Perform Energized Work November 3, 2012

One of the simplest ways to be energized is to take care of yourself. Go home on time every day. Spend time with family and friends and engage in activities that take your mind off of work. Eat healthy foods, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. While you’re busy with these other things, your brain will turn over the events of the day. You’ll often have new insights in the morning.

If quality time off is the yin of energized work, focused work is the yang. While at work, give it your full attention. Turn off interruptions such as email and instant messaging. Silence your phones. Ask your project manager to shield you from unnecessary meetings and organizational politics.

When the yin and yang mesh perfectly, you’ll wake up in the morning well-rested and eager to start your day. At the end of the day, you’ll be tired – though not exhausted – and satisfied with the work you’ve done.

Source: The Art of Agile Development, Chapter 5: Thinking (Page 83)
 

When you are energized you will have an infectious effect on the rest of the team. You will solve difficult problems more quickly. You will generate less defects. You will provide helpful advice to your peers. You will have quick recall of important information. You will not have the urge to procrastinate. These traits will make not only your work, but everyone’s work easier, which will amplify the overall energy (and velocity) of the team. We sit together in order to maximize the flow of information. If you bring low energy to the room, you reduce this flow.

If you are sick, don’t come in. No matter how tight the deadline is, you’re only going to delay your recovery and you will almost certainly ensure that everyone else on the team misses work due to infection. This applies to mental unwellness as well as physical unwellness. If you’re, for whatever reason, feeling stressed out,  foggy, or unable to think straight, use a personal day to get some rest.

If you feel unwell more often than your available personal days then you need to look very carefully at the structure of your life. Are you taking proper care of yourself? Are you getting enough sleep, exercise, social time, relaxation, and nutrition? What is the root cause of your fatigue and how will you address it? Although these are personal problems, when they come with you to work and affect your energy, they become professional problems as well.

Pairing is the best possible way to increase the energy of work. Pairing provides immediate feedback about your current energy state. Pairing helps you avoid procrastination traps, it helps you remain focused, and it helps ensure that all the work you do delivers value. If your energy is low, your pair may help you identify the need for a break. Even though pairing may feel like harder work at times, it will help you leave work with a sense of accomplishment.

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