your energy every day can help you have more usable time in your day.
“When you have energy, it’s easier to maintain your focus and avoid reacting to distractions,” the authors wrote.
The authors provide these six ways to take care of your body so you can have greater mental energy every day:
1. Keep Moving
Our bodies and brains perform best when we’re in motion, making moving your body the best way to charge your battery, according to Knapp and Zeratsky.
The authors encourage daily exercise, even if it’s only for 20 minutes or so. Exercise should be done daily because the energy and mood benefits from exercise only last about 24 hours, so you have to reapply them.
Walking is a great form of exercise that can be done with little investment. If you live in a commuter city, walk instead of your normal mode of transportation. Don’t forget to take the stairs when you can.
2. Eat Real Food
Eat real food, instead of processed foods, even when you’re tempted to take the easy route and eat fast food.
Knapp and Zeratsky suggest putting salad on your plate first, then building everything else around it.
“Your engine performs better when you give it the expected fuel,” the authors wrote.
3. Optimize Caffeine
Caffeine has a direct effect on your energy level. You should drink it with intention, Knapp and Zeratsky wrote.
Caffeine doesn’t give you energy, it keeps you from having an energy dip. This is why, if caffeine wears off, you crash. The authors suggest having coffee or another caffeinated beverage about 30 minutes before the time of day when your energy naturally dips. For me, this is in the afternoon at about 2 p.m.
“If you wait to drink it until you’re tired, you’re too late,” they wrote.
4. Go Off the Grid
We have a bad energy-zapping habit of just sitting in front of our computers or phones all day. Instead, Knapp and Zeratsky wrote that we should take time away from our devices when we can, taking a walk without our headphones or meditating.
Taking time away from our desks and devices can help us have more energy when we return to our work. It’s also a great opportunity to leave your desk and discover news ideas.
5. Make It Personal
People are energized by face-to-face interactions with other people. Despite this need, face-to-face is more difficult to come by in today’s mediated world, according to Knapp and Zeratsky.
Spend time with people you care about and enjoy. Be sure that time is unmediated.
I’ve written here before about the importance of diet and sleep. Knapp and Zeratsky agree. They encourage methods of getting better sleep like removing technology from your bedroom and taking naps. They also encourage readers not to “jet-lag themselves” by sleeping late on days off and confusing their internal clocks. That one is so tough not to do!
Doing these six things can help you stay energized and focused on your most important tasks. On days when you don’t feel energized, you can do what I’m doing today and apply some of them to reenergize yourself. You may not feel your best every day, but you certainly can try.