Don’t look! How much battery does your phone have left? I bet you know within 15% points what kind of charge your phone has remaining.

But how about for yourself? Do you have a sense of how much juice you have left in YOUR batteries? I doubt it. 

There is a lot we can learn from our phones and how we manage their power. Consider that:

  • Sometimes the phone just shuts down even when it says it has a little bit of power still left; a moment of horror we can all relate to
  • If the phone is completely drained it won’t turn back on right away when you plug it in to charge it; almost punishing us for letting it get so diminished 
  • How we use our phones (number of apps open, volume of cellular data usage, screen brightness, amount of video watched) impacts how quickly the battery is depleted; overtaxing or abusing it drains it faster 
  • There are things you can do to make your battery last longer; conservation is possible and makes a difference 

This thought came to me on my birthday last month. I did a #medaybday that was all about rest and recharging. I started with a long morning meditation, followed with breakfast at one of my favorite West Village spots Buvette and then had an extensive facial at the spa at Equinox. I got a cup of delicious coffee and took a peaceful walk home, read some aviation blogs, and then grabbed a quick bite to eat for lunch. I headed to the flower district on 28th street to shop for plants for my apartment and then down to Tribeca for a four-handed massage and a few hours soaking in various pools at AIRE ancient baths. I wrapped up my evening by having a dinner with my dear friend Joshua at the Beatrice Inn followed by a visit to Billy’s Bakery for a piece of their famed banana cake. Sounds like quite an amazing and restful day, right? It was! But I did worry about my stupid iPhone battery at many points throughout my day of recharging MYSELF - and that’s when this whole idea came to mind.

Proof! #medaybday did happen, with bliss 

Proof! #medaybday did happen, with bliss 

If we take our obsessive ability to manage phone battery charge levels and apply it to how we manage our own energy we can better take care of ourselves. 

Conceptually, we should be able to:

  • Constantly have a keen sense of what kind of “charge” we have left in our batteries and have a plan to get recharged if we are nearing depletion 
  • Prevent and avoid instances where we burn out and shut down due to total lack of power - and avoid being “out of order” as a surprise to ourselves or others, as we get powered back up
  • Optimize our lives to make them less taxing on our energy levels by removing big leaks of energy and operating smarter 
  • Rationing out our power thoughtfully - only investing ourselves in things (and people) worthy of our time, attention, and energy

McKinsey & Company's Centered Leadership model identifies “energizing” as one of 5 core dimensions of effective leadership. Energizing is recharging, and just like skills acquisition or communication capability, must be an area of focus and development. Net net, if you are going to take on big things in life you must have an energizing strategy. I know a number of people who trade their professional accomplishment for their well being. They are extremely inconsistent as they’re either burning hot or burnt out, and seem to be in a constant state of suffering. Suffering might get you to Heaven, but it certainly won’t make you successful or happy over the long term.

So how do you take care of yourself? What are the things that you know help you settle, refresh, and recharge? 

Could it be: meditation, going to the gym, reading for pleasure, practicing your faith, taking a run, playing with your children, taking care of your pets, doing something artistic, cleaning, getting a massage, meditation, seeing your therapist, watching TED talks, doing something romantic with your partner, having coffee with your best friend, going to a support group meeting, working in your yard, etc. 

A few tips on recharging yourself:

  • Make it guaranteed -

    • Structure your day or week in a way that ensures your recharging routines happen no matter what. For many this means doing them in the morning (meditation, gym, support group meeting, writing) or putting them on their calendar and treating them as holy and immovable. 

  • Let go of your guilt -

    • Often we know exactly what would recharge us but get hung up feeling we’re not worthy of having it. Or that we have so many other people and priorities to take care of. You know what? There’s a reason that airline safety videos tell you to put on your oxygen mask before helping others. You must take care of yourself first so you have the energy to support, love, work for, and take care of others. This is not a selfish act, rather an act of generosity - to take care of yourself first. 
  • Plug others in -

    • Research shows that behavior change is more likely when done with others. If exercise recharges you, setting a weekly date to play racket ball with a friend or try joining a sports team to help build momentum to your recharging routines. Find others that relish in similar recharging routines and make plans to recharge together. 
  • Notice warning signs -

    • Our cars have what is often dubbed an “idiot light” that glows when you are nearing running out of fuel/charge. Notice when you’re getting close to empty (loss of sense of humor, others mention you don’t look well, feeling ill, negative mindset, impatient with others) and treat it with the same urgency as you would when your phone is about to “die.” Rush to recharge. 

And feel free to steal (or as we say in business "leverage") my #medaybday concept and give yourself the gift of a recharge on your next birthday. Apologize to nobody!