Are You Fully Charged?
Are you at the top of your game?
Have more energy than you need?
Is your work meaningful?
In recent research only 11 percent of people said that they have a great deal of energy. If you want to rev up your engine, read on.
One of my very favorite authors, Tom Rath has a brand new book called Are You Fully Charged?: The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life. Tom is a researcher at Gallup who studies human behavior. You may know him from any of his five New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers. From How Full Is Your Bucket? to StrengthsFinder 2.0 every one of his books inspires and challenges. We recently discussed what it takes to be fully charged at work and in life.
Maintain a Positive Attitude
You open the book with your own personal health challenge. How do you maintain such a positive attitude and strong work ethic in the face of the unknown?
I have learned it essential to focus on what you can do today that will continue to grow when you are gone. In reality, no one can say with certainty that they will live for a defined period of time. But we all have today to do something that improves the life of another human being.
You don’t even have to do anything that profound today to make a difference for someone else. The things that change people’s lives are usually an accumulation of small acts. If I have one great conversation today, do a little research or writing that contributes to something larger, or read a book to my son, those all add up in the way I think about a day where I am fully charged.
Learn the 3 Keys to a Full Charge
Three keys to a Full Charge include meaning, interactions, and energy. Are You Fully Charged?offers practical, easy steps to energize your life and become more effective. At the same time, I don’t think most of us think of our lives in these buckets. How did you develop this approach?
While I have also worked on research and books about life in a more general sense, this one focuses more on the key ingredients of a great day, for yourself and others. So I think of these three elements as little reminders of things I need to try and spend time on within a given day. As I talk about in the book’s prologue, this work has been deeply influenced by recent research suggesting that our daily experience functions very differently from our overall satisfaction with life over decades.
Find Purpose in Your Work
I think it starts by going all the way back to the fundamental compact between a person and an organization. Companies are now pretty good at quantifying the value an employee adds to their bottom line, but very few do a good job of ensuring that each person’s life is better off as a result of joining the organization.
So leaders need to spend more time helping employees to see how their daily efforts are part of something much larger that makes a difference. One way to do this is to help employees hear directly from customers and communities who are benefiting from their daily work. What matters is not just that we make a little meaningful progress each day but that each person also has a chance to see and perceive this through their own lens.
Put Experience First
Let’s talk about putting experience first. For years, I would argue that a vacation is fleeting whereas spending on something tangible stays with you. I clearly was wrong and can attest to the fact that stuff ends up in a donation pile while my vacation memories are with me forever. Outside of personal experiences, how can corporate leaders put this principle into practice at work?
It is remarkable how much more enduring experiences are when compared to stuff. So instead of giving physical or monetary rewards, companies could buy experiences for employees and even their family members. I am also increasingly convinced that employers should almost force people to use their vacation time or at least provide more incentive for using instead of hoarding time off. Some companies are already doing this, where employees lose some monetary bonus if they fail to take the time off that is so essential for their well-being.
Make Sleep a Priority
Sleep is important to success yet our society glamorizes the lack of it. You say, “Sleep longer to achieve more.” As a chronic insomniac, I am always searching for tips, and you have several. What has worked best for you?
The more I have learned on this topic, the more I try to make sleep a core value before anything else. So when I have to travel, for example, I budget an extra hour (just for attempting to sleep) in order to have a better chance of getting a net 7-8 hours. There are also a lot of little things in terms of eliminating light in the hour before bed, sleeping in a room that is a few degrees cooler, using white noise apps, and so on from the more tactical standpoint. But I think a lot of that starts with prioritizing sleep as an investment for tomorrow, instead of looking at it as an expense today.
Give to Others to Increase Your Happiness
Giving back and giving to others is what you do and it closes your book. How does giving to others help recharge us?
Personally, I think doing things for others may be the only way to create lasting well-being. In many cases, when people focus inward on their own happiness, it has the opposite effect. That is why most of my time in the content of this book is directed towards the things you can do today that improve the life of another human being.
Are You Fully Charged?: The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life