Too overwhelmed with work to focus, I looked through social media to feed my procrastination. I then progressed to reading various articles in hopes of finding inspiration to do my work. 

Ironically, I came across The Energy Project, a company that works with organizations, professional coaches and individuals to improve workplace morale and in turn increase productivity. It has helped many big-name companies in various fields increase their success, including Google, Apple and Coca-Cola.

I realized that The Energy Project’s suggestions for employers to improve their workplace easily applied to how college students can better take care of ourselves to become more successful in our schoolwork and everyday lives.

Between classes, assignments and extracurricular activities, sometimes it doesn’t feel like there’s enough time or energy to do it all. These constraints sometimes lead us to sacrifice creativity for completion. The Energy Project recognizes that “human beings are not computers.” We must transition between spending and renewing energy, rather than working tirelessly under pressure for extended periods of time.

The Energy Project explains that we must tend to all four of our core energy needs: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Physical health is key and is maintained through “sleep, fitness, nutrition and intermittent daytime rest and renewal.” This area is often ignored or poorly maintained among college students. 

Many Elon students only get four hours of sleep each night because they are up late studying or completing assignments. According to a comprehensive study conducted by The National Sleep Foundation, 18- to 25-year-olds need seven to nine hours of sleep per night. In addition, students often strive to eat healthy, but find it hard to eat nutritious food options on campus.

Emotional happiness is a core energy need because people’s feelings strongly affect their performances. It is important participate in activities that give way to emotions that encourage high performance and avoid negative sentiments that slow us down. College can be a high-stress time for many students, and busy schedules often put us under more pressure. Without calmness and confidence, our actions become more robotic and often deter the quality of our results.

Mental focus requires us to consciously balance “tactical and big-picture thinking.” Being knowledgeable in our subjects provides a stable foundation, which we can expand upon creatively. This affects both how we absorb information and how we produce information. As mentioned before, thinking robotically is easy, but we must be aware enough of our thinking to remember to implement an appropriate amount of advanced, unique ideas.

Finally, spiritual energy is “derived from serving something larger than oneself.” In an organization, working toward a vision and abiding by an inspiring set of values may inspire spiritual purpose. 

Our visions may be big or small, for now or the future. Maybe you are working toward enhancing yourself, as a student or even as a person, in hopes of achieving a personal goal you have set. Maybe you are striving to improve the Elon community through an organization you are involved with. Maybe you seek to improve the world. Whatever your goal is, use it as a motivator.

The Energy Project’s ideals may have been built to improve leaders of organizations or enthusiasts of innovation, but big ideas can be applied to us too. The pressures and expectations of college often encourage a stressful environment in which we forget self-care, but continued success depends on stable, confident individuals. We must remember to care for ourselves, as we are the foundation for our own futures.