How to boost energy levels in general

I am a 1st year analyst at a MF and between getting up to speed on the job and managing family responsibilities there is a lot to handle day in and day out. I manage to squeeze in a quick workout every day (this is a priority for me) and apparently this takes off some of your brainpower during the day too (I read some research how intense workout takes a similar toll on your brain as intense mental tasks.) My job is not entirely pure "processing" work either - even if I'm on a deal team with a VP/assoc I still feel responsible for my output.

I am sure many of you can relate to being entirely gassed out at the end of a long day just because there's always so much to do. How can I boost my brain capacity so I can process more information / get more done / not be burnt out?

I understand sleep is important and I am trying to get 7-8 hours a day. This is not consistent as I find it hard to fall asleep sometimes (even on late nights) because I basically start anticipating/planning what needs to be done the next day as soon as I get in bed (or even on the Uber home). Because I'm prioritizing work, sleep, and gym, I'm losing friends as well. How do people cope so they manage to have a solid career and still have a personal life?

Comments (24)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov

You can't… I stopped working out on weekdays, and friend group is cut in half. But I prioritize sleep so get 7-8 hours. Pick 1-2 things 

kodi, what's your opinion? Comment below:

My energy levels are often managed through my diet. Low-carb diets help me be more active, have more energy and be more aware than with high levels of carbs.

Lifting also helps. I hate cardio, but it is truly a huge influence on activity levels and energy.

  • 1
jay_ay_why, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is something I think about a lot. What are your hours and typical routine look like (incl weekends)? I can give you advice from there

On sleep, if you are still wound up at the end of the day, at least 5 minutes before bed (maybe up to 15m), turn off the lights, put away your phone, and sit on the couch or floor or wherever you are comfortable. Then close your eyes and take some deep breaths and try to empty your mind. Try to relax completely. Use a mediation app if need be. You want to put yourself in a slow and "heavy" state. This will make yourself much more prepared to go to bed

  • 3
YoungDumbFullOfRum, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I don't think there's an easy fix here, but there are definitely some tweaks you can make. 

Maybe try and limit your workouts until after work, if you feel it's draining your performance in the office the rest of the day. I find workouts first thing in the morning - before I go to work - tend to be most productive in terms of making me feel more alert. 

I'd also reduce the amount of sugar / carbohydrates you're consuming during the day - in particular, at lunch. I tend to only have one coffee in the morning (to avoid feeling too jittery before bed), and then only drink water the rest of the day. I also try to avoid a heavy lunch. Most days, I miss breakfast and have a salad for lunch. 

In terms of your wind-down routine before bed, I've done a couple of things. Firstly, I have some light sleeping pills to hand. I don't take these every night, but on Sundays or days when I feel like I'm going to struggle, I take half of one and find this tends to help me get to sleep without too much grogginess the next day. Secondly, I've invested in a white noise machine and a wake up lamp (one of those lamps that slowly turns on to mimic a sunrise). The white noise machine has meant I've improved my quality of sleep, while the lamp has helped me feel fresher when I first wake up. 

Finally, try to avoid too much drinking, especially early in the week (I tend to only go out and drink Thurs, Fri, Sat - maybe occasionally on a Weds). This way, I'm well refreshed for the first half of the week and make sure I'm getting in 3-4 days of very solid sleep. I also try and keep my sleep routine consistent on weekends, perhaps allowing myself one lie-in. 

"Work is the curse of the drinking classes" - Oscar Wilde
  • 9
chiefchirping, what's your opinion? Comment below:

man if you are going out and drinking Thursday Friday and Saturday (and sometimes Wednesday!) it sounds like you have a bit more time on your hands than the OP and most folks in IB / PE. But that is great for you! Very jealous 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov

untrue bro, outside of GS TMT or other hardo groups, most people definitely have time to grab drinks or go out at least once a week on a Thursday or something, working this job I've come to learn there are days you get destroyed, but WSO definitely exaggerates how bad the hours are lol. It's more like this:

M/W/F: 9 AM to 9 PM

T/TR: 9 AM to 12 AM

where it can average out to 65 to 70 but those 80 to 100 hours are during live deals and even then, there's thumb twiddling time

YoungDumbFullOfRum, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Probably because I work in trading and my market closes by 8:00pm

"Work is the curse of the drinking classes" - Oscar Wilde
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov

Electrolytes are big time. Magnesium deficiencies are pretty prevalent and can cause fatigue. Since I started drinking electrolytes I've been noticeably more energized. Feels like a fog is lifted.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov

Sleep is of course key but quality of sleep is perhaps even more important than quantity of hours. Would suggest an apple watch, fitbit, whoop, oura ring, etc... to help track that better.

In general, I think it's better to sleep earlier and pick up in the morning rather than push the gambit 1-2 more hours at 1-2 am hoping to get something out. Drink a lot of water, eat a lower sodium, high nutrition, low fat diet. Try to limit caffeine to before noon and avoid alcohol before bed (fine to have a glass at dinner but I've seen people treat liquor like melatonin and that's not the move). Workout, try to stretch, have a healthy sex life. Health is a daily affair and isn't something you can cram in on a Saturday at equinox to makeup for the the other 6 days. 

Most Helpful
APAE, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you're going to do this for the long haul, you've got to act like it.

(I need to call out that I'm older than you, so I have more control, and that I also took an unconventional path relative to the linear promotion schedule.)

Here's what worked for me.

- Eliminate alcohol.

Most people won't do this because of the social cost. Up to you, I'm not here to judge. I will say that your sleep will be better, waistline trimmer, skin and breath and eyes more attractive, workouts more productive, and so on. If not eliminate, reduce.

- Understand nutrition.

Most of the symptoms you raise (low energy because of a workout; struggle to fall asleep; mental lethargy) sound like they can be addressed through food and supplements. Do some comprehensive testing. Consider concierge medicine, it's more accessible than you think, and even if it weren't, can you put a price tag on health? The Lanby is a newer entry-level offering.

For example: nearly everyone has sensitivities to a variety of foods without knowing it. Ever have a worse time in the bathroom for no apparent reason? Or not be able to move your bowels for two days? (These are assuming you're already on a healthy diet that isn't composed of processed take-out food.) You might have eaten something with banana, or thyme, or garlic, or any of a couple dozen things that will show up on intermediate or comprehensive testing (blood, urine, stool, saliva, etc.) as non-optimal for your body chemistry.

Supplements can really help you. Common example: most people today are magnesium deficient, it's not really in our modern diet at all. Ashwagandha is something you might find helpful. It's one of the pillars of ayurvedic medicine. Great for stress and fatigue (cortisol inhibitor). Rhodiola is an adaptogen and will help you with stress. 

For sleep, start with Andrew Huberman's lab at Stanford. He has great primers on the core supplements and behavioral steps around sleep. Beyond his work, read and master the basics of sleep hygiene. It's tough because there's exceptionally limited science around what will pass the blood brain barrier and actually help you, so behavioral changes are always the most effective.

- Think about duration.

You asked about how to balance career and personal lives. Realize that you literally cannot have it all at once. You are not gonna have an amazing body, a girlfriend who is loyal and loving and a smokeshow, a high six-figure salary with seven or eight-figure deferred income, an awesome home, a large and vibrant social circle, and multiple fulfilling hobbies within any period of time shorter than a decade.

Think about it. Each one of those things is only so much within your control, and some of them require intermediate steps that take years in themselves (e.g. a banking job before a private equity job, then time to promote vertically). So give yourself some breathing room and realize it won't all happen overnight.

Prioritize which of the people you know matter to you the most. Some people will disagree, but I've found that fewer better interactions does so much more for me than more but weaker interactions.

Go through your texts in reverse chronology for the past six months and write everyone's name down. Then bucket them into 'best' / 'okay' / and 'worst' for the people who you legitimately feel like you're a better person because you know them, the people where it's nice and not an energy drain but nothing special, and the people where you kinda shake your head and wonder why you know them.

If you're honest, you'll probably have few in the first, a ton in the second, and a few in the last. Admit that the last don't deserve your time. Focus on the first. Create some kind of rhythm (you both agree that you'll prioritize an hour on Saturday that you confirm before going to sleep on Friday night, or Tuesday lunch unless you're getting blown up, whatever) and just stick to it. Seeing the four most valuable people in your life every week will do wonders more for you than seeing whoever's available whenever you get a glimpse of free time.

Pick a hobby that you're willing to spend money and time on. Write out everything you dreamed of. Owning a motorcycle; having a supercar; skydiving; surfing; cooking; seven summits; three new languages; whatever. Write out a 10-year plan for how you reach the end-point: the steps and the dollar costs to each of them. Then start.

Sign up for a cooking class or language tutoring or dance class. Block it on your calendar as a personal event. You can do this on a weekday afternoon a month out and tell your staffer it's a doctor thing or family thing or whatever (you know that relationship), you're happy to work hard around it but you simply will not miss it. And repeat.

This is getting long so I'll just say you should apply this to everything in your life. Recognize it's not about getting everything right now, it's just about getting everything you want.

It's great that fitness is a pillar for you. If you keep that, you'll have it forever. And it gets easier to maintain. Similarly, once you are good at piano after five years, and after two years of jumping once a month during the middle six months of the year you've got your C or D license, and after 1-200 paid hours of French instruction you're fluent ... that's all with you forever. 

Think of it as a journey. You obviously can't be in multiple places at once, so you've got to string your path to include every stop you want to reach on the way. And you'll meet fun, fascinating people en route, some of whom will turn into true friends, and if you're lucky, someone who may win your love.

It's an amazing life if you're willing to make it so.


I am permanently behind on PMs, it's not personal.

  • 18
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen

Have always enjoyed reading your posts. I especially appreciate when you share more about the way you live your life outside of work.

  • Intern in IB - Gen

agreed. the goat

  • Intern in IB - Gen

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