The Power of Full Engagement: managing energy, not time is the key to high performance and personal renewal by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

I read this book a couple of weeks ago. So now what I write maybe what the book is about, but more likely it is what I now think as a result of reading the book.

You cannot be fully engaged in a task if you don’t from time to time totally disengage, and they do mean totally disengage. In other words “take a complete break” no checking emails and mobile phones. The authors put forward arguments from sport and business to support the premise that we need to take regular breaks if we are to be the most productive, which, of course, is a paradox – you get more done if you take time off. These breaks ought to come in various sizes big and small. We work best if we take a small break every 90 to 120 minutes but we also need larger breaks like a day off and holidays.

The authors believe that this is not only true in the physical but also in the mental and emotional areas of our lives. Obviously they give examples of how we can stretch ourselves physically and take a break to recover but less obviously they also give examples of how we can stretch ourselves emotionally and mentally, then also take a break to recover.

I think the book is really aimed at middle aged people although this is not stated. When people first go to work they are motivated by money and the need to support themselves and maybe their partners, children etc. Later when they have got to the place where they are “financially comfortable” it is sometimes difficult to feel the same motivation particularly if they are still doing a similar job. So the “spiritual” part of the book is about being motivated by values, instead of money.

Here are a few quotes from the book:
We take pride in our ability to multitask, and we wear out willingness to put in long hours as a badge of honor. Pg 3

We live in a world that celebrates work and activity, ignores renewal and recovery, and fails to recognise that both are necessary for sustained high performance. Pg. 37

The busier we are, the more important we seem to ourselves and, we imagine, to others. To be unavailable to our friends and family, to be unable to find time for the sunset to whiz through our obligations without time for a mindful breath, this has become the model of a successful life. Pg. 39

Although this is not a Christian book I hope the application for Christians is apparent.