It is not uncommon for us to ignore the signals our exhausted bodies send us when we take on too much too soon. For most of us the toll of not managing our energy effectively is subtle but nonetheless important. Fatigue is the number one signal that tells us that we’re not managing our energy well enough, and without energy we can’t get much done. Yet, earning a sustainable living today does place added demands on our energy. Because life wants to move along the course of the least resistance, changing the course of our lives means overcoming that resistance and heading into new territory.
Doing that means we have to find a delicate balance between the energy we have available and the demands we place upon ourselves. Ask yourself…do you get out of bed each morning raring to go? Do you pace yourself during the day so that you still have ample reserves to enjoy the evening? Are you getting enough sleep? How do you know when you’re tired? What’s your body telling you?
Research suggests that the leading cause of burnout is unrealistic expectations. Burnout occurs when the demands we put on ourselves outweigh our energy supply. Besides taking on too much too soon, there can be lots of reasons we become depleted including eating the wrong foods, staying up too late, dealing with family problems, and coping with financial pressures just to name a few. What is draining your energy? How can you restructure your life to stop this energy drain? Research shows that our work and living environments make a big difference in our energy level. Everything from the lighting, room temperature to the amount of space we work in can affect our energy level.
A Supportive Work Environment
A supportive work environment boosts our energy level, helps us concentrate, reduces fatigue and distractions and increases productivity. Design and furnish your workspace so that it nourishes rather than fatigues or distracts you, by including plants, artwork, music and some of your favorite things. Also consider the following:
- Lighting – for best results, use natural light when possible, or full-spectrum bulbs.
- Soundproofing – Unwanted noise has the strongest correlation to job stress. Find a sound level at which you can remain alert but still are able to concentrate. Mask unpleasant noise with background noise or a sound generator.
- Office furniture – furniture should be comfortable and ergonomically designed to avoid muscle strain and fatigue.
- Aromatherapy – fragrances affect how we feel and how well we think. Peppermint, for example, stimulates productivity. So treat your office to scents that will help you to work more productively. Try fresh flowers, potpourris or incense.
- Color – research indicates that colors in our environment produces strong psychological and physiological effects. For example, red is energizing; blue is relaxing; yellow stimulates thinking and creativity.
- Clean Air – Research has shown that plants can also serve as air purifiers. Placing a spider plant, a peace lily or golden pothos in your office can absorb chemical pollutants like ozone, formaldehyde, and trichloreoethylene generated by your computer, carpet, copy machine and fax.
If you haven’t thought about how your work environment impacts your energy level and effectiveness, it’s time to take a step back and objectively assess the surroundings you work in.
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