Ways to increase your energy level

It takes energy for your body to pay attention or avoid paying attention to something in your environment.

by Laura Stack —

Feeling fatigued? Wish you had more get-up-and-go? The following tips can help you regain your vitality.

l. Strive for a neutral environment. It takes energy for your body to pay attention or avoid paying attention to something in your environment. Consider keeping a space heater or fan in your workspace if you tend to be frequently hot or cold. Don’t throw food away near your desk to avoid lingering odors. Make sure your work area has the right level of light.

2. Hear yourself think. Counteract background noise with your own noise. Use sound machines, white noise CDs, MP3 players or noise canceling headsets. Turn off computer speakers, close e-mail programs or turn off alerts, and forward calls to voice mail. Create a quiet oasis in the midst of the storm.

3. Get the wiggles. Work regular physical movement into your day, especially if most of your work is conducted at a desk. Practice renewal strategies, such as desk stretches or breathing exercises. Take frequent breaks, walk or get nutritious snacks.

4. Get one extra hour of sleep per night. Find the amount of sleep that is right for you, and stick with it religiously — even on the weekends. Your bedroom should be your sleeping sanctuary, not a place to read, knit or watch TV. If your body associates bed with sleep, you’ll get to sleep more quickly and sleep better. Tape late night shows, and watch them another time.

5. Get three hours of aerobic activity a week. Divide that into 30 minutes a day, divided into three segments. People who get as little as three hours of aerobic activity each week have better memories, are better at switching between different mental tasks and can screen out distractions better than people who do not exercise.

6. Count your blessings, literally. Conscientiously counting your blessings once a week over a period of six weeks will significantly increase your overall satisfaction with life. People who keep gratitude journals improve physical health, raise energy levels and report fewer physical symptoms, so write down all the wonderful things in your life and you’ll counteract daily annoyances more easily.

7. Eat metabolism-boosting foods. Trim “sleepy” foods, like pasta, bagels, muffins and cookies from your diet when you can. You’re better served eating high-energy foods like meats, raisins, Concord grapes, bananas and broccoli. Too much sugar can activate your appetite. Try an egg-white omelet in the morning instead of cereal and a protein shake in the afternoon. Spicy foods and green tea both have proven effective at boosting metabolism.

8. Steer clear of stimulants. There’s no doubt that stimulants perk you up, but they do it in a way you will have to pay for later. Even legal stimulants trigger a “fight-or-flight” reflex that releases stress hormones, followed by a big energy slump and, long-term, can lead to high blood pressure and insomnia. Instead, hydrate yourself with good water. Dehydration can cause lethargy, headaches and a lack of concentration. If you can’t give up that daily Starbucks run, at least scale back to a smaller cup.

9. Try aromatherapy. Recharge by jolting your sense of smell. Keep small bottles of invigorating scented oils like lavender, lemon oil, orange and spearmint at your desk, and take a whiff when you are low on energy.

10. Practice purposeful abandonment. If you have too much on your plate, get rid of anything that doesn’t meet your objectives or have a long-term, positive influence. Your only other option is overwork and flagging energy. Get help. Don’t try to do everything yourself, especially if you’re running a business. Hire someone to deal with all the repetitive or minor tasks in your day, so you can get the important work done.


Laura Stack, MB, CSP, is a professional speaker, personal productivity expert and the author of The Exhaustion Cure, Leave the Office Earlier and Find More Time. She is president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., an international time-management company. www.theproductivitypro.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 27, Number 3, June/July 2008.

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