Nancy Vella Photo

Nancy Vella is a tax director at Deloitte Tax LLP. She graduated in 1979 with her BA in accounting from Michigan State University and has been an active alumna for many years

Have you determined how to add more hours to your day? I keep trying but have yet to figure it out. Despite careful planning and prioritizing, most of us wish we had more time for our families, our friends, our personal interests, and even to get more work done!

How are you using your time? Think about a day when you felt full of energy. How was that day? Did you get more accomplished? Were you more engaged with your family, your friends, and at work? I am guessing the answer to these questions is “Yes.”

Energy Management Is Critical for Success

Research shows that individuals who focus on managing their energy, instead of their time, are more productive, innovative, and have a higher sense of purpose. In addition, dramatic changes to our workplaces, societal norms, and new worker attitudes are compelling organizations to change their business environments in order to survive and thrive.

The most successful organizations and individuals of the future, will be those that find ways to manage and maximize their energy, instead of just time.

How Do We Manage Energy?

There are many ways to increase not only your energy, but your team’s energy as well. Here are some of my favorite ideas:

Eat for Optimal Energy

One of the easiest steps is to be cognizant of what, when, and how much you eat. We all know we should eat healthy, but did you know you should eat smaller meals and more often? Try not to go longer than the recommended three hours without refueling your body for energy. Organizations can do their part by providing healthy snacks and getting rid of the candy jars – or at least making them more difficult to find!

Get Moving!

It is important to build in small daily actions to build energy. Any time you add movement to your day, you will have more energy. Physical movement of any type gives you more energy, which converts into being more engaged and productive, thus getting more accomplished throughout your day.

On a daily basis, how often do you get up from your desk and take a break? Research shows that sitting too long is as bad for your health as smoking. Aim to get up and move every 90 minutes. Don’t think you have the time? Try setting the timer on your cell phone as a reminder. Go for a short walk, get a glass of water, or walk over to a co-worker to discuss a matter instead of emailing. Build in exercise of 10 minute increments that will add up during the day and week.

Be a Role Model in Relaxing

Taking time off and disconnecting from work is essential for recharging energy. However, many employees do not use all of their vacation or holiday time provided by their organization and even end up working during those days. Leaders in the organization must model vacation behavior so that others feel empowered to truly disconnect as well.

Become a Team “Energy Leader”

An “energy leader” should make their team members feel comfortable talking about their personal lives and how their work life fits with their personal life. Being fully engaged at work happens when you are not distracted thinking about sneaking out for some exercise or to attend your child’s school event. If the team environment is such that each team member is comfortable discussing their personal needs and is supported by the team, then they are more likely to be engaged and energetic through the day. Teams can also have a group fitness challenge and share energy management ideas. Open communication on your team is key.

Nancy Vella is a tax director at Deloitte Tax LLP. She has been with the firm for over 35 years, leading the Private Wealth practice in the Detroit office. Nancy is also the National Well-Being leader for Deloitte Tax LLP. She graduated in 1979 with her BA in accounting from Michigan State University and has been an active alumna for many years. Nancy is Deloitte’s leader for all the firm activities with Michigan State University, including the firm’s recruiting and fundraising for MSU. Nancy currently serves as vice president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors for the Broad College of Business and is a director for the Belle Isle Conservancy.