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The Power of Full Engagement Summary

Here’s The Power of Full Engagement summary. Learn why managing energy is the key to high performance and life and work balance. Also learn the science-based approach to managing your energy.


The Power of Full Engagement authors Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz explains how to achieve high performance by managing your energy. They use a science-based approach to teach people on how to become fully engaged on each task at hand.

They explain that energy management (not time management) is the key to achieve high performance despite crushing workloads and continuous demands.

About the Authors

Jim Loehr is a world-renowned performance psychologist who have over 30 years of research experience. He has been featured in leading national publications such as Fortune, Newsweek, Fast Company, and Harvard Business Review.

He has worked with hundreds of world-class performers in the field of law enforcement, management, sports, medicine, and business. He is also a co-founder of the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute.

Tony Schwartz is the CEO and founder of The Energy Project. It helps companies achieve sustainable high performance by meeting the needs of the employees.

Aside from The Power of Full Engagement, he also co-authored the international bestseller The Art of the Deal with Donald Trump. You can learn more about him through his website.

Main takeaways: The Power of Full Engagement Summary

Let’s discuss the key takeaways from their book:

  1. Manage your energy, not your time.
  2. Think of sprints, not marathons.
  3. Push further past your comfort zone.

Manage your energy, not your time

It’s our default (personal and work) to manage our time. There are countless time management books out there. You might have even attended a time management seminar to help you increase your productivity.

However, energy management could be more important. We all have 24 hours a day. Even billionaires and Fortune 500 CEOs have the same number of hours as we. But what could be the difference?

The difference could be about how they manage their energy. If they’re low in energy, how they can manage their day to day duties? How they can do more if they’re not able to focus on the task at hand?

If they have low energy levels, they can’t make quality decisions. They can’t do each task effectively. The same happens to you. Your energy will dictate how much and how good you do the tasks handed to you.

If you don’t manage your energy well, you’ll experience the crash and the burnout. For example you’re working really hard for the past 2 weeks. You’re not managing your energy well.

If you continue doing that, there’s a chance you’ll experience the burnout. Worse is you’ll get sick for at least 2 weeks. You won’t be able to do any work for that time. You will need time to recover.

Think of sprints, not marathons

Notice that marathoners often look lean and tired. Contrast that with the sprinters. They appear to have so much power. You’ll see the developed muscles. They look like they have much strength and stamina in them.

Why is that? That’s because our bodies are designed for sprints. We’re designed to perform intense activities for a short time. Then we take a full recovery for a long time. We need enough time to recover. This way our bodies will be again full of energy.

After the full rest and recovery, you’ll be able to fully engage on your work tasks. Your mind and body were properly rested. Your focus will be on a different level. Your mind is also set that for a definite period, you should focus on one task at a time. You know that there’s a specific time for rest.

Instead of doing little for several hours, try to be intense in just one hour. You’ll practice focus with that. You’ll also be surprised that you would be able to get more things done in a shorter time. Then you’ll have peace of mind while resting. You get a lot done and you have plenty of time to recover.

Push further past your comfort zone

It’s the only way to grow. It’s true that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. If you try to push beyond your limits, your body will respond. It will heal and strengthen itself. But remember to take enough rest so you’ll recover.

For example when exercising. Try to lift weights beyond your comfort zone (with the personal trainer’s guidance of course). Then take enough time to recover. You’ll notice that your muscles would grow faster. Your body responded to that stress. Your body will then overprepare for your next weights.

The same is true in other areas. Push past your comfort zone. Take risks. It might be discomforting at first. But as you go on you gain the confidence. Then you’ll have more strength to tackle scarier risks.

You’ve learned that managing your energy is the key to sustaining high performance. You’ve also learned that doing intense activities then getting full recovery is the way to improve your performance. You’ll also learn the following from The Power of Full Engagement book:

  • How to manage your emotional and mental energy
  • How to adopt positive rituals to fuel your day
  • How to manage organizational energy
  • Why you should expose yourself to more stress (but followed by sufficient recovery)
  • Why you should start slowly and build incrementally, especially in fitness

My personal takeaways

We had a tendency to approach life as a series of marathons. We work from Monday to Friday for more than 8 hours each day. We do little each hour. We try to spread the activities for the whole day. This way we’ll always look busy.

However, that’s more stressful than we think. We think of that one task the whole day. We get slower and slower. Even while we’re eating our lunch or snack, all we can think about is that task.

Chronic stress is harmful. We should try to concentrate the stress in just a few hours. We should be focused and fully engaged in those few hours than spreading it all the whole day. This way we practice full engagement and we have enough time to recover. We’ll also build more capacity this way.

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