Workshop ‘Managing your Energy’

The ITI Cymru Wales, formally created in the spring (see ITI Bulletin July-August 2012), ran its second workshop ‘Managing your Energy’ on Saturday 10 November.

When this training event was announced, I initially wondered what benefits I would get from it. Hard skills, such as mastering CAT tools, are surely far more important than self-development. How short-minded I was! This workshop was in fact extremely relevant for both professional translators and interpreters who are self-employed. We are usually on our own when facing clients (including difficult ones). Most of us work from home (especially translators) and it is sometimes very hard not to get distracted by the everyday family chores. It is therefore our responsibility to renew our energy regularly, so that we do not exhaust ourselves in the long run. It was indeed a very stimulating exercise for me to write an article on this appealing subject.

The workshop was based on the research done by Tony Schwartz and his colleagues (see the website www.theengergyproject.com and the book ‘The Way We’re Working isn’t Working’). Each of us completed a survey at home and brought the results with them on Saturday. The presenter Fiona, who made us feel at ease, started with a warming up exercise. We were encouraged to introduce ourselves to the other members of the group in less than a minute. This rush and informal gathering was liberating: we felt good and more connected with one another. Our first lesson on the benefits of good energy!

According to the Energy Project, our energy level can be divided into four areas: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Physical energy is our ability to look after ourselves in terms of diet, physical exercise, sleep and rest. It helps to maintain our mental and emotional capacities. Mental energy is about how we use our brain. Working per block of 90 minutes maximum with regular breaks in between is highly recommended. Positive visualisation and organising priorities are good tactics. Emotional energy relates to our sense of well-being and how we deal with stress. When we are under pressure, we should ideally resist the temptation of making up stories about what happened; it is best to keep to the facts instead. It is also our ability to seek enjoyable experiences which bring along positive emotions. Spiritual energy is about having a meaningful purpose in life and refers to the values we are strongly connected to. Because each individual is unique, values are subjective and personal. We worked in groups to consider what could be done for improving our energy level in each of these four areas. For those who are absolutely hooked to their smart phone (after all, that’s where our work mostly comes from…), the suggestion was made to check emails once or twice a day only during holiday time.

Fiona moved on defining the energy principles. When she explained the concept of energy renewal – taking regular breaks between phases of high concentration – we shared our experiences. Some of us have a glass of water or go for a walk. Others do yoga, go to the swimming pool or treat themselves to a session of alternative therapy (I would highly recommend reflexology and aromatherapy!). Fiona then emphasised the importance of stretching ourselves: pushing our comfort zone within reason in order to learn and grow. Beware to fully recover after each effort. Fiona finally encourages us for having a good routine. Strong and positive habits are easy to follow; they do not require any will or discipline. For this to succeed, we were advised to tackle one or two changes at a time only.

We ended the workshop in a happy mood and most of us made our way to an Italian restaurant where delicious food was waiting for us. Thank you Elvana and Trini for organising this energising event and the subsequent powwow in the afternoon.

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