From the September 2001 issue of Entrepreneur

Energy descends from the Greek "energeia," meaning "activity," which is in turn derived from another Greek word, "ergon," which means "work." So it's no coincidence that the amount of energy you have determines your ability to do work. What's the best way to get your natural energy to help you perform at your best? It doesn't take much to make a major difference. All you really need to do is change your FRAME of reference:

  • Food: Eat a balanced diet. Common sense tells you to include lots of water, fruit, vegetables, and nuts and grains.
  • Rest: The National Sleep Foundation estimates fatigue is to blame for up to 90 percent of all industrial accidents and costs businesses $18 billion a year in lost productivity. The answer? A quick 15- to 20-minute nap about eight hours after you wake up.
  • Air: Refresh the oxygen in your brain and blood several times a day. Use the 4-4-4 method: Breathe in through your nostrils for four seconds, hold for four seconds, breathe out through your mouth for four seconds. It's amazing how this simple exercise can relieve stress and add energy.
  • Mind: Increase your mental energy. Read books that improve your personal effectiveness and books by and about high-energy high achievers you admire. Learn as much as you can about your industry. There are two steps to creating enthusiasm-the first is learning, the second is achievement.
  • Exercise: Commit to exercising at least 30 minutes a day, at least three days a week. Regular exercise not only increases overall energy levels, but it also increases our feelings of health, well-being and self-esteem.

Bill Phillips, exercise guru and author of Body for Life (Harper Collins), says there are three things you can do immediately to increase your energy. First, grab a tall glass of water and drink it. If your body is even 1 percent dehydrated, your energy can dip dramatically. Drink at least eight to 10 glasses of water a day. Second, plan an intelligent morning routine. Get up, drink two glasses of water and exercise intensely for 20 minutes to get your breathing going and your heart rate up. Third, wait one hour, then eat a balanced breakfast of proteins and carbohydrates. If you follow this routine, you'll burn fat, clear your mind, and increase your energy for the day.

Contrary to what many people think, sitting around doing nothing makes you tired. The bottom line is, the more energy you expend, the more energy you expand.