There’s one thing I truly dislike: feeling all tired at night, knowing I did less than what I really wanted during the day. I call it the momentum killer.
Have you felt that way?
Just wanting to crash in the coach and watch some TV, knowing you have things to do but unable to even think straight.
It’s even worse the next morning, you want to get up with energy but you didn’t rest one bit during the night.
This cycle repeats the whole week until the weekend comes, and instead of doing what you really love or engage with your family and friends, you spend half the day sleeping.
All these things were my living hell during the time I used to work at the bank. I looked like and felt like crap. I didn’t take the time to understand what was going on.
You don’t understand your energy levels
It doesn’t matter if you work on your own or have a corporate job, the idea is the same, you have to complete a certain number of tasks in a certain amount of time, have have to stay productive. To be honest freelancers and entrepreneurs take on more things than their corporate counterparts, but the result is the same.
Let me tell you s story. When I was in college, I used to think I could take on anything and everything. I tried to stay awake during 6 nights in a row just to finish my homework. What happened? I can’t remember the 7th day, and what I can remember from the 6th is enough to remind me I should never do this again.
I would love say as a modern warrior you have an unlimited supply of energy and you can go on for a lot of days without resting, but it’s simply not true. Thinking you have unlimited energy will give resistance a shortcut to overpower you.
Without an essential understanding of your energy, you are unable to keep giving your best at all times.
A lack of understanding plus overestimating your skills equals failure
Back to my story and those 6 nights, I thought I would be able to stay awake and work at my best without flinching. Yeah right, let’s just say I was naive on that one. I could barely work at half my normal speed, my eyes were killing me and I wasn’t enjoying it.
Trying to work at your peak during every single moment of the day, is impossible. And there is another problem, when your energy level drops down, our old foe resistance and it’s sidekick procrastination can creep into you and sap the remaining energy. An easy win for them.
The good side is that you don’t have to spend an insane amount of time working without sleep to learn about your energy management. I want you to skip all that pain and get right into the good results. Let’s get away from the pain and back into our warrior’s mojo, ready?
How to replenish your energy without going crazy
It took me a long time to understand the concepts of finite energy, to be honest I didn’t do it on my own. It was Michael Noobs the one who introduced me to the concept of the energy diary, a simple journal where you take note of the things you do during the day.
The energy diary allows you to understand the differences between your activities. Some will make you feel rested and help you regain energy, some others will drain you faster than you think.
When I made the energy journal exercise I made a very interesting discovery, some of the things I did to rest were actually draining me from all energy (Hint: Watching TV was one of those).
Armed with this understanding, you can create several rest stops during the day to rest, regain some energy and finish your day without feeling like a zombie.
To extend Michael’s idea, I created the warrior’s ritual. A simple set of actions that allowed me to have a somewhat consistent flow of energy during the whole day, with a bonus side effect, I was more resilient to procrastination’s embrace.
Creating your own warrior ritual
There is a small catch, I can’t tell you a formula or ritual that will work for you flawlessly. Why? Because we’re different, I enjoy things you may not and you enjoy things I may not. The ritual boils down to personal taste and preferences.
What I can do is give you a framework to create your ritual and share my own. The idea is to inspire you and help you discover the best workflow for your day. This understanding helps me stay self employed and still have time to play videogames and go out with friends:
- Try Michael’s energy diary exercise: It will shed some light on how you’re spending your energy, and will give you a good idea of where you should start changing things and what can you incorporate on your very own ritual.
- Avoid multitasking during your ritual: Focus on doing just one thing well, you’ll save energy, besides multitasking is not good for you anyway. Focus on the experience and you’ll reap the most benefits.
- Add breathing exercises: Breathing is your primary source of energy during the day, it’s so important you never ever stop doing it. Remember this rule, 3 seconds inhaling and 6 seconds exhaling and you have a wonderful breathing exercise.
- Avoid sensory overload: The amount of information you get from your senses is insanely high, and it consumes energy even if you aren’t aware of it. Take the time to find a quiet spot to give your senses a rest.
- Listen well: Not to the sounds outside, but the subtle hints left by your body, it’s all about being mindful.
Taking these points into account, it’s time to start creating your warrior ritual. It should contain the following steps:
- Warrior’s ritual prep Time: This doesn’t have to be an extended action, it’s just a point where you acknowledge what you’re going to do and why you want to do it, for example moving into a quiet room or citing a modified or special version of your battle-cry.
- Warrior’s ritual first steps: This is all about being mindful of your actions, notice the position of your body, the thoughts you have and allow yourself to let go of your worries for a moment of rest.
- Warrior’s ritual core components: This changes from person to person, my brother loves napping, I love listening to music. Be honest with yourself, this must be an action to help you feel better, and it should help you regain some energy.
- Warrior’s ritual closing steps: These involves the actions you take to go back to your work or other activities. For me it’s about being grateful, for one of my friends it involves a trip to the kitchen for a glass of water. It can involve something different for you, but you need to close the ritual with the same action every time.
Remember, your ritual shouldn’t be an over complicated thing involving jumping up and down and trying to run around the house. Also, don’t limit yourself to one ritual, you can have as many as you want in order to keep yourself rooted in the present moment.
My own warrior ritual
Time for me to share my very own morning ritual with you, remember you don’t have to copy it, just take what feels right for you and change the rest.
- Move away from the bed (otherwise I will fall for its lure).
- Gaze outside my window for a few seconds, this gives me a little bit of sunlight and allows my body to wake up.
- Sit on the floor for some breathing exercises. Nothing fancy, I sit as I feel comfortable, and do 30 deep breathing exercises.
- Stand up and stretch my arms.
- Reach for my computer or iPad to play a Heavy Metal song, something with a fast tempo to really get me active.
- Do 5 push-ups.
- Sit on the floor or stand up and keep stretching until the song ends.
- Be grateful for completing the morning ritual and for another thing that’s crossing my mind (a good breakfast, having great friends, etc).
This is my simple morning ritual, and it takes me around 10 to 15 minutes to feel energized and ready to tackle my most important tasks in the morning.
During the afternoon I do a simplified version of it as I need it:
- Sit somewhere comfortable
- Listen to nature sound recordings (I love rain).
- Do a 10 deep breathing exercise round.
This allows me to be back in business in a very short time.
Time to develop your own ritual
It’s time for you to tackle this small task, just start creating your very own ritual or discover the tasks you already do to calm your mind and regain energy at the same time.
Remember to connect with yourself and create a moment for you to enjoy everyday.
Do you have your own ritual? What actions do you take to regain energy during your day? Share them in the comments to inspire your fellow warriors to create their own rituals.