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Volume 10, Issue 46: Finish What You Started

I invested time at a ladies' leadership conference out of town this week. This time away from home and work afforded me a moment to pause, refresh and reflect. One of the presentations was on physical wellness for the busy woman. This is a topic close to my heart as I am about a decade into my physical wellness journey. I would say that I am classified among the middle level nutritionally conscious and physical fit people.

I have exercised consistently over the last 10 years, and my nutrition has gradually transitioned to now consuming only wholesome foods maybe 95% of the time. I didn't think much about it during the presentation but while taking time to reflect on the discussion later on, I realized I have an issue to address as a matter of urgency.

Have you ever started a project but not seen it through to conclusion? Have you ever stalled on a project in its final leg? Have you ever basked in the applause of the moment for how well you have done so far on a project and found yourself stalled? I never thought about it this way before, but today I realized that I stalled on one of my ultimate fitness goal.

Imagine running a 42 kilometers marathon so well only to stop at the last 2 kilometers and hang around there jogging back and forth. That after completing 40 kilometers, you are not moving backwards but you are not moving forward either to finish the race. That's how I feel about one aspect of my fitness goals, something I hadn't realized until now.

I feel like I did so well making small changes over time but failed to finish the race. I basked in the glory of feeling good and looking good but I did not push to get to the finish line to look my best. This realization is so annoying I have to take action now! Just picture a marathoner not finishing their race a mere 2 kilometers from the finish line. Not because they don't have any stamina left in them to finish but because of getting distracted by their success thus far.

Success can indeed be a serious enemy of progress. I know better than to bask in yesterday's successes but here I am having plateaued in my fitness journey, inches away from reaching my goal. I've got to do something to finish my race. I have come so far to not reach my goal. And I refuse to settle anymore for anything shy of my ultimate goal regardless of how close what I have attained resembles my ultimate goal. Starting now, I am racing to the finish line. I am giving myself until my next birthday (which is six and a half months away) to attain my goal of a flat tummy.

Which of your long term goals have you plateaued on? In what area of life have you settled for close but not quite there, less than your best, above average but not excellent? If you answered affirmatively, what are you going to do about it? Join me in this challenge to push ourselves to the finish line. We can do this. We have come so far to settle for less than our best.

Like I have done, identify just one of your stalled projects that you are passionate about finishing. List down the action points that you know if you disciplined yourself about you will definitely succeed in finishing the project. Create a system for tackling your action points. Set for yourself a realistic timeline. Enlist a few people to hold you accountable. Then start today!

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 10, Issue 45: Managing Your Energy Part V

We have come to the very final part of this series. In part IV, we considered what sustains and replenishes our physical and emotional energy tanks. We are now finishing with a consideration of the activities that fuel our mental/creative and spiritual energy tanks. If you are just joining us now, it would be better for you to start with parts I, II, III and IV of this series before delving into this one.

Related article: Managing Your Energy Part IV

A quick recap from part IV, we saw that we operate on different forms of energy. Different tasks and activities not only take different amounts of energy, they also use up different forms of energy. We discussed physical and emotionally energy, and we are now finishing with mental/creative and spiritual energy.

Like we did in part IV, I will use the example of how I manage my energy, but remember what fuels or drains my energy tanks will be very different from what fuels or drains your energy tanks. So as you read, you are going to want to think about what works for you, and maybe even set aside some time in the coming days and weeks to experiment with different things to figure yourself out. The aim of this exercise is to help us figure out how to keep our energy tanks full for optimal performance and fulfillment.

Let's start with mental and creative energy here. How do you replenish your mental/creative energy? On my part it's mainly taking in and giving out. It's reading or listening to podcasts or videos for my personal improvement, and writing for the benefit of others or sharing my knowledge with others that sustains my mental and creative energy tank. I can spend hours writing and not get drained. Creative writing is my outlet, it's the thing that keeps me on a high and refreshes me for my mental work. How about you? What keeps your mental and creative juices flowing?

Last but not least, spiritual energy. How do you replenish your spiritual energy? My first activity every morning when I wake up is to spend time with God in prayer, Bible study and declarations. Throughout my day, I try to maintain an ongoing conversation with God. I also converse with Him on my journal before going to bed. These are the things that keep my spiritual energy tank full. How about you, is your spiritual tank empty? You could consider prayer and studying the word of God through the YouVersion Bible app.

Having said all that on how we fuel our four energy tanks, I believe each of us has one or a few things that replenishes all or almost all of our four energy tanks. I have found that watching something I enjoy like a nice family movie after a long day at work clears my physical and mental fatigue almost instantly. Reading and writing replenishes my mental/creative, emotional and spiritual energy tanks. And lastly, retail therapy - more like window shopping, that is, spending a few moments at an open market is also magical for me. It recharges me physically, mentally and emotionally.

What is the one thing that replenishes all your energy tanks? Take time to experiment if you can't pin point what it is with certainty. You will be wise to make time for the thing(s) that replenishes all or almost all your energy tanks so that you keep your energy tanks full and operate at your best physically, mentally/creatively, emotionally and spiritually on a regular basis.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 
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Volume 10, Issue 44: Managing Your Energy Part IV

We have reached the final section of this series. This will be parts IV and V. We are picking off from Part III of the series where we dug deeper into the importance of operating in sync with our energy rhythms. If you are just joining us now, it would be better for you to start with parts I, II and III before delving into this one.

Related article: Managing Your Energy Part III

As we conclude this series, let's talk about the different forms of energy that we operate on. This is important because different tasks and activities not only take different amounts of energy, they also use up different forms of energy. Different conversations that you have fuel or drain different forms of energy.

There are many forms of energy but the most common ones to us are physical energy, emotional energy, mental or creative energy and spiritual energy. Let's talk about how we generate, sustain, and replenish our different forms of energy. The aim of this discussion is to help us figure out ways of keeping our energy tanks full for optimal performance and fulfillment. We will talk about what fuels our physical and emotional energy tanks here, then wrap it up with what fuels our mental/creative and spiritual energy tanks in part V.

I will use the example of how I manage my energy, but remember what fuels or drains my energy tanks will be very different from what fuels or drains your energy tanks. So as you read, you are going to want to think about what works for you, and maybe even set aside some time in the coming days and weeks to experiment with different things to figure yourself out.

Let's start with physical energy. How do you replenish your physical energy? On my part, I am better in the morning, so I rise up early. I take my meals between 9am and 6pm, feeding on a healthy diet almost all the time. I rehydrate with lots of water early in the day. I walk and do strength training exercises for an hour or so 5 days a week. Since I am up early, I am exhausted by early evening, so going to bed early replenishes my physical energy for the next day. How about you, what do you do to keep your physical energy tank full?

Next is emotional energy. How do you replenish your emotional energy? For me being an introvert, spending time by myself processing my thoughts and feelings, and journaling replenishes my emotional energy tank. I am also refreshed by having conversations with close family members and friends. How about you? What fuels your emotional energy tank?

If you are an extrovert, what fuels you physically and emotionally is very different from what fuels an introvert. Additionally, no two extroverts, and no two introverts are necessarily fueled in the same way. So, if you haven't already, I encourage you to experiment and find out what works for you in keeping your physical and emotional tanks full for optimal performance and fulfillment. We will talk about what fuels our mental/creative energy and spiritual energy tanks next.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 10, Issue 43: Managing Your Energy Part III

We are picking off from Part II of this series where we talked about my energy rhythms as an example for us in managing our energy. If you are just joining us now, it would be better for you to start with parts I and II before delving into this one.

Related article: Managing Your Energy Part II

Having learnt my energy rhythms, my day starts with spiritual development activities at 4am. I can manage my walk and strength training regiment during my afternoon break or early evening but I slot it for 6am for logistical efficiency. I then try to get my creative work done before starting my professional work at 8.30am.

As much as possible, I clock off work at around 5pm after which I spend the next two hours in a relaxed mode. This is my recovery time. Towards the tail end of this slot of time, I am careful to take care of getting ready for bed routines by 7pm. I then spend more time with family before going to bed by 8pm.

Like I already said, your rhythms are most likely very different from mine and you most certainly shouldn't try to do what I do. If you haven't figured out yourself already, this is a good time to get the hang of your energy rhythms. After all, you cannot manage what you don't know.

What time are you most productive? How do you spend your most productive time? Do you spend it in focused work by yourself or in engagements with people? What time of day are your energy levels at their lowest? What time should you plan to do nothing at all?

Would you rather do most of your work at the beginning of the week and then rest or do you prefer to start the week with a day off before tackling your work for the week? Do meetings fuel you or drain you? Maybe there are kinds of meetings that fuel you and other kinds that you would rather not be part of because they take so much out of you.

If you are anything like me, or the demand on your time and energy is anything like mine, then you must appreciate the importance of aligning with your energy rhythms to perform at your best. You must know that going against your energy rhythms is nothing short of torturing yourself and doing so consistently is deteriorating to your health in the long run.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 
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Volume 10, Issue 42: Managing Your Energy Part II

We are picking off from part I of this series where we introduced the topic of energy management. It would be better for you to start with part I before diving into this one. In this part we are going to talk about my energy rhythms as an example for how to best manage our energy for efficiency and fulfillment.

Related article: Managing Your Energy Part I

I am most productive in the morning. My mental, creative, spiritual and physical energy are at their peak in the morning. Therefore I don't struggle getting a lot done in the early hours of the day. I found that if I left crucial or hard tasks to the later part of the day, they will either not get done or I would struggle to do them - spend a lot more time getting them done than I would if I did them in the morning.

With this information, I try to do less demanding tasks in the afternoon and later in the week. I schedule my weekly team meetings for the tail end of the week to discuss outputs for the week and set priorities for the next week. For meetings I am invited to, I negotiate to have them in the late afternoon so as to not interfere with my most productive time in the morning when I want to focus on getting my most important work done.

I don't prepare dinner in the evenings now like I did when my kids were younger as they and my husband do most of the cooking now. But I remember how hard I found the task if I started late in the evening. I recall it got to a point when I knew that if I didn't start dinner before 7pm, I wasn't going to prepare it. It was just out of the question as my energy levels that late in the evening are dipping so fast it would take so much out of me to get it done.

With the changes in my family dynamics, I only need to cook once a week now, and I make a point to impress my family with what I set before them. I elect to do that on Fridays as it's the day I work half day. Even though I clock off from office work at around 1pm, I still prefer to get all my prep work for the afternoon cooking in the morning before getting started with office work. This is because I am not very energetic in the afternoon to work on a lot of things at a fast pace.

When I fail to do my cooking and baking prep work in the morning, when I get off work in the early afternoon exhausted from trying to cram in as much as possible, I find the cooking and baking tasks so daunting and intimidating. This tells me that my energy management cuts across mental and physical tasks. My energy interpretes mental tasks in the same fashion as physical tasks. I take it that our mental and physical tasks are very closely related.

Funny enough, I also don't do well if I leave simple things as an evening shower and getting ready for bed routines to very late in the evening. Whenever I do, I drag through getting these mundane tasks done. I also don't do grocery shopping at the end of a working day when I am mentally and physically drained. Doing so feels rather weighty and unexciting for such a simple task.

Stay tuned for part III where we will unveil the importance of aligning ourselves to our energy rhythms for optimal performance and fulfillment.

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi