The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

I wasn’t truly productive. I knew I was investing so much of the time but the output wasn’t really upto my expectations. And I realized that it wasn’t just about productivity, it was being reflected in every aspect of my life. I wasn’t living the full out of opportunities and my energy and It made my life worse than ever. Have you ever felt out of your zone as well?

“We survive on too little sleep, wolf down fast foods on the run, fuel up with coffee and cool down with alcohol and sleeping pills. Faced with relentless demands at work, we become short-tempered and easily distracted. We return home from long days at work feeling exhausted and often experience our families not as a source of joy and renewal, but as one more demand in an already overburdened life.”

Jim Loehr

I mean sitting all day long in the same chair, with not so ideal thoughts roaming around my head, I used to start getting distracted. At the end of the day, when you are not done with the work, your back hurts, you’re hungry and angry at yourself, guilt sweeps in. This is exactly what was happening to me. Now I am going to waste my time not relaxing because I will be thinking of all the ways I could have been more productive or there in the moment. And this becomes a never ending loop that makes me overwhelmed and in the end more exhausted than ever.

We all get tired. And we blame it on the day or work itself.

“I had looong day at work today”

“Super exhausted with the work, I am going to crash now.”

“I have no energy left to do more of this work.”

I came to the realisation that I was blaming my work for it. But that wasn’t really what was wrong. I needed to figure out if I was being unproductive because of time management or if I was too distracted the whole day, then why? That’s just around the time when I was a regular visitor of a public library. And one day, something amazing happened. I happened to meet this guy who was a psychology student. We started having long conversations and eventually I told him about my problem. His immediate reaction was to suggest this book and right now I couldn’t thank him more for doing so. Thank you Sam! Really appreciate it!

“The simple, almost embarrassing reality is that we feel too busy to search for meaning.”

Jim Loehr

This book really changed my mind over what was happening with my life. It was as if I was altogether focusing on the wrong side of the road all the time. This book provided me the insights and allowed me to stop overvaluing time and distractions. It was the first step in going in search of a solution. This book introduced me to the concept of energy. It’s not about how much time, it’s about how much energy. When we start optimising our energy, we will be able to optimise our lives as well.

“We live in a world that celebrates work and activity, ignores renewal and recovery, and fails to recognize that both are necessary for sustained high performance.”

Jim Loehr

We are too focused on accomplishing so many things in a short span of time that we forget life is big. It’s not a race that can be won by beating the timer. I was running against time and that’s why I always felt so exhausted. I wasn’t even able to focus on anything. There are so many aspects in our lives that can’t be ignored. We need to take care of our health, mental, spiritual and emotional well being. When we start ignoring these, we start wasting our energy in the wrong places. What we should do instead is engage fully in the work or disengage strategically whenever we need to put off the work. And it comes with commitment and forming habits and using rituals to make it easy for us to follow them. Making rituals will drastically increase our concentration irrespective of the activity. Hence, engaging and disengaging should become a part of our lives.

“Each of us has a finite reservoir of energy in any given day. Whatever amount of energy we spend obsessing about missteps we have made, decisions that do not go our way or the belief we have been treated unfairly is energy no longer available to add value in the world.”

Tony Schwartz

Book Pointers

Engage Fully — Engaging fully with our day to day activities require working on the key areas of our lives which include physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well being. They will help us draw our energy and utilise it effectively.

Optimise The Energy — Instead of focusing on meeting the deadlines, we should be more focused on channelising and optimising our energy. Energy should be the most important aspect of our lives.

“The more we take responsibility for the energy we bring to the world, the more empowered and productive we become. The more we blame others or external circumstances, the more negative and compromised our energy is likely to be.”

Jim Loehr

Make It Intense — Just like intense workouts, start being proactive and work intensely, which should be followed by intense rest as well. In this way, we can train ourselves to be more and more effective in whatever we do.

Make A Move — We need to break the pattern of our linear lives and start living it in qan oscillatory way. Instead of lazing throughout the day, we should be more focused on engaging and disengaging with the work whenever needed. Which will come with practice.

Follow Rituals — We always think of so many habits that we need to follow but never get to stick to them. The easy way to follow them is to use the least willpower every single day. When we make rituals and follow them everyday, it becomes real easy to keep up with them. Start making rituals.

Do It Exactly — Just by setting up exact time and place for a specific activity, we allow our minds to really make it happen. It increases the chances of actually performing the activity. This commitment allows us to use less willpower, get more done and relax in the free time without any stress.

“As Aristotle said: “We are what we repeatedly do.” Or as the Dalai Lama put it more recently: “There isn’t anything that isn’t made easier through constant familiarity and training. Through training we can change; we can transform ourselves.”

What I Learned From The Book

Stop relying on deadlines and start optimising energy to use less willpower and get more done.

Conclusion

This book focuses on energy and makes us dive deep into all the aspects of it. You will get to be mindful after reading this book about the key areas of your life and discard the unneeded ones that we should pay less attention to. It’s a great book to learn about habits, engaging with life, productivity and it leaves us with good sense on how to actively engage with our own lifestyle.

Thank you for reading. I am an avid reader. My aim is to summarise many more books and spread the knowledge and wisdom. Follow my blog for more book summaries. I Read! I Learn! I Implement!

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I Read! I Learn! I Implement!