One of the most common questions I am asked is, “Martin, how do you stay high energy all the time?” My answer:
“I don’t! I run my life just like a NBA game.”
I am writing to you on just one of my many daily “breaks.” Right now I am sitting in the United Club lounge at O’Hare airport in Chicago after flying in from Toronto. I have a 2-hour layover. You might see this layover as a tiring hassle, I see it as an important part of my day; an energizing break.
The last 4 days in Canada (like most of my days) have required a lot of energy. The way I was able to pull off another successful trip was by properly planning and managing my energy by using my little secret: I schedule in my breaks first!
Doesn’t make sense? Take a look at the crazy day I had last week and you will see how I was able to get a lot of work done in order to get to a big NBA basketball game. Examine the pattern of my schedule for the clues how I was able to rock this past Friday:
After getting up at 4am, I had the usual rush (an stress) to finish packing, get to the airport, park, go through security, get to my gate, line up and get on the plane. Once I got to my seat, as planned, I took a break. I slept on that first flight to catch up on the sleep I missed and then worked (conference calls, messages and emails) on the layover before my second flight. Then on that second flight I took another break and read. Once I landed and got through customs, I took a break while driving to TFW Sauga in Mississauga. Upon arrival, I shot two Facebook lives, did an interview and then as planned, took a lunch break away from the facility. Then I returned to coach two afternoon classes to over 75 TFW students and after the sweaty goodbyes and selfies, I took a traffic-enhanced break in the car on the way to an NBA game at the Air Canada Centre in downtown Toronto.
See the pattern? I am not high energy all the time. I am high energy in between very important and planned breaks of low energy, detachment and a change of scenery. Sometimes the breaks are short, sometimes they are longer. But either way, I am reseting myself for what’s next.
After the long day and finally in my seat at 7:50pm, I thought I was going to watch a game. Instead I got a lesson confirming my ideas about the importance of breaks to manage your energy. From my seat, I was reminded that I am not the only one that knows this secret to high energy. The Toronto Raptors organization obviously knew it too! Because it was the meeting of two first place teams (Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets) the building was filled with high energy. Add the fact it was “Drake Night” (the rapper is from Toronto and sponsored shirts for every fan), and the atmosphere was even more electric.
At the beginning of the game, Toronto jumped out to a big lead and the crowd was on fire. But each time there would be a “break” in the action, there would be a new “call for action.” Whether it was getting the crowd to clap, yell, sing, dance, or cheer, there were constant prompts from the PA system to renew energy after each break. And these breaks and prompts weren’t by accident; they were scheduled! From the breaks between the quarters, halftime and timeouts, to the t-shirt guns, dance teams and fan cams, I realized the entire game was just a series of scheduled breaks and returns to high energy. Even the players (including the top scorer James Hardin) took breaks on the bench too!
The Big Lesson: In order to appear high energy, you have to take appropriate breaks of low energy!
Sounds simple right? You may think this is common sense, but when it comes to important breaks that involve sleep, exercise and nutrition, common sense doesn’t seem to be so common. Here are 5 Energizing Breaks That Can Change Your Life. Put these in your schedule and your energy, mood and health can improve:
1. Get To Bed
Sleep is the most forgotten and abused form of “break” out there. When I poll my attendees at my events, most admit they don’t get enough sleep. About 8 hours (for most people) is the break you need.
2. Take A Time Out
People complain they have no energy because they’re so “busy.” Between social media, emails, and the daily grind of work and family, few people have breaks scheduled into his or her day. Just a couple time outs may be all you need. Here are some simple ones that take a few minutes or less: Go for a walk. Stretch. Go get a glass of water. Do 5-10 deep breaths.
3. Let Off Some Steam
Because people are so “busy” they also miss out on exercise. Contrary to what you might think, this break doesn’t cost you energy, it can create it. Even as little as 15-30 minutes could do the trick. Ride a bike. Lift weights. Go to a TFW! And if you are going to schedule your workout, make sure you schedule your rest periods during the workout too!
4. Do Lunch
I know I have talked about skipping lunch in the past. But one way you can give yourself a break in the action is by eating away from where you work. Pack a lunch or find a favorite spot. Focus on your food and schedule it in!
5. Get Some “Fresh Air”
A final recommendation is to get outside. Get away from your desk and the building where you work. Even for a few minutes to look or be outside will help. Then, like all the suggested breaks above, you will be ready to jump back into the action.
On Saturday during my Coaching Greatness workshop, I treated my full day of presenting like the game and used scheduled breaks. I would bring the energy up and down and give the audience breaks and then bring them back up. They left for lunch and got moments to focus on something else. The result? Another day where people stayed engaged and gave me the best compliment a teacher can get: “I can’t believe the day went so fast! Where did the time go?”
Want to learn more of my “secrets” to coaching others? Come spend the day with me at one of the dates below:
2018 Coaching Greatness Dates:
There are times you probably feel stressed out and overworked. My suggestion: give yourself a break. Try out the list above and you will find it is not the size of the break in your day, but the fact you took control and scheduled it in that will make all the difference.
Yours in Strength,