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In Chapter 2 of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, David Allen spells out the four criteria model for choosing the next thing to do. He says that you choose what to do next based on (in this order) context, time available, energy and priority. In this series of articles, I will explore ways to maximize the criteria so that you always have the most possibility of getting something done.
Maximizing the Amount Of Energy Available
We all have hills and valleys in our personal energy level. Some are natural, but most are caused by actions we take. These tips can help you get the most energy:
Get Enough Sleep
As Leo points out in his article over at LifeHacker, 50 Tricks to Get Things Done Faster, Better, and More Easily, “sleep is essential…learn to see sleep as a pleasure, not a necessary evil or luxury.” Poor sleep affects weight gain, grades, accident rates and more.
Our bodies are machines. If we put in poor grade fuel, we will end up with sputtering engines. Sure, sugar and caffeine are great ways to get kick-started, but both come with a drawback of low energy later. Add to it that sugar depresses the immune system, and you not only will suffer from the sugar crash, but are putting yourself at risk for catching viruses.
Give yourself nutritious food, eaten in a manner, which for you, will prevent highs and lows. The information is out there.
Our bodies are made of more than 50% water, and our brains are 85% water. If we are dehydrated, we are not functioning as well as we should. According to the Ririan project article about water, levels of oxygen in the bloodstream are greater when you are well-hydrated, and more oxygen means more energy. Drinking the recommended amount of water for your sex, age, activity level and weight is just good common sense. Plus an icy glass of water will wake you up very quickly!
Exercise gets more oxygen into the bloodstream, and this leads to higher level of energy. Long-term energy gains can be had with regular exercise.
Dealing with Seasonal Slumps
If you find yourself dealing with a lack of energy when the amount of sunlight starts to decrease, get yourself evaluated for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Having been diagnosed with it some years ago, and never doing anything serious about it, I recently purchased a special light to help me adjust my biological rhythms. It has given me more energy than I have had at this time of year for as long as I can remember. SAD is a real phenomenon, and can be treated.