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The Human Energy Crisis: 9 Women’s Secrets to Balancing Work, Life, Family and Fitness

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At this very moment, you could be facing a pervasive, invasive problem that is preventing you from being your personal and professional best. It’s a problem that many women – from business professionals to new moms – share.

The Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute (HPI) calls it the Human Energy Crisis. It’s a result of ever-growing demands on our time, our bodies and our energy. In a world where we’re expected to perform 24/7, the pressure is not only daunting, it can be debilitating. And when we attempt to expend more energy than we have, our businesses, our bodies and our home lives suffer.

What’s a beyond busy woman to do?

As sponsors of the 2015 Fortune The Most Powerful Women summit – at which HPI’s Manager of Client Training, Jennifer Lea, will be taking the stage, we at Johnson & Johnson took the opportunity to ask her, as well as a host of busy female J&J executives, to share what they know about hacking what we call “energy management.”

Why Time Is Not the Answer

There’s a reason people say, “If only there were more hours in the day.” When faced with a crisis (or two), our gut reaction is to stay up later, get up earlier, figure out a way to squeeze every last drop out of our day. But the Human Performance Institute has discovered that managing energy, not time, is actually the key to maximizing our potential and our productivity.

A pioneer in the field of human energy management, the HPI is devoted to helping high-stress individuals essentially, take time to reboot. Working with elite performers like Olympic gold medalists, career athletes, Hostage Rescue Teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs who thrive in high-pressure settings, HPI has created a “living laboratory” to improve resilience in the face of non-stop stress.

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And the research performed on this incredibly busy cohort uncovered a powerful new paradigm for how professionals can maximize their performance. Ever feel guilty about taking some downtime? Don’t. Unchaining yourself from your desk can actually help you.

“The secret to having energy throughout your day is to work in a short 2-3 minute break of light physical activity – what we like to call a “microburst” – every hour. Walk for a few minutes, dance to your favorite song, get your body moving. You’ll feel more energy during your whole workday, and that energy boost will continue into the evening, when you get home to your family,” says Lea.

How to Hack Energy Management: How 8 Real Women Find Time in a Busy Day

According to research done by the HPI, there are four key areas of energy capacity: Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Johnson & Johnson has committed to being the healthiest workforce in the world, which means employees at every level of the company make managing their energy a priority. We asked eight of our busiest and most successful female leaders for their favorite way to “hack” energy management each day.

What’s your personal energy hack? Tweet it using #FortuneMPW.

“I use a word, ‘sunshine,’ to describe the very best version of myself. I recite this word during moments of high stress when I feel like I’m not being my best self. It’s an easy way for me to remind myself of HOW I want to show up every day.

– Jennifer Lea, Manager of Client Training, Human Performance Institute

“I’m completely obsessed with Peloton spinning. Six days a week I jump on that bike and focus on getting better and stronger. While I’m a sweaty mess, the payoff is a major endorphin rush and serotonin boost!”

– Denice Torres, President, McNeil Consumer Health Care

“I sit quietly in the morning, before my family wakes up, for about five to 10 minutes, to remind myself of the things that matter most to me and to think about what the most important thing(s) are that I need to do that day in order to meet my work objectives in the context of my bigger life’s purpose.”

– Jennifer Turgiss, VP, Behavior Science and Analytics, Johnson & Johnson Health & Wellness Solutions

“I love to take a 15-minute walking break in the morning, at lunch and in the afternoon to refresh my mind and increase my energy.”

– Michelle Brennan, Company Group Chair, Medical Devices, Europe, Middle East and Africa

“My mantras are: Be good to yourself. Pace yourself for sprints and recovery. Sleep is the best medicine possible. Movement matters. Darkness becomes sunshine. Exercising as a family creates cool memories and rituals.”

– Ashley McEvoy, Company Group Chairman, Vision Care

“My first action of the day is to get to the treadmill. Running helps me stay in balance and build stamina for the day. I find it to be my best reflection time too.”

– Celine Martin, Head, Global Strategic Marketing and Business Development, Cardiovascular and Specialty Solutions, Biosense Webster, ASP, Mentor and Acclarent

“I travel a lot and I always bring sneakers and workout clothes — even if it’s for one day. That way there is no interruption to my regular exercise routine.”

-Gail Horwood, Vice President, Worldwide Digital Strategy, Digital Center of Excellence

“One thing that helps keep me grounded is having the time to read with my son every night before he goes to bed. He’s now 5 and reading to me, but this time has been our routine since he was a newborn. Focusing on the simple messages found in kids book about emotions, friends, family, love, fun and the important things in life are great reminders for us as adults. I find myself more grateful for the everyday things in life – and what a way to experience it along with watching him learn.”

– Lisa Blair Davis, Vice President, International Total Rewards & Global Benefits

“I work on the third floor and I take the stairs where ever I go. It clears my mind , gets my blood flowing and my mind thinking. When I feel drained I head to the stairwell , walk to the bottom and around the building and back up. I feel refreshed and ready to go. My team now knows that even after lunch , we will be taking the stairs. It’s one small thing I can do to keep myself energized.”

– Marene Allison, Chief Information Security Officer and Worldwide VP of Information Security & Risk Management

Each of these powerful women intuitively understands that we can solve the human energy crisis – one person at a time.

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