Life at DHG Blog

Energy for Life – Learning to Be “In the Moment”


Jen StevensonI have always been excited about leadership, professional development and productivity courses. Those close to me see me “geek out” in anticipation of attending such classes, which is why I was so excited to be a part of DHG’s Energy for Life program, a program offered to all DHG employees and partners. This program is based on the Corporate Athlete program from the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, and it focuses on energy management to be fully engaged in everything you do to achieve an extraordinary life – at work and in your personal life. Energy for Life can be described many ways, but “being in the moment” is what resonated with me following my experience.

After the two-day program, so intrigued by what I had learned, I continued to expand my knowledge and think about what it means to be fully engaged when I came across a tomato. A tomato you say? In my research I discovered the “Pomodoro Technique” whereby you use a kitchen timer, in this case study a tomato kitchen timer (Pomodoro means tomato in Italian), to focus your work efforts within 25-minute chunks of time. My first thought was that the ticking noise (courtesy of my kitchen timer of choice – a pig!) would absolutely drive me nuts. But, consistent with Pavlov’s Theory, the ticking has created a conditioned reflex that has trained my brain to focus. The ticking has become my friend and I can focus on the task at hand for 25 minutes, without interruptions, after which I take a 5-minute break (i.e. get up from my desk and walk away). The theory is that you have to allow for breaks for your brain to stop focusing on an issue and go “off-line.” This off-line time allows your brain to recharge and paves the way for new insights to what you may have been working on. You know when you are sleeping in the middle of the night and a great idea comes to you? Or you discover the solution to the problem you have been struggling with? That is the concept of the 5-minute break. After the break, you start the timer and do it all over again.

As a result, I am getting quality work done in a condensed amount of time. The old adage “work smarter not harder” is so true, and now I know how to do it! I was always that one who worked through lunch (ate at my desk) and worked late at night. If I reflect back on those hours at night, I wasn’t very productive. I probably stayed longer than I needed to. I think now how much of that wasted time I could have spent with my family had I worked smarter and more efficiently.

I have shared my discovery with a few colleagues and every once in a while I can spot a ticking owl, ladybug, or the occasional fruit! So, if you see my ticking pig (go with it, still not sure why I chose a pig) on my desk, please wait until the timer goes off before you approach, I am working smarter! Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Jen Stevenson is the Director of Resource Management. She oversees the firm’s efficient and effective deployment and allocation of resources, while providing opportunities for staff to grow professionally. Whether at work or at home, Jen enjoys making every day an adventure.