To run on all four cylinders

Effective energy management to increase productivity manifold.


Saad Amanullah August 17, 2014

KARACHI: To drive peak performance at work or in personal life, majority of experts focus disproportionally on time management as a tool, using the approach that efficient use of time will drive improved effectiveness.

However, there is another factor much more potent, often neglected, which drives sustainable performance – and that is ‘Energy Management’.

Managing time as well as managing our energy are two distinct but critical concepts. Many of us are quite good in managing our time, but fail to efficiently use our energy. In fact, most of the time we toil endlessly that even our business starts to suffer due to lack of energy. If only we can manage our energy like our time, the productivity will increase manifold.


In a very insightful book, “The Power of Full Engagement” written by two psychologists Dr Jim Loehr and Dr Jack Groppel, there are useful tips on managing our vitality. Key point that they make is that we have four types of energies in every person, ie, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energies and the key is to strengthen each one while maintaining a good balance between them all.

Concept behind energy management

According to the authors, our life, from birth to the time we die, has a unique physio-psychological trend. Our ‘energy capacity’ continues to increase from the day we are born until the age of 30, and afterwards it starts to decrease until we die (solid line). On the other hand, the ‘demand on our body and mind’ continues to constantly increase from one’s birth to death (dotted line).

As we get older, our bodies continue to deteriorate and lose capacity. Unlike our energy capacity, which deteriorates after 30, demand increases exponentially after 30 – with the addition of more responsibilities.

According to the two lines, our demand and capacity of energy will intersect when we are 40-45 years old. It is the point at which panic hits our lives as demand increases beyond our capacity to handle them. Many of us face emotional crisis, nervous breakdowns or stress-related ailments.

With the ever-increasing workload, our lives are consumed with physical and mental exertion. To be as efficient as possible in a working environment, an individual must realise his limitations.

The problem has a simple solution; but for surviving the post-40 challenges, we must work on increasing the four different energies to increase our work rate proficiently.

Reason to work on all types of energies is that if you are depressed (low spiritual energy), or emotionally disturbed (low emotional energy) or mentally distracted (poor mental energy), then being physically fit does not fulfil all requirements; hence we should keep all four in mind.

If we consistently work out, challenge and build all four energies, only then will we be able to meet the increasing demands of our body, mind and emotions and allow ourselves to deliver peak performance at work.

Another important tip by these authors is to convert our activities into habits and build them into our daily life schedule. Always remember the ability to manage our energy is what separates the ordinary from the extraordinary and that managing time ‘gets you there’ but managing energy is ‘what makes you shine’.

The writer is a corporate leader, entrepreneur and a supporter of many social enterprises and foundations

Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2014.

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COMMENTS (2)

Saad Amanullah Khan | 6 years ago | Reply

@Tkhan: To answer your questions, the way to increase capacity is to go into a disciplined and planned training on each of the four energies. For each type of the stated energy’s the training program is quite different:

Physical Capacity: Join a gym and start exercising and eat well balanced and timely meals; Mental Capacity: Start meditation, do crosswords or quizzes; Try new things and keep brain busy. Emotional Capacity: Start handling adversity and take on emotionally challenging projects, such as charity work or helping and caring for people; Walk out of your comfort zone and test your emotions. Spiritual Capacity: Strengthen your faith, live by your values and have specific and clear goals in your life;
Tkhan | 6 years ago | Reply

A very good point highlighted by the author - energy management. The next question is. . . How?

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