Choice 5: Fuel Your Fire, Don’t Burn Out®

Exhaustion Syndrome

Our mode of life today – constant stress, poor diet, lack of exercise and sleep – leads to what scientists call exhaustion syndrome. The rest of us call it burnout. We continually push through each day, postponing the renewal time our brains and bodies need. By contrast, extraordinarily productive people consistently recharge.

To maintain your ability to carry out your great purposes and make the day-to-day decisions that get you there, you need the sustainable physical energy that comes from a well-cared-for and well-functioning body to fuel the brain with lots of oxygen and a constant flow of glucose.

Five Drivers of Mental and Physical Energy

Each of the 5 Energy drivers is powerful in its own right. If you invest time in even one of them, you will get a quick and clear benefit. However, the real power comes when you have a regular pattern of life that honors all 5 Energy Drivers.

When you have a healthy pattern of movement, eating, sleeping, relaxing, and connecting, you are strengthening yourself as a complete human being.


Invest in the Five Drivers of Mental and Physical Energy


It’s not just about exercise. Your body was meant to move. Take brain breaks periodically throughout the day. Get up from your chair at least every 90 minutes to walk around, even if it’s just to the beverage area.


Just as you don’t put dirt in your car’s gas tank, you shouldn’t put poor-quality food in your body. The idea is that when you fuel your brain with the right amount of whole, natural foods in regular intervals throughout the day, you provide your brain and body with a steady supply of glucose and other nutrients that help you function at your best.


Getting a good night’s sleep is not just enjoyable, it is vital to extraordinary productivity. One study indicated that individuals who had gone 17-19 hours without sleep performed like someone with a .05 percent blood-alcohol level. Showing up at work sleep-deprived is like showing up drunk.


Learning to turn off the stress responses in our brain and act from a more centered, relaxed state can have a tremendous impact on our performance. Recovery strategies are as unique as the individual, and sometimes the right strategy is to reduce the load of work or even take some significant time off. Recovery and relaxation might be as simple as a 15-minute break to change your surroundings.


Spending time building and maintaining meaningful relationships is actually nourishing to our brain. We may not think of relationships as a way to increase mental energy, but they are. Not only is the brain wired for movement, but it is also an inherently social organ.

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We can’t live on last month’s meal, just like we can’t draw strength from last year’s purpose. Constant energy comes from a pattern of constant renewal.

— Leigh Stevens

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The 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity


Discern the important from the urgent and not important and increase your ROM (Return on the Moment) in the midst of fierce distractions.


Redefine and prioritize your roles in terms of extraordinary results to achieve high-priority goals.


Use tips and tools to schedule your priorities (instead of prioritizing your schedule) and execute with excellence on your most important options.


Make your technology work for you, not against you, and turn it into a productivity engine.


Increase your energy to think clearly, make good decisions, and feel more accomplished at the end of every day.