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The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal

by Jim Loehr, Tony Schwartz
Free Press, 256 pages, $10.20

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Much has been written about the importance of managing time, but The Power of Full Engagement tackles another daily dilemma that professionals face - managing their energy. The authors equate the process of people optimizing energy with athletes training and exercising before they play, then taking time to recover after their performance. Supervisors looking to up their energy levels and minimize stress will appreciate these strategies and case studies of people from all walks of life who have managed to do it.

"Energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance," write Loehr and Schwartz. "Without the right quantity, quality, focus and force of energy, we are compromised in any activity we undertake." Using the computer model, The Power of Full Engagement goes through the steps of how to reprogram our mental computer. Instead of viewing our existence as a marathon, the authors want us to recognize that a more apt comparison is sprint running. In other words, we have daily tasks that demand our peak performance. When we fully develop our mental "muscles" and engage completely, we're understandably drained. Taking downtime to recover is the best way to prepare for the next sprint or task. The authors assert that even downtime is productive time.

The book breaks down being fully engaged into the following aspects:

  • Physically energized
  • Emotionally connected
  • Mentally focused
  • Spiritually aligned with a purpose beyond our immediate self-interest

Loehr and Schwartz cite the human laboratory of athletics and used tennis players and Olympians to experiment with their energy management techniques. The best thing about athletes is that, much like dedicated professionals, they demand measurable results. The surprising discovery that the authors made is that the performance demands that most people face in their everyday work environments dwarf those of professional athletes. Consider that most athletes have an off season to recuperate, while professionals average about two weeks a year of vacation downtime. Upon further discovery, they learned that on a deeper level, the highly successful tennis players were the ones who were able to lower their heart rates and "recuperate" between points.

It will come as no surprise that many managers and executives don't have rituals to help them relax and remain effective. The Power of Full Engagement offers blueprints on how to build the mental foundation to reverse downward trends.

Professionals at all levels will find the prescriptions here for developing muscles and performing rituals to conserve your energy enlightening.

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