How can I maximise my effectiveness? That’s a common question – and with a plethora of possible answers.

There are several strategies that you can implement – immediately – in both your professional and personal life. These strategies can be used continually throughout your life. They are simple but powerful mechanisms that can unlock your potential and enhance your performance.

And such mechanisms are all about one dominant outcome: giving yourself the best opportunity to accomplish your goals and fulfil your ambition.

In this 3-part series, we’ll explore some areas where you can apply strategies to increase your personal and professional effectiveness.

In Part 3 we look the importance of establishing a sense of urgency, and how to unleash your energy.

Establish a Sense of Urgency

“You must take action now that will move you towards your goals. Develop a sense of urgency in your life.” H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Once you have established where you are going and what you want to achieve, it is crucial to set the wheels of action in motion. To literally set wheels in motion takes a force powerful enough to shift the wheels out of a state of inertia. Once wheels are no longer stationary, they can develop momentum and pick up speed as they go.

This too can be true of you and your progression toward your goals. Generally speaking, the faster you move the more energised you become. If you develop a sense of urgency around every action you take, you begin to start tasks immediately and procrastination becomes a thing of the past.

To get started, repeat the following sentence:


Unleash Your Energy

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” Zig Ziglar

Your personal energy level dictates how much you can do within a day. Maximise your energy and you can maximise your effectiveness.

Energy rarely maintains a consistent level throughout the day. Energy levels rise and fall as a function of our changing physiology. Most of us know what time during the day we usually hit our energy peak. For many it’s early morning, for others late afternoon.

Tip: Know when you are most energetic and use that time to your advantage.

When we think about our energy levels we usually refer to a combination of mental, physical and emotional energies. All of these have an impact on our overall sense of vitality and motivation

Mental, physical and emotional energies do not function independently. They interact and overlap considerably.

Have you ever noticed, for example how you can be so mentally energised by a new project, that you become more physically alert and emotionally excited? Similarly, you may notice how feeling emotionally deflated, leads to negative thinking and physical sluggishness.

If our aim therefore is maximise our energy, then it is essential that we analyse each of these energies individually
Mental Energy

“Your mind is extraordinarily powerful. Your thoughts control and determine almost everything that happens to you. They can raise or lower your heart rate, improve or interfere with digestion, change the chemical composition of your blood, and help you sleep or keep you awake at night.

Your thoughts can make you happy or sad, sometimes in an instant. They can make you alert and aware, or distracted or depressed. They can make you popular or unpopular, confident or insecure, positive or negative. Your thoughts can make you feel powerful or powerless, a victim or a victor, a hero or a coward.” (Tracy, 2004)

To heighten your mental energy, it may be helpful to consider the following key points:

Studies continually show that optimism is one of most important qualities you can develop to enhance your professional and personal success. Optimists tend to:

  • find at least one positive in every situation; 
  • learn lessons from their mistakes and setbacks; 
  • look for solutions rather than look to allocate blame.

Continually visualising the achievement of your goals reinforces your desired results and encourages forward, positive thinking.

Your thoughts can trigger images and the emotional responses that go with them. If you imagine yourself in a situation of achievement you will feel more confident and consequently behave that way. Alternatively, if you imagine mistakes and failure you may become disheartened, lose confidence and the energy required to perform at your peak.

Emotional Energy

Emotional energy can sometimes seem unpredictable, variable and consequently difficult to manage. Yet our emotional energy can be shifted by a single thought or action. By simply seeing things from a different perspective or finding a solution to a pressing dilemma, we can shift from feeling dispirited to brimming with enthusiasm.

Heighten your emotional energy by remembering these keys:

  • Ensure that your goals and commitments align with your dreams, not other people’s expectations or social pressure;
  • Set your own standards and refuse to compare yourself;
  • Create an emotionally rewarding environment. Set up your work area so that it is comfortable and conducive to work;
  • Remember to care for yourself. Find what revitalises you and write in on your Weekly ‘to do’ list and DO IT!

Physical Energy

When it comes to caring for our health, most of us are aware of what we should be doing in regard to healthy eating and exercise. We know that we should be eating more fruits and vegetables; exercising at least three times a week and getting a good night’s sleep. We acknowledge that this will have a positive impact on our health.  Yet for many this is one change that is continually put further and further down the ‘to do’ list.

However, committing to optimising your physical health, not only increases your physical energy but can also:

  • Heighten your ability to cope with stress and tension;
  • Increase your productivity;
  • Enhance feelings of self-confidence and esteem and 
  • Encourage positive thinking.

With these factors in mind, it is clear that engaging in a healthy lifestyle can create a ripple effect that positively influences many other aspects of your life.

When considering your energy levels it is important to reflect on all three energies; mental, emotional and physical. 

Stress and You

Stress can manifest in many forms. The list below outlines some ways in which stress may present as symptoms in your life. Whilst you read through this list, consider which symptoms crop up for you when you are feeling stressed.

Physical Symptoms 

  • Poor eating 
  • Poor digestion
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness 
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Broken sleep
  • Racing heart
  • Headaches

Emotional Symptoms

  • Undue anxiety 
  • Low self-esteem
  • Mood swings
  • Sudden anger
  • Feeling alone
  • Feeling guilty
  • Wanting to hide
  • Easily upset

Mental Symptoms

  • Poor decisions
  • Poor attention
  • Slowed thinking
  • Reduced scrutiny
  • Forgetfulness

Culturally, we have come to associate stress with negatives such as anxiety, high blood pressure, headaches and irritability. Yet, without some form of stress in our lives we would likely suffer from profound boredom and overwhelming apathy.

A lack of stress can lead to boredom, decreased motivation as well as a lack of interest and enthusiasm for life. These symptoms can ultimately lead to ongoing apathy, inactivity and flat moods.

On the other hand, an overload of stress can result in insomnia, irritability, increased errors and indecisiveness. Stress overload can ultimately lead to elevated blood pressure, anxiety and mood swings.

The optimal stress level will be different for all people. It is important, however to recognise when you are moving beyond your optimal level to either stress overload or stress underload.

By ensuring your mental, physical and emotional ‘tanks’ are well fuelled, you can increase the likelihood of maintaining your stress levels at ‘optimal’; thus maximising your motivation, energy and performance.

Tips for Managing Stress


  • Cultivate and appreciate simplicity in your life.
  • Focus on the positive and pleasant aspects of situations; be an optimist.
  • Find ways to keep in touch with friends and family, even when you are busy with school.
  • Find time several times a week to exercise.
  • Consider keeping a journal as a way to express yourself and get perspective on your problems.
  • Get enough sleep and eat a balanced diet
  • Keep a list of priorities.
  • Respond actively to challenges and find a solution instead of giving up.
  • Take time each day to savour a small ritual.
  • Learn to say “no” to demands on your time if you are already booked up.
  • Learn to recognize situations you can’t change.
  • Find a stress management technique you can practice regularly.


  • Procrastinate.
  • Rely on alcohol or drugs to relieve stress.
  • Drink too many caffeinated beverages, which can cause irritability and fatigue.
  • Get into the habit of rushing.
  • Ignore signs of stress overload such as chronic fatigue, headaches, etc.

Donatelle, R., Snow, C. & Wilcox, A. (1999). Wellness: Choices for health and fitness (2nd edition).