If you read my post about the basic operations of energy then you know that there are activities that can refill your energy tank and others that drain it. As simple as it seems, I wish I could just tell you to stop doing the negative things and start doing the positive ones but life isn’t like that. However, like math, identifying the terms is a big step in solving this issue. Let’s dive into an energy audit.
Step 1: Perform An Energy Audit
For the next week or maybe two, pay attention to your activities. Measure your motivation. Use a note pad or note app and simply write the activity and place a -,+,x, / next to it. What’s great is that if you make this list you’ll also start to identify habits. For example:
Monday (Highest Energy During The AM)
- Devotion Time ×
- Work Out ×
- Check Phone –
- Browse Social Media ÷
- Driving To Office ÷
- Morning Meeting 1 –
- Morning Meeting 2 ÷
- 1 on 1 Meeting with a coworker about project +
- Job Task +
- Job Task 2 –
- Job Task 3 –
- Drive Home –
- Greet Family ×
- Family Dinner ×
- Dealing with homework –
- Scrolling on social media ÷
- Family Devotional ×
Step 2: Evaluate what needs to change or what you can change
If you’re a leader in your organization then you know that as your company grows so does the complexity. Meetings and inefficiencies are constantly being added as you grow. You can take one look at my sample Monday and see that there are some meetings that this person doesn’t need to attend. We’ll cover simplifying your business in another post but today what can change in this sample schedule to bring more energy.
Let’s evaluate the subtractive and divisive activities that drain you.
Checking Your Phone and Browsing Social Media
Checking your phone for messages is a habit that all of us face. For me, I had to but an app called Stay Focused that blocked certain apps during certain times of the day. Specifically, it blocks any scrolling type apps, like Facebook, Instagram, and the news. As the culture continues to make friends more disposable and portable the false connection on social media will likely strengthen. I had to remove all the social media apps on my phone because they would cause me to be depressed after scrolling.
Driving To and From The Office
I understand this is job dependent. Practically there may be no solution here for you to change this. One thing you can do is to pair this activity with something you want to do. If you have been wanting to read a book or listen to a particular album, Atlanta traffic is great for that! For some, it might be a new audiobook, for others a new album, podcast or even
When you’re not the boss sometimes meetings are unavoidable. However, most leaders would welcome the “push back” from an employee or direct report questioning the importance of a meeting. Typically in this scenario, you need to present what you might think is a bit more important. The key to this exchange will be listening of course. I’ve been on both ends of this. I’ve had team members tell me meetings were a waste of time. We responded with a complete revamping of the meeting to make it more meaningful. In other cases, meetings were removed or shortened.
If you’re the leader you should scrutinize the meetings. Ask questions like “could this meeting be shortened or replaced? Could this meeting happen with less frequency?
Draining Job Tasks
Sometimes you simply have to do work that isn’t as exciting as other work. However, you don’t have to let it drain you and ruin your day. Try pairing your draining tasks with something that fills you up. For example, let’s say you love talking with current clients but really don’t like making calls to potential clients. Try making the calls to potential clients and then rewarding yourself with talking with current clients. “After I make my sales calls, I will call current clients.” You can do this with many “hard” tasks to get the most out of your day.
Subtractive Family Interactions
Interestingly, if you start to manage your energy and arrange your day around your energy you’ll notice that some activities become easier (because you have more energy). For example, helping your children with a science project might not be fun no matter what you do. However, instead of a devolving into an all-out lament against science teachers everywhere, it could be a bonding time with your kids. However, only if you have enough energy left in the tank.
Step 3: Pay Attention To Your Energetic Times
If you read anything by Charles Duhigg or James Clear about habits you’ll find that you should energy management is a key to keeping or starting good habits and ending bad habits. All of us have times when we have more energy than others. For me, it’s usually early in the morning. My kids seem to get a boost of energy right before bedtime. Energy rhythms are something that has been studied and if you really want to manage your energy you’ll want to start to pay attention to this. In fact, one study suggests that morning people are less ethical at night because they lack the energy to resist the temptation! Once you know when your energy is lowest and when it’s highest, arrange your schedule as much as possible to match that. Place tasks that require the most energy (the subtractive or divisive ones) where you have the most energy.
Energy management is something I never really considered until I started to notice how awful I felt after a day of work. After researching this out I found out that there are better ways to arrange my day and there are activities that I could either do at different times or stop altogether.