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Episode 12 — Managing Your Energy

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About this episode

The First Law of Thermodynamics states: Energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed. So how are you managing your energy? Even more than your time, you must manage your energy to successfully negotiate your career. In this episode we dive into daily tactics and lifelong strategies to make the most of your energy.

Hosted by Dr. Nick Oswald featuring Kenneth Vogt of Vera Claritas.

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This is an automated transcript and may not be 100% accurate.

Intro/Outro (00:09):
This is The Happy Scientist podcast. Each episode is designed to make you more focused, more productive, and more satisfied in the lab. You can find us online at scientist. Your hosts are Kenneth Vogt, founder of the executive coaching firm, Vera Claritas and Dr. Nick Oswald, PhD, bioscientist and founder of Bitesize Bio.

Nick Oswald (00:39):
Hello and welcome to The Happy Scientist podcast from Bitesize Bio. If you want to become a happier, healthier, and more productive scientist, you are in the right place. I’m Nick Oswald, the founder of, where we provide bioscience researchers with help for improving their technical skills, soft skills and their wellbeing. And in this podcast, we will focus on the latter of these three areas. The driving force of this podcast is Kenneth Vogt. I’ve worked with Kenneth for over seven years now. He’s been my business mentor and colleague, and I knew that his expertise could help a lot of researchers. And that’s why we started this podcast together. In these sessions, we will hear mostly from Ken on principles that will help shape you for a happier and more successful career. Along the way, I will pitch in with points from my personal experiences as a scientist, and from working with Ken. Today, we will be talking about the art of managing your energy. In episodes one to nine of this podcast, we talked about the foundational principles of human needs, core mindsets, and charisma factors, which will be referring to in all future episodes. So if you find this episode useful, please go back and listen to episodes one to nine to get an understanding of these life changing concepts. So let’s go over to Ken, how are things today, Kenneth?

Kenneth Vogt (02:05):
Doing great full of energy today? Yeah. We’re going to talk about managing energy and, and what’s good about this is a lot of you are saying I have energy. I’m full of energy. It’s like, yes, exactly. That’s why you need to learn how to manage energy. Cause you could waste a lot of energy and you can expend it for a little benefit or you can really turn it to your advantage and it can multiply the, the accomplishments in the lab, in your career. And it can, it can multiply how happy you are with the work that you’re doing and the career that you’ve chosen for yourself. So I want to start off just with a definition of what is energy. Well, you can almost go with the, the, the physics professors version of it. That energy is just the capacity to do work. That’s it?

Kenneth Vogt (03:01):
And there are some characteristics about energy that are just as true in a physics lab as they are in human experience. So, you know, energy is spent and it is recovered. Energy can’t be destroyed, but it can be transformed. So, you know, these are, these are all characteristics of, of energy and they’re all gonna sound familiar. You know, this is, this is what your experience with energy is. None of this is going to sound terribly surprising, but you may look at this and go, okay, great. I get that. There’s energy out there. And I know I have it. Or in some cases I know where I’m lacking it, but the question then will be why manage your energy? Well, the first answer to that question is managing your energy, determines how productive you are. It, it will greatly impact how others view the quality of your work.

Kenneth Vogt (03:58):
And that matters managing energy also though, is self-empowerment that even if you don’t have any authority at all in the workplace, you still have authority over you and this, managing your energy is what’s going to allow you to get the best of you out of you and get the best for you out of you. So there’s every reason to want to manage energy. And, and I will say too, that sometimes we feel like we don’t have energy. It’s really important to manage your energy when it’s precious. So we don’t want to ever lose track of this. It’s useful when you’re feeling abundant and energy. It’s useful when you’re feeling deficient in energy. Now I will say in my experience with, with Nick, Nick’s a pretty energetic guy. And he’s at an energetic time of life, you know, in, in his life cycle, he’s in an energetic time in his business life and, and what he’s done with Bitesize Bio. So I think that, Nick, I think you actually do know a lot about energy already. So I will give you, I will give you a moment to, to chime in here. If you have anything you wanted to add up until now,

Nick Oswald (05:18):
I don’t feel very energetic today. Funnily enough, I don’t know why, but yeah, I think this is really good because it’s another, this concept of managing your energy. I think you mentioned the book that the bit that you mention later, the subtitle of the book is ‘Managing Your Energy, Not Your Time’. And I think that’s a really important distinction because most people manage their time or that’s the way most people view how, you know, how hard it is to be working, how hard you work is what time you put in, but actually this is a, this is kind of like a horizontal lever. It’s how do you manage things so that you can put the most intensity into what you do? And then basically you’re getting the more, the more productivity per unit time, if you do that. So if you focus on managing your on setting yourself up so that you are, you’re not coming into work spent and you know, and you know, dragging yourself along, you try to just do enough to keep going and fill in the time. The opposite of that, is getting yourself primed so that you arrive at work ready to go, enthusiastic, energetic, and then you unleash yourself and you can do in an hour, what you would take, take you four hours normally.

Kenneth Vogt (06:36):
Sure. So we know we have energy. We know we need to manage it. So the question is, what about energy needs to be managed? Is energy actually shows up in multiple realms in our experience. And some of them, you may, it may be immediately obvious to you and others. You may think, I don’t know. I hadn’t thought of that. And others, you may go wait a minute, is that really? So, so let me make a case for each of these. First off, you have to manage your physical energy. And I think we all understand that it’s like, you know, if you’re rung out, if you haven’t gotten enough sleep or, you know, your nutrition, hasn’t been good. And so your body’s not in great shape, you’re not going to do well. You’re not gonna be able to think clearly you’re not going to be able to do the physical things that are necessary to do for your job. And I realized a lot of us are behind a desk or type, you know, keyboard warriors, but it’s, it’s amazing how being physically strong makes it easier to do even stuff like that. But some of us, you know, some of you in the lab actually are doing some physical work too, and it matters that you’re physically capable to do it. And so managing your physical energy, being prepared for that is, is a really good thing.

Nick Oswald (07:50):
As someone who’s moved out of the lab, I can definitely say that working in the lab is a fairly physical job, even if it doesn’t look like – I’ve judged by the waistline after leaving, extra exercise after leaving,

Kenneth Vogt (08:03):
Oh man, well, there you go. And, and it’s funny how, if you’re in physically better shape, everything is easier. And I found that out by accident when I, when I was in earnest lifting weights and I was getting physically stronger. And then I realized little things were just easier. It was easier to get in and out of a chair. It was easier to take in a bag of groceries. You know? So the same thing is true in, in what’s going on in the lab. If you’re physically fit, if you’re in good shape there, if you manage your physical energy, then you will find that you can get more done and be clear. So that’s one realm of energy. Another realm of energy is your emotional energy. And this is one where you may not automatically think of and say, well, you know, this is work.

Kenneth Vogt (08:52):
I shouldn’t have to worry about emotions, but the fact we are still dealing with other human beings. We have, you know, we have peers and we have bosses and we have subordinates. And some of you are dealing with students and, you know, emotions are a part of the game. And if you, if you’re not managing your emotional energy, it can get the better of you when you’re fully capable of a task. And yet you are emotionally not fit for the moment, you’re going to have a hard time doing it. So managing that energy is critical too, and a lot of that just comes down to awareness, being aware that I’m in a bad mood or I’m sad, or, you know, or I’m whatever, you know, something’s happened to me or I’m, I’m too excited. I’m too distracted now by something else. You know, I so you, you gotta, you gotta take note of those emotional states and manage that energy too.

Kenneth Vogt (09:51):
Now the next realm. And this is one I think you’ll all agree with automatically, is mental energy. There are times when, you know, you are at your peak, I’m like, I’m in the zone right now. I can do this. And there are other times when you know, you’re not, well, you know, you’re mentally foggy and it might be just an individual circumstance or it might be, you know what? This is what happens to me every 2.30 in the afternoon, 2.30 in the afternoon, I start to power down. So you need to manage that energy and be aware of it and know that, Hey, this is not prime time for me or you, but you may find that first thing in the morning. And that’s when I get stuff done or you might find you’re you’re a late night person and you don’t want to.

Kenneth Vogt (10:31):
I hate when things quiet down around here, that’s when I really get productive. Well, you know, recognizing how your mental energy comes into that matters. And then the fourth one, the one you might give me the most pushback about, and I’m going to use a, I’m gonna use a, a charged word, but then I want to define it for you is that you need to manage your spiritual energy. You’re like, spiritual energy in the lab. What is he talking about? Well, here’s what I’m talking about. You need to have a purpose to your life and a purpose to your career. You need to have a mission. That’s what I’m talking about. It’s the thing that drives you. That the broader thing, see, this is a thing doesn’t have to do with your body. It doesn’t have to do with your emotions. It doesn’t have to do with your mind.

Kenneth Vogt (11:13):
This has to do with something bigger than all of them. And you have that. There is something about you that is bigger than all of these components and there’s energy there. And if you don’t have any kind of mission, if you’re just like, Hey, I just, I’m just here for the paycheck or, or I just kind of backed into this, you know, it’s like, I don’t exactly know why I have this job. It was the first job where they said, yes, I can work here. You know, you know you, you, you got to apply something here. You got to find a spiritual way, a, a, a purposeful way to approach your world too. I hear shuffling back there Nick. So did you want to jump in there?

Nick Oswald (11:54):
I was thinking about that. That can be quite a tough thing. I mean, as a scientist, that you generally go into science for a reason, not everyone. I mean, I think some people kind of step into it, you know, kind of fall into it a bit most people go in because they think, cause they want to make a difference. And so that’s fine. But if you, if you move through, as you move through your career, you find yourself in a, in something that’s not so obviously making a difference. Or not so obviously advancing scientific research then, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a more, it’s going to be a more personal reason, a personal mission, isn’t it? That, you’re just basically the mission to do the best, to make the best contribution you can, whatever that is,

Kenneth Vogt (12:47):
Right. I mean, yeah, you may have the mission. I want to be the one who cures cancer. Okay, great. Or it may be that your mission is, is a little more distributed than that. You may say, I want to help people and I’m willing to help people anyway, I can. And, and I’m willing to be open to find out what way people need help. And it’s like, Nick was saying here a second ago, you might think, well, the task I’m working on, isn’t all that critical. Yes. But is it a component of something that’s bigger than, than you? And that might be enough to drive you, to energize you so you can draw, you can draw juice from that. It’s amazing how having a mission, having a purpose can get you through hard times and get you through difficult work or, or low energy in other realms.

Kenneth Vogt (13:38):
Cause that’s the other thing, your energies don’t always line up. You might be physically fine and mentally exhausted. You might be emotionally strained, but spiritually empowered. You know, there’s these things are going to mix and match. And so it’s, it’s about having awareness about it. That I guess is what we’re really saying right now. So to flip it to the, to the dark side of that, what happens when you don’t manage your energy? Well, there’s some stuff that happens and it’s interesting how much of it can affect you in not just in how you think, but in how, actually physically affect you, toxins and stress hormones actually build up in your body if you don’t manage your energy, your body systems can actually start to break down and burn out. You know, we’re talking about things that you need to keep your body alive.

Kenneth Vogt (14:35):
Your attention span can get just crushed. Your mental acuity can just be worn down to where it’s, it’s nowhere near effective enough. And of course, of course your mood can completely deteriorate. And all of these things really impact your work. You know, if you come into work and your body is not functioning properly, you’re gonna have a hard time. If you know that you can’t think straight, if you know that you’re just in a mood that is going to just make everybody run when they see you that, how is that going to help, or if you’re going to be so depressed that you can’t function, you know? So there’s there are big reasons why you don’t want to leave your energy unmanaged.

Nick Oswald (15:21):
I think my favorite analogy for this sort of thing, and the thing that really hammered it home to me, was the idea of a, of an athlete, like a sprinter or whatever, especially a sprinter, which is the extreme version. But even a marathon runner, it’s the same concept. If you try, if they, if they try to physically stress their body all of the time or to the maximum extent possible, it could all the time, even then, then they would quickly get injured. And especially like a sprinter is the, is the the ultimate incarnation there because they, their performance is 10 seconds long, 100m sprint or less, if they’re a good sprinter, but they have to, they have to manage their energy so that literally they can perform in a burst and that they are primed for that. That’s the extreme case. But if you come back to yourself as a scientist, you’re your job.

Nick Oswald (16:23):
When you arrive at a lab is not to, is not to exert yourself to the max for the whole day. You’re going to, there’s going to be, it’s going to be bursts of required activity, physical or mental or, or whatever it’s going to be, but you have to and you, your job is to, like the sprinter, to make sure that when you’re on the start line of all, any of those those bursts of energy that you have, the you’re you’re primed so the maximum amount of energy can go into it. Cause then you will get the most out, compare that to someone who is like, you know, an overtrained athlete where you’re just always burned out and you just don’t feel like you have anything to put in, then, then you can see why it’s important to manage all of those energy realms and to make sure that you’re ready to go when it’s time for you to go.

Kenneth Vogt (17:14):
Right? So, so we’ve, we’ve identified these realms. So we’re going to give you some ideas of things that you can do, things that you can actually apply them to, to get this done. Cause you know, you have to look at your own life and say, am I, am I a sprinter? Am I a distance runner? Am I a marathoner? You’re going to have to decide, you know what it is, and you’ll develop your own training technique as it were for the kind of, kind of thing that you’re doing. So if you think about it, you probably already understand how to build physical capacity. You know how to make yourself stronger. You know, you go to the gym, you know, you get on the elliptical machine and the StairMaster and you know, you lift weights, you know, we know how to do that. Well, do that.

Kenneth Vogt (18:03):
I know you’re looking at it and thinking, Hey yeah, I don’t I’m I I’m, I’m not a lumberjack for a living. I don’t know if I need to be so physically fit. Yeah, you actually do, you actually do you’re having your body tuned up will make a big difference for the, for the mental work that you’re doing. And, and it will help you be on a more even keel emotionally. And it will be a support to your, to your, your purpose in your life and in your career. So do that. Yeah. Be, be concerned about your body. But if you think about that and you already know, I know how this works, you go to the gym, you have a routine, you do it periodically. You do it in sets. You’ll work hard, you work it to exhaustion and then rest all that same stuff. You can apply the exact same thing to your emotional, your emotional body, your mental body, your spiritual body.

Kenneth Vogt (19:00):
You can do the same things. And it, you don’t have to think about it too hard before you start to realize, you know, what do I need to do? Like the gym for my mind? Well, you know, I need to read, I need to stay up on you know, current events in my field. I need to talk to other, other people in, in my field who are, are also experts and stay in touch with what’s going on there. And keep exercising my mind, I need to stay curious. I need to, I need to keep looking for opportunities to, to put my mind to use and not be looking for ways to get out of using your mind. Cause we’ve all done that we feel like, you know, it’s, it’s easier to just sit on the couch than to go to the gym, but you know, you get up and you go or to go running, you know, you, yeah, you don’t just sit there and watch TV.

Kenneth Vogt (19:53):
You make the effort and you do it. Well, the same thing is true with your mind, you know, make an effort, make an effort to energize your mind, to make your mind stronger. The same thing happens emotionally. If you find yourself, if you’re constantly finding it yourself, moving into negative emotions. When I say negative emotions, I mean, emotions that are getting outcomes that you don’t like, that you don’t want. You know, I’m not telling anybody that they’re wrong to feel the way they feel, but if you’re finding it, doesn’t serve you to feel the way you feel. You need to do something about that. And you know, whether that is to go so far as to get counseling or, or, you know, see a psychologist, you know, at the far end, but you know, on the, on the closer end, sometimes it’s a matter of like, you know, I’m snapping at my wife, man.

Kenneth Vogt (20:44):
I need, first off, I need to go apologize. I need to, I need to clear that. And I need to, to then say, okay, why am I being like this? Why am I, why am I feeling this way? Maybe I just need a moment. Maybe I just need a hug, you know, but you know, maybe I need to go play with the kids for a minute, you know, and, and just not think about some other things. So, you know, you, so pay attention to your your emotional states and your emotional energy and, and do the same things. So what are positive things that I can do? You know, laugh. Laughing is really, laughing, is great therapy. It is. It’s just a wonderful thing. If you can laugh with people, you’ll connect to them more and, and you’ll feel better about yourself. You know, laugh with the people you work with, laugh with your family, laugh with your friends, read things and watch things that make you laugh.

Kenneth Vogt (21:40):
You know, I really, sometimes we’re thinking, man, I have so much reading to do with the last thing I want to do is read for pleasure. For crying out loud, read for pleasure. It’s, it’s a different emotional experience. And sometimes you want to, you know, dig into that, just really meaty novel. And other times it’s like, I just need some light, light reading deal. I’ve got, I just want to read a short story and I’m done in 20 minutes and no, I don’t know. I don’t have to dig into this. Not saying you gotta be reading War and Peace all the time, you know, but, but round yourself out. So that again, that will strengthen you emotionally. And then when it comes to this, this idea of your spiritual energy, if you’re not clear on what your purpose is in life, take the time to figure that out.

Kenneth Vogt (22:29):
Do some, do some self-inventory think about what is it I really want to accomplish? What do I want to do with my life and my career? What do I want to leave behind? Yeah. After I’m done, what impacts do I want to make? What people do I want to help? What, how do I want to change the world? And I know sometimes we look at that and go, I’ll change the world of how arrogant is that. I mean, come on, change the world. Really? Yes, you are changing the world right now. You know, you’re, you’re leaving a carbon footprint and you’re, and you’re consuming things and you’re creating things. And so, you know, don’t kid yourself, you are already impacting the world. Just be a little more mindful about it and have it be more chosen, not just something that happens by accident. So, you know, yeah.

Kenneth Vogt (23:20):
That’s the, that’s the idea behind this, of building your own capacity in each of these realms of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual energy. Another thing you can do that will help you with that is to develop habits and rituals that solve specific problems. So if you find yourself being drained of energy, somewhere, figure out is a way around that is what, what is draining my energy here and what can I do about that? Pardon me. What can I do to, to, to bolster myself in, in that arena? So, you know, something, something that I learned, I sit in a chair a lot, just the nature of my job and my back was starting to bother me. And I realized I needed a better chair, silly thing. And at the beginning I was like, come on, I’ve been doing this from my life. You know, I’m, I’m 58 years old now, but I have, this has not bothered me most of my life.

Kenneth Vogt (24:19):
But the last couple of years, I, I realized, no, I got to have, I’m going to have to have a better chair to keep doing what I’m doing. So, you know, I take that step. I don’t look at this and go, I never needed this before. I shouldn’t have to now, like, well, things change. And so, so you go with it and you do something about it. So look for, look for solutions to that. You know, if you pay attention to where your energy is low, you’re going to, you’re just taking note of it often then it’ll become obvious. Well, I know what I should do here. You know, I should stop skipping lunch. You know, I, this happens every time I skip lunch that, you know, I, I hit, I hit the wall, you know? Okay, well now, you know, so now, you know, okay, I need a new habit that I stopped and I have lunch. So start looking for those things. And, you know, I can give you a laundry list of stuff here that steps you can take. And I’m going to, I’m going to give you some things, some ideas, but at the end of the day, you’re going to have to figure this out for yourself. You’re going to have to engage with your own life. And I, and I will tell you, if you get in the habit of doing this, you’re going to find it’s actually not very hard. Stuff becomes obvious.

Nick Oswald (25:32):
I mean, it’s funny for me. I have one, one sort of chain of events that really helps me and that is get up early. Have a bit of quiet time, do some exercise. And if I do that, invariably, I have a really energetic day and, or at least I start off with a lot of energy. And, but what always scuppers it, is going to bed too late at night because I don’t plan the evening. So that’s a, that’s one that took me awhile. What kinds of, why does this always happen? It’s not, nothing to do with the morning. It’s everything to do with evening. So that’s where it’s great.

Kenneth Vogt (26:10):
Yeah. I have noticed about myself that if I will forgo a half hour sleep instead to get up and get some exercise at five o’clock in the afternoon, I’m still energized. Even though I lost a half hour sleep because I exercised and, and I’ve, I’ve tested this out over and over again because I so wanted it to not be true. I wanted that sleep. I wanted to find out. No, no, it’s absolutely essential that I sleep. You know, it’s like, no was actually more essential that I got a little exercise.

Nick Oswald (26:46):
That’s a good point. You make there though Ken about testing that, because again, one of the things, one of the premises behind this podcast, and we talk about, especially during those first one to nine episodes that we made about the foundational principles was that this is about giving you tools that you, as a scientist can experiment, use to experiment on yourself, to try to make to make a better life for yourself, you know, from wherever it is now to make it a hundred percent better again. And so, yeah, this is just one of these and another way to look at things and try some stuff. Write it down on a notepad if you want, in a lab note about yourself, but this is just things to play with.

Kenneth Vogt (27:28):
Yeah. And everybody’s going to have a different mix. Yeah. So some of us need more sleep than others. Some of us have to be far more careful about our diet than others. Some of us need to be in less stressful circumstances than others. Some of us need more quiet than others. Some of us need more activity than others. So, you know, find out what works for you and, and understand. I mean, there’s some limits on this. Obviously we we’re all human. And as humans, we have a certain range of things that we need, but where you land in the range is really up to you. And no one can tell you that. I can’t tell you that. Nick, can’t tell you that you have to find out for yourself and find out what really works for you. Now I’ve found there are some foods I can not eat.

Kenneth Vogt (28:18):
And if I eat them, I pay a huge price and, as far as energy goes, I mean, it just, just sucks the physical energy out of me, which ultimately sucks the mental energy out of me and then causes some mental strain. I mean some emotional strain and it’s still, it’s really bad and it doesn’t matter what it is I can’t eat. I won’t tell you, Hey, you shouldn’t eat this. It’s terrible. It’s like, it’s terrible for me. But on the other hand, I eat some stuff that you might not want to eat. And I like it, you know? And it works for me. So I can do that. But you know, you need to find that out for yourself too. That one thing we know for sure that nobody does well, just living on junk food and you know, and fast food, you gotta get some actual nutrition in there. So you don’t make it, make an effort. Your mother was right, eat your vegetables.

Kenneth Vogt (29:08):
Another thing to think about is breathe. Now, this sounds crazy. But so many people are actually developing fiscal problems because they aren’t breathing. They’re holding their breath all the time. And if you find yourself doing that, when you’re under strain that, Hey, I’m holding my breath, take, take note of that, take a deep breath, you know, and, and breathe and wether, and you know, of course, there’s other ways to make sure you take deep breaths, like going running or cycling or something like that. You know, there’s, engage, engage breath, it’s a fundamental part of your body, it affects the whole apparatus and it affects you physically. It affects you mentally. It affects you emotionally. It’ll affect you spiritually. Drink enough water. I know everybody said that and you know, within reason and, and try to make it clean, you know, but hydrate get, get proper liquid into you.

Kenneth Vogt (30:02):
And we all know there are some improper liquids, at least in large quantities. So, you know, know yourself, know what you can and can’t do and know where your limits are and pay attention to that. You know, I’ve already mentioned, get some exercise and do it for a purpose to get yourself strong and get yourself flexible. You know that you don’t just go to the don’t, just go to the gym so you can check the box, go to the gym so that you can actually get some value out of it. So it’s, I’ve noticed that there’s some people at the gym I’ve watched them and I go in there and they’re just sitting there. They’re just sitting at a weight machine and they’re not doing anything. I’m like, why are you here? You know that they’re telling themselves they’re going to the gym, but they’re not actually getting any benefit from it.

Kenneth Vogt (30:48):
So make sure you get some benefit. Another one sleep. Now this is a phrase I want you to hear sleep well. I’m not telling you how much sleep to get, because honestly that differs from person to person. I know for certain, Nick gets less sleep than me, but I believe he gets enough sleep. I will say though, that when I sleep, man, I sleep and I know some people is like, Oh man, I wish I could sleep. I, I wish I could turn off the, the, the, the chatter in my head and the worry and the anxiety and, you know, stop waking up in the middle of the night. And well, you know, there are some things you can do about that. So pretty simple things, you know, you, you can go to a doctor for that but are, or you can just go to the, you can go to go to the supplement store and get things for that.

Kenneth Vogt (31:39):
You can meditate, you can do some things to wind down at the end of the day. You know, if you’re, if you just finished watching that slasher movie, and, and now you’re going to go straight to bed, you’re not going to sleep, you know, so you gotta wind down and you gotta get rid of the, get away from the screens at the end of the day and give yourself a chance to actually get some sleep. And it really matters that you sleep well you’re you’ll start to get psychotic without enough sleep. So, you know, it’s not just physical. It, it goes way beyond that. Something that Nick mentioned earlier, try to get into bed earlier and to get up earlier. And I say, try, because I realized that there are some factors that impact us there, but, but if, if it becomes your, your goal to try and be in bed earlier and to try and get up late, get up earlier, you’re going to find you’re a lot more productive and to have a lot more energy and across all realms and it’s.

Kenneth Vogt (32:39):
And again, we all know the old adage from Ben Franklin early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. It’s just, it’s a truism that has shown itself to be the case. And I realized there was some culture, business cultures of, of working late and burning the midnight oil and, and and some people honestly believe they’re night people. I have to tell you, I question that. I question that that’s, that’s true because you can look at study after study about this. And most people don’t do well with that. They’ve talked themselves into it. They think they’re night people because they’re having trouble getting up in the morning. But the problem is, is they’re not going to bed early enough and they’re not eating well, and they’re not getting any exercise and they’re living a stressed out life. So they’re just totally screwing up their whole energy scheme.

Kenneth Vogt (33:38):
And, and they’ve excused it by saying, well, I’m just a night person. Like, no, you’re not a night person. You’re, you’re, you’re a, a person in distress. So, you know, you might want to reassess what you’re doing there. One of the things you can do is to make it a point to release your emotions. And when I say release, that doesn’t mean that whenever you get upset then you get to yell at everybody, or, you know, you get to, you get to hit people that make you mad. You know, it’s not like that, but if you just keep stuffing stuff back down inside emotionally, it takes tremendous energy to do that. And that starts to spill up over the other energy realms. And it’s going to take a toll on your body. It’s going to take toll on your mind. And you know, you’re not going to accomplish your, your objectives in life, your, your mission in life.

Kenneth Vogt (34:31):
If you’re constantly having a fight with emotions and there’s nothing, there’s nothing wrong with feeling sad sometimes. I mean, we’ve been living in this culture. That’s telling us we’re supposed to be happy all the time. No sadness is an appropriate reaction to certain circumstances. What’s inappropriate is that we don’t let it go. So it’s, you know, whether we’re sad or depressed or angry or frustrated or any number of other negative emotions, there’s times when that is absolutely appropriate. And if you repress those things, it’s funny that they, then they start to show up in numbers. So be able to be those things and learn how to be those things. This is, this is a matter of just emotional maturity. We learn how to function as an adult. And how do, like, how do you get mad without throwing a two, two year old temper tantrum?

Kenneth Vogt (35:26):
Well, you can, you can, you can be angry about a situation and manage it without, yeah, just stuffing the anger down. You know, that’s not, you don’t have to do that. So you, you realize these emotions are tied to your energy. So, so watch them pay attention to them, actually engage with them. And you will have a different experience with that. And you’ll have more, more energy as a result. So I’m going to give you some habits to consider developing. And these things will really impact how well you can manage your energy and they will impact how much energy you have to manage. So there’s, there’s a lot of pluses here,

Nick Oswald (36:10):
Now, before you dive into that, what you’ll hear when Ken reads all of these out, is that notice that these are all about kind of slowing down. And so that’s an interesting link to what we talked about in the last episode.

Kenneth Vogt (36:26):
Sure, sure. It’s and it’s also about being more engaged. It’s being more present than in, you know, you’ve probably heard a lot of talk about the idea of being present. It’s quite simply, it’s just being aware in the moment it’s this isn’t anything magical and mystical. This moment is all you’ve got yeah. The past already happened. That’s unchangeable. The future has not yet happened. So there’s nothing you can do about that. But now what’s happening right now is your moment. This is the moment when you can do something. So here’s some things you can do right now in the moment. The first one I would suggest to you is to listen to actually listen, listen, when people talk and stop the constant judgment of them as they’re talking, if you start off with, Oh, here’s this idiot again, you know, or my boss never understands, or my, my spouse never listens.

Kenneth Vogt (37:26):
It’s funny how we will stop listening with our excuse being that they don’t listen. Listening affords us an opportunity to get more information. It affords us an opportunity to make more connection with people. We will find it is then easier to do certain other things that I’m about to recommend. One is to have more empathy. And that is to care more about what, how other people are experiencing things. Cause sometimes you look at it well, and we’re arguing about it in our heads that they shouldn’t see it that way. It doesn’t matter how they should see it, how they’re seeing is how they see it. And will we bother to care about how they’re experiencing things and, and whether that’s somebody you’re working with or somebody at home whether it’s your boss or a student, whatever’s happening there. If you can, if you can actually empathize with that person and empathize, meaning if you can experience their feeling, as they’re feeling it without judgment, it can do an immense amount to improve your energy flow.

Kenneth Vogt (38:31):
Another thing is to just be patient with people, to just, you know, sometimes they need time. Sometimes, sometimes they’re not as smart as you, and you gotta be okay with that. And I think then, Nick, this is something that really matters to this particular crowd. A lot of, a lot of these folks, you know, if you’ve gotten to the point of getting a PhD in a, in a scientific area, obviously you’re a smart person and maybe you have forgotten that you’re not normal. You’re not average. Most people aren’t as smart as you. Most people aren’t as educated as you. And as a result, you can forget that they don’t have some things that you automatically have, that you have some capacity they don’t have. And you’ve got to be more patient with them. You got to give them a chance to catch up and you gotta give them a chance to, to, to dig in.

Kenneth Vogt (39:25):
Cause they, they may not have the, the reservoir, the reserve that you have. So, so be patient. Associated with that is be flexible. You know what? Go with the flow, go and, and, and roll with the punches. When you realize somebody can’t keep up with you. Well, okay, then, then change that up. You know, and again, this is an energy situation too. You can find yourself spending a lot of energy, trying to drag other people across the finish line, as it were, or it’s like no slow down and get into, get into the pace that others are around you. Cause again, managing your energy can be when your energy energy is out of, out of phase with those around you, it can cause problems. And you may think, well that’s because they’re all goofing off and going slow and being lazy. And did maybe, maybe not, maybe you’re just being a little hyperactive right now.

Kenneth Vogt (40:22):
Maybe you can slow down. And even if that’s the case, even if you know what they are operating optimally and you are, getting in sync with them still maybe beneficial, it’s still maybe helpful. And then once you’re in sync with them, perhaps you can move them up a little higher and a little more energetic state themselves. Another thing you can do is focus. Focus is to me is such an obvious thing. And yet it’s something that we, we ignore all the time that we lose track of. We, we, we try and look at 12 things at once and just man, pick something out, put your energy on that thing. Instead of dissipating energy, across a bunch of different things. Here’s an interesting phrase. I would like to recommend realistic optimism. What I mean by that is see things as they are, but, but look in a positive direction.

Kenneth Vogt (41:18):
So I like to use the example of vectors, the mathematical term, you know, a vector is pointing in a certain direction. You aren’t even necessarily going anywhere yet, but it’s a vector. It’s the, and that’s what I mean by realistic optimism. Optimism would just be seeing the point you’re at. I’m sorry. Realism, just be seeing the point you’re at, but optimism would be seeing the direction you’re going. So you know, wherever you are. Take note of the direction you’re looking. And are you looking in a positive direction? Are you looking in a negative direction? Well, see where things are. If things are bad, recognize they’re bad, but then try and bring some positive energy to it, to get them to move away from bad. And again, when things are bad, you get de-energized. So, you know, when you feel stressed and when you feel like things are going wrong that can suck a lot of energy out of you.

Kenneth Vogt (42:15):
So this, this habit will really help you get past that. Another one, stop overthinking things. And I know in this crowd, there’s a lot of overthinking going on. Some things only need to be considered once, once you’ve drawn your conclusion, it’s done. And especially if you find there’s an emotional energy attached to it. Cause if you realize something and you see it and you are, you know, you don’t have a happy, emotional response to it. You can tend to just revisit it in your head over and over and over again. And every one of those cycles is taking energy and, and it’s taking energy to no purpose. It’s not helping you. So, you know, stop beating things to death with your brain. It doesn’t have to happen. Another thing you can do is sometimes you just need a creative outlet. If you could have a creative outlet at work, if you have something you can bring into your, into your, you know, your working life that allows you to have that creativity – fabulous.

Kenneth Vogt (43:14):
If that’s not possible, have some kind of creative outlet outside of this, we’ve already talked about this before, but you know, Nick is a rock star on the side. There’s a creative outlet he’s got going on there. You know, as if there wasn’t enough creativity already at Bitesize Bio but apparently he needed more. So, you know find yourself a way to keep that going, that creativity again, really feed that, that spiritual, that purposeful part of you, that realm will be energized by creativity. And actually mentally you’re energized by creativity too. So, you know, don’t, don’t sell it short.

Kenneth Vogt (43:54):
True enough. Now I’m just, I’m just slightly jealous. You know, I, I had my own little project going on in that realm. So perhaps we’ll hear about that in future. Another thing you can do another, just a good habit is preparation, prepare for things. It takes a lot less energy to do something you’re prepared for then to just jump in there and wing it. And sometimes we’re bringing it cause we’re lazy about it. We’re thinking, yeah, yeah, I can handle it. Maybe you can, maybe you have enough excess energy that you can handle it, but it’s still energy that you have used that you’ve used wastefully. And if sometimes you think I have energy to burn, you do not. You have, if you have energy to burn, it could be put to further purposeful use. It’s so much better for you if you do.

Kenneth Vogt (44:46):
So, you know, prepare for things and, and, and you’ll find that you’ll use less energy. And finally, I will suggest to you visualization. That is picture how things will be picture. See, see the task in front of you accomplished, see the outcome completed. And, and I will, I will add this proviso, cause this is something that matters a lot to Nick. I’m not saying that you should see a certain outcome from your scientific endeavors because as we know science should be about discovery, not about driving toward a particular end point. But if you can see, see discovery as your outcome, you can visualize that that’s perfectly, perfectly fine. And you know, this builds energy in all kinds of areas for you. It, because there’s a bunch of little things that get that get resolved in that visualization. If you have to deal with those in the moment later, it just gets harder and harder because it’s like, man, everything is unclear at all times.

Kenneth Vogt (45:52):
Whereas if you’ve visualized it upfront, you actually have, you’ve already got a picture painted and now you’re just coloring it in and it becomes clear and yeah, and sometimes it, that picture changes obviously, but if you had nothing to start with, it you’ll find, it takes a lot more energy to keep trudging forward. So, so like I said, a laundry list of, of things you can do, habits, you can develop progressive steps you can take to manage your energy and pay attention to that and cut yourself some slack when your energy is low and recognize that it’s okay for energy to ebb as well as flow. That’s normal, it’s natural, it’s human. And you get to, you get to be human. You know, there’s nothing, nothing about this, where you have to become a machine, an automaton, a robot, you know, I mean I grant you that science can be very structured and, and mathematical, but it isn’t without creativity and it isn’t without the human touch. In fact, it’s humans that make science the interesting thing that it is. So anything you’d like to add there, Nick?

Nick Oswald (47:05):
No, I think that just, you know, well, yes, I think that that list of habits, I think we should provide that list of habits in the show notes and, and perhaps the, the steps as well. They’re all things you’ve heard before probably, but they’re one of those, if you apply them in the context of what we’ve been talking about in last few episodes managing your energy and slowing down, I think that it’s one of those lists that you read and you’re not the same person afterwards. And I think that, again, it’s one of those things where if you, if you look through these lists of habits and, and steps that you can do to slow down and manage your energy better, then there are, there are some easy things that you can pick up and it will be different for every person who reads it. So yeah, I think that’s it. That’s a really important list of things to paste on top of those two concepts of slowing down and managing your energy.

Kenneth Vogt (48:06):
Right. And if this, this concept of managing your energy rather than your time really rings your chime, we can recommend a book called The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz. It’s an excellent read. It will really change your outlook on what you should be managing in, in your day to day working life. Cause all of us have been told that time management is the thing, but they’ve said they’ve turned it on its ear. And it’s really an interesting book

Nick Oswald (48:33):
And I’m pretty, if my memory, I’ve not read that for quite a while, but if my memory serves correctly, that’s quite a data driven book, or at least,

Kenneth Vogt (48:41):
Oh yes.

Nick Oswald (48:42):
Underpinning that idea with data from corporate, corporates that they’ve worked with

Kenneth Vogt (48:50):
And athletes. So yeah, so they, that’s another thing I like about this book. I love the, the, the cross industry applications is that there’s so much we can learn by looking at structures that are completely different than us. You know, when, when all you do is live in your own little ivory tower and you think, you know, everything, there’s a, there are best practices out there that have been learned in in other places that are just so useful.

Nick Oswald (49:19):
Yeah. And in a way, this is what we trying to do is bring some of this into science because science is a as a, as an interesting place, especially academia because it’s not, you know, the way that people are appointed and set up and stuff like that. So it’s different from corporate, which doesn’t mean, it means that it’s better in some ways, it means it’s worse in some ways, in some ways it suffers from the same things as, as corporate structures do. And so we’re just trying to bring some of these sort of breaths of new idea and ideas in here to hopefully change things for the better or, or give you the tools to change things for the better for yourself and the people around you.

Kenneth Vogt (49:59):
Well, there we go. So Nick, where should they go and look for some more information that can help them with this.

Nick Oswald (50:05):
That was a nice segway Ken.

Kenneth Vogt (50:06):

Nick Oswald (50:09):
So if you want to see the show notes for for today’s episode which will include those two lists of progressive steps to take and habits develop to manage your energy and to help you slow down. And it also include a link to The Power of Full Engagement, the book that Ken just mentioned, you can go to and find this episode, which is number 12 and it’ll in there. If you’ve enjoyed this and you haven’t done so already, please do two things. Go back and listen to episodes one to nine, in which we go over the fundamental concepts that are behind all of this the stuff that Ken is talking about, and those are the principles of human needs, core mindsets and charisma factors. And that’s packed with stuff that will really help you. If you think this, if you’re finding this useful, it gives you a lot of structure that you can use to experiment with. And finally, if you want to look at this in all sorts of different directions and discuss, and you know, you’ll and have, look at the other things that you have to offer, please go to our Facebook page, which is, all one word, and see what is in there. So again, thanks for another great injection of ideas and just inspiration Ken another great episode.

Kenneth Vogt (51:40):
And it was great to talk to you about it.

Nick Oswald (51:43):
Okay, thanks. So we’ll see you all next time.

Kenneth Vogt (51:45):
All right, bye!

Intro/Outro (51:53):
The Happy Scientist is brought to you by Bitesize Bio, your mentor in the lab. Bitesize Bio features, thousands of articles and webinars contributed by hundreds of PhD scientists and scientific companies who freely offer their hard, won wisdom and solutions to the Bitesize Bio community.

Hosted by Dr. Nick Oswald featuring Kenneth Vogt of Vera Claritas.

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