Robin Hills (Director, Ei4Change) has been asked to contribute a series of bite-sized, inspirational soundbites for Bolton FM.
Featured every day for a week as The Thought that Counts, these were broadcast on the Breakfast Show and on the Lunchtime Show.
This podcast explores how to work more effectively with your energy:
Here are my latest contributions to my local radio station's, The Thought That Counts slot, which is broadcast on the breakfast show and the lunchtime show over a period of a week. Each broadcast lasts about 90 seconds. My contributions are all based around some aspect of emotional intelligence. I've put my contributions together as hints and tips in this podcast. On this occasion, my reflections explore how to work more effectively with your energy covering, Managing Energy, Productivity and Priorities, Calmness, The Importance of Stress, and Critical Thinking. I hope that you enjoy the podcast and these The Thought That Counts. The Thought That Counts. In our fast paced, modern lifestyle, it's energy, not time that's our most precious resource. Time measures the quantity of the effort that we put into our work, but not the quality. It's the high level of energy that we put into a task that predicts high performance and success. Time is a constant. There's a fixed amount of hours, minutes and seconds in every 24 hour day. There are, unfortunately, no rollovers, no debits and no credits. In contrast, energy operates like a bank account. We have the ability to store up energy and dip into our savings when we need it. The old ideas of managing time through self-discipline and the belief that stress is bad has shifted. The new way of thinking is that we should be looking at managing energy, look for appropriate levels of stress, treat life as a series of sprints where downtime can be very productive and where our purpose fuels performance. Energy has been described as the effort and enthusiasm that is fuelled by intense personal commitment. It's the resource that we draw on to perform in virtually all areas of our lives and is the fuel that drives our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical being, creating the capacity for us to be effective. Your energy is your currency. Spend it well, invest it wisely. The Thought That Counts. Human beings are complex energy systems. So successful energy management is not a simple process. Energy management means that there are going to be times when we use all our resources to achieve maximum productivity, followed by periods of intense recovery when we replenish our energy for a new task ahead. Having a strong sense of purpose is a powerful and enduring source of energy, and strong values will fuel the energy on which purpose is built. Purpose creates an anchor to keep us on course in tough times. What is your current energy status and how is this affected by what's going on in your life? Facing the truth about your current energy levels frees up energy reserves, while ignoring the truth consumes energy. Plan to achieve a balanced state of energy expenditure and recovery, and plan to take action on implementing changes that will make a difference to your energy levels. But be realistic. Managing your energy isn't going to bring about the magical overnight achievements of a state of wellness. The achievement of wellness comes from realising a long term strategy, which includes creating a compelling vision and making daily choices to value and manage your energy. The key is not to prioritise what is on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. The Thought That Counts. When thinking about energy highs and lows, It's useful to consider not only the quantity of energy, but also the quality of energy from negative ( tense) to positive (calm). The quality of our energy is often related to our emotional state. Many people are trapped by tense or negative Energy, a stress driven state characterised by a nearly constant sense of pressure and anxiety. Tense energy keeps us going because it engages the most primitive part of our brain. The one that responds to any hint of danger by kicking all our energies into gear prompting either fight or flight reactions. Although it's magnificently adapted for survival, the limbic system of our brain doesn't contain any creativity, vision or thoughtful reflection. All it can cause us to do is more of what we've already done, only faster, harder and longer. Calm or positive energy, on the other hand, stills the emotional parts of the brain and accesses many of her highest capabilities. These high energy states also celebrate the quieter periods in our natural energy cycles, which have their place in the cycle of performance and reflection. The calm energy state is characterised by low muscle tension and alert presence of mind, peaceful feelings, increased creative intelligence, physical vitality and a deep sense of well-being. When negative energy surrounds you, strive for calmness. Solutions are not created any other way. The Thought That Counts. We're inclined to think of stress as a bad thing - a negative state to be minimised or avoided. Too much stress could indeed have serious, debilitating consequences on both physical and mental health. However, stress can also be positive. For example, a tight deadline can inspire a burst of hard work and creativity, and this can be seen as positive stress. In order to understand the concept of stress, it's important to remember that sources of stress vary considerably. What you find stressful might not be stressful for me, and vice versa. Events and circumstances are not necessarily stressful, rather, it's the level of perceived stress and this varies from person to person. While some people find public speaking very stressful, others thrive on it. A certain amount of stress is beneficial. Too little stress, results in boredom and underperformance, and too much stress results in burnout. The essential element in this dynamic is to apply the right amount of stress and to make sufficient time for recovery. The ideal stress and recovery cycle has regular breaks for recovery throughout the day. Recovery doesn't necessarily mean the absence of activity, It can be a change in rhythm or nature of activity by doing some quiet individual work or activity. Stress management is life management. If you can't manage your stress, it will manage you. The Thought That Counts. Critical thinking is a good source of mental energy. Critical thinking is important for success because it leads to better decision making, better solutions and better results. Good decision solutions and results energise us. Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally, understanding the logical connection between ideas. It's the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. To develop critical thinking, we need to exercise our minds by analysing facts, generating and organising new ideas, defending our opinions, making comparisons, drawing conclusions, evaluating arguments and solving problems. However, there's a big difference between critical thinking and being critical. Being critical is about finding fault with something and its usually directed at a person. Critical thinking is about judgement, which can include finding faults and flaws but it has more emphasis on questioning and analysis directed towards the subject under discussion. Criticism is often driven by emotion. Critical thinking analyses emotion as part of the overall process and so involves emotional intelligence. It incorporates empathy which considers the impact of critical thinking from other people's perspectives to engage and develop relationships. So, learn how to be a critical thinker without having a critical heart. I'm Robin Hills from EI4Change. Empowering your Emotional Management. The Thought That Counts.