Low energy day

I didn’t have a lot of energy today, and even my IBM team mate noticed
it. Perhaps it was the stress of fighting with the wiki I was using
this morning. Perhaps information overload from trying to organize so
many case studies and thoughts. Perhaps it was last night’s
high-energy DemoCamp, when I was out until 11. Perhaps it was the
embarrassment of being late and needing help finding the meeting room
this afternoon. Perhaps it was the effort of forcing myself to stay
awake (or at least not nod off too obviously) during the
conference-call interview. (I have to get better at sitting
still in one spot and listening actively.) Whatever the reason—or
combinations of reasons—today wasn’t one of my best days.

I did find the energy, though, to give one of my friends a big warm
virtual hug and a pep talk that she much appreciated. There’s always
energy for the important things in life.

Good thing I learned: many people don’t mind helping if you ask them
nicely. It makes them smile, too, remembering what it was like when
they were new. =)

How can I make this better in the future?

  • No more late nights. No matter how much fun hanging out with the DemoCamp folks is, I need to set a curfew and stick to it.
  • After stressful episodes, I can give myself some re-centering time.
  • Shifting between writing on the computer and writing by hand helps me push myself awake.
  • I shouldn’t be embarrassed about excusing myself for a stretch, a glass of water, or other kinds of breaks.
  • Maybe I can bring mints or sour candies to stimulate my senses.
  • More active participation in interviews can help. Maybe I can ask Kathryn if I can take the lead in asking the questions based on the outline, so that it forces me to learn how to ask questions and logical follow-up questions.

What do you do during low-energy days?

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  • Funny thing. If I exercise–say, a minute or two of jumping jacks–then I get my energy back.

    That’s what I need to do in these meetings… Politely excuse myself, step outside the room, quickly do some jumping jacks, and then come back in! ;)

  • I’ve found that exercise helps — but only to a point. If the problem is boredom, getting away for a minute to exercise and breathe real air can make a big difference, and I can repeat it as often as needed.

    But if the problem is lack of sleep, exercise (or caffeine) only goes so far — eventually, sleep is the only answer.

  • Absolutely. =) I learned that in driving school, too. The best way to deal with sleepiness is to sleep.

    (David, thanks for blogging about Free Rice – I just had a good 20 minutes of fun on that site! =) )

  • Raymond Zeitler

    Low energy days… yes, I’ve had many. I try to take a pro-active approach. Diet is the biggest issue with me. I found out that I should stick to a low carb diet. Also it’s very important for me (and most humans) to avoid wheat. (I’m on the Blood Type Diet, actually.) The worst lunch for me is a load of pasta. I would drift off into a coma afterwards.

    But aside from that, I like revive myself with green tea or cold water to drink. I used to eat crunchy things like corn chips, but they’re not on my diet. So now I eat crunchy almonds or rice crackers. The crunch is an important sensory element for alertness. I also do energy bars (Larabar, Cliff Bar or Luna Bar) but these wouldn’t wake me — they just keep my blood sugar from dropping.

    I’m not hesitant to walk out of a two-hour meeting, as long as the topic isn’t directly relevant to me. Just getting up to take a bathroom break and refill my water glass helps a bit.

    Good luck!