As a CEO, energy is one of your most valuable currencies. You must be at your best each day while establishing vision and strategy, stakeholder management, brand reputation, investor relations, talent management, risk management and much more.
Picture your body and mind as a cell phone battery. Each morning, you start in the green, but with every decision and action, a percentage of that battery depletes.
Energy is a limited resource that needs recharging at some point. CEOs must allocate this resource wisely among their various responsibilities.
When it comes to energy management and optimization, precision matters. To maximize your energy, begin with these three cornerstone habits.
Formulate a mental health strategy
As a CEO, the stakes are high. The pressure to perform and meet expectations in an increasingly competitive business environment is relentless. Business is a 24/7 sport with no offseason.
The constant push to embody the ideals of superhuman resilience and unwavering composure can become overwhelming. Amid such demands, the adage "It’s tough and lonely at the top" often resonates deeply with many CEOs.
At this level of leadership, finding a confidant or sounding board can be challenging. In fact, according to Headspace Health’s 2022 Workforce Attitudes Toward Mental Health Report, 83 percent of CEOs have missed work days due to stress and burnout, and 25 percent of employees identified poor leadership as a top stressor.
When the CEO is mentally optimized, this positive state of mind permeates throughout the entire workplace.
It’s not surprising since effective leadership cascades from the top. When the CEO is mentally optimized, this positive attitude permeates throughout the entire workplace. With that said, poor mental health doesn’t just affect the individual; it also stifles the business’ bottom line.
By 2030, the American Heart Association estimates that poor mental health will cost companies US$6.1 trillion per year. As you work to enhance your mental health and energy, consider integrating mindfulness practices and meditation into your daily routine.
Think of these daily habits as your anchors, enabling you to navigate a sea of responsibilities and various issues with a better sense of clarity and calmness.
Furthermore, establishing work–life boundaries is equally crucial. This doesn’t mean reducing your workload or slacking. Rather, it involves optimizing your work strategy. Your schedule can often be brimming with commitments, from high-stakes meetings to strategic planning. But setting aside time for personal commitments is imperative.
This could involve spending time with your family, engaging in regular exercise or rejuvenating through your favorite hobbies. By consciously allocating time for yourself, you’re not only improving your wellbeing, but you’re also improving your capacity to lead effectively.
Take a systematic approach to nutrition
Let’s face it: The default societal environment is far from being conducive to achieving optimal health and sustained energy levels. This default environment is inundated with tempting yet nutritionally deficient foods that offer momentary satisfaction at the cost of our long-term wellbeing.
On top of the various business responsibilities and challenging landscape, a strategic game plan isn’t just a recommendation, it’s a necessity. Instead of leaving your nutritional decisions to chance, particularly as your energy levels wane throughout the day, adopting a deliberate approach is crucial to sustained peak performance.
Instead of leaving your nutritional decisions to chance, particularly as your energy levels wane throughout the day, adopting a deliberate approach is crucial to sustained peak performance.
In the realm of business, delegation and outsourcing are recognized strategies for enhancing efficiency and success. The same principles can be applied to your nutrition. While moving toward a lifestyle centered around fresh, nutrient-dense foods is a no-brainer, consider integrating these additional components to provide further support:
- Hydration: Water is often dismissed as an afterthought. Nevertheless, hydration is a cornerstone of sustained vitality. Dehydration of just two percent can not only lead to fatigue, but also decreased cognitive functioning. As a daily general guideline, drink half your body weight in ounces. However, consider your activity levels, climate, and a handful of other factors when deciding on your daily water intake
- Define your nutritional blueprint: Just as a business plan serves as a compass for guiding operations, a nutritional blueprint charts the course for your dietary objectives. Consider your energy needs and craft a personalized plan that aligns with them. To further enhance precision and insights, consider developing a blueprint based on your genetics, lifestyle, blood labs and other relevant factors
- Leverage technology: Similar to how a leading business will leverage cutting-edge technology to optimize business operations, you can leverage technology to streamline your nutritional approach and, ultimately, your energy levels. Consider utilizing meal delivery services that provide well-balanced, chef-prepared meals tailored to your dietary requirements
Leverage exercise for energy and a competitive advantage
Exercise is your premier tool for both longevity and energy optimization. Exercise also fortifies your body and brain, enabling you to navigate daily stressors and challenges.
The act of movement generates piezoelectricity within your body, providing an energy source akin to a battery. Not only that, the benefits of exercise extend beyond the physical. Quality sleep is paramount to your overall vitality, and consistent exercise is a star contributor to improving your sleep quality.
The benefits of exercise extend beyond the physical.
Lastly, the role of the CEO is cognitively demanding and exercise can serve as a reservoir of cognitive energy. Whether it’s maintaining sharpness, unwavering focus, executive presence or numerous other executive functioning skills, exercise plays a vital role.
Even a brief investment of time can yield substantial returns. Researchers discovered that just six weeks of short, focused interval training, lasting 20 minutes per session, led to improved memory and cognitive function, as reported in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.
Being a CEO is both a challenging and rewarding experience. However, achieving synergy between your wellbeing and your professional role is the key. Many CEOs will allocate time and invest heavily in constructing the business ‘roof’ (their careers) while inadvertently neglecting the ‘foundation’ (their health and energy).
Remember, your productivity is intrinsically linked to your health. By prioritizing your mental and physical health, you will be able to embark on a journey toward becoming a more effective CEO.