How to effectively manage and maximise your energy levels at work
October 2022   MENTAL HEALTH

How to effectively manage and maximise your energy levels at work

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When it comes to making the most of our day, we often refer to effective time management as one of the most important productivity strategies. But what a lot of us tend to miss out on is the misassumption that we can work at the same rate no matter how busy our schedules may be. If we’re not careful, this little misstep can take a big toll on our Whole Person Health and backfire on us by making us more distracted, exhausted, and prone to burnout. To work more sustainably, paying attention to our personal energy levels is just as important, and doing so can be as easy as making small changes to our habits, emotions, and mental capacity.


Most of us respond to growing workplace demands by working longer, be it by doing overtime or taking fewer breaks. What this means is that we often end up sacrificing self-care and healthy work-life boundaries in favour of short-term productivity. If sustained for a prolonged period of time, these coping mechanisms can instead turn into bad habits that are detrimental to our overall productivity in the long run.

For this reason, it is important to constantly check in with ourselves to avoid falling into autopilot mode. Set aside some time weekly or monthly to evaluate your lifestyle. If possible, identify and note down any energy-depleting choices and behaviours that you have been engaging in so that you can start working on changing them. This may seem overwhelming at first, but you are free to go at your own speed. Here are some simple questions to help you get started:




  • Have you been taking proper breaks at mealtimes?
  • How well have you been eating?
  • Have you been skipping meals?
  • Have you been making a conscious effort to move more
  • Have you worked out recently?
  • Have you been meeting your exercise goals?
  • What has your sleep schedule been like lately?
  • How much sleep have you been getting?
  • What has your sleep quality been like?


Our emotions can take up just as much energy as our lifestyle choices. As human beings, we tend to feel more energetic and upbeat when our emotions are on the positive side. Unfortunately, issues and stress are unavoidable in our daily lives and can cause us to react negatively more often than we would like to admit. While it is perfectly alright to feel irritated, frustrated, or anxious, these emotions can also push us into making spur-of-the-moment decisions that are illogical and potentially self-destructive.

At work, it can therefore be particularly important to regulate our emotions when problems inevitably come our way. This can be done in 2 ways: by focusing on ourselves or the people around us. The former allows us to acknowledge what we are feeling and subsequently resolve them rather than react to them. Mindfulness exercises like guided breathing are great for this as they allow us to focus on the present and let go of unhelpful impulses.

Alternatively, reaching out to the people around you can be just as beneficial. One way to do this in the workplace is to focus on thoughts of gratitude and what you can do to show your appreciation. Even if it is a small note or a quick thank you, acts like these can help to recentre us and boost positive sentiments for both the giver and receiver.

Mental capacity

Workplace distractions are perhaps one of the most obvious culprits that deplete our time and energy. It can be incredibly taxing having to deal with constant phone calls and emails in the midst of long meetings and tight deadlines. Despite this, most workplaces continue to celebrate and perpetuate a culture of busyness, where multitasking is seen as a necessity and an obligation. As we have come to learn, however, this constant overloading of our mental capacities can undermine productivity and cause burnout.

To sustain your energy levels, it is important to establish boundaries and routines that are aligned with your preferences. If you are someone who is more focused at the start of the day, for example, it can be useful to plan around that by identifying the more complex and challenging tasks that you would want to get done first thing in the morning before other distractions roll in. Another tactic that you can try is to block out specific periods of time purely meant for task completion. The main goal here is to ignore all other distractions and build up your attention span without feeling overly antsy or guilty about focusing on your own needs.

Most of all, it is vital to give yourself ample time to rest and relax in between these periods of focus. The optimal time to do so can differ depending on your personal work momentum.

High drive

Low drive

Fluctuating drive

People who tend to work fast to finish up tasks as quickly as possible

People who tend to take it easy before picking up speed before deadlines

People who tend to be more productive on some days than others

When to rest?

Regularly and in between long periods of focus to prevent burnout

 After hitting specific minimum targets, to maintain a balance of progress and rest

Regularly on high drive days so prevent exhaustion that can affect low drive days

Over to you

In order to progress in our careers, many of us often invest much of our time and efforts into developing skills and gaining knowledge. However, this single-mindedness can also cause us to neglect the essential things that we typically take for granted: our capacity and energy levels. Effectively managing our day-to-day energy is a good first step to leading a happier and healthier life, but we should also keep in mind the bigger picture of finding fulfilment and meaning in what we do. By doing so, we can truly look after our bodies and our souls.

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