In today’s world, we overdose on multi-tasking, long work hours, 24/7 on-line connections, ever-changing technology, an uncertain future, hectic home lives with perhaps two working adults, and a myriad of other dynamics in our work/life cultural landscape. How do we find the time to slow down, taste the simple joys, and embrace our lives more fully? There are only 24 hours in a day—time is finite. But energy is a renewable resource. When our energy reserves are depleted, we begin energy meltdown and spin into overload and overwhelm mode. Routines and rituals can enrich and energize our lives and counter that energy depletion, allowing us greater productivity and space for more innovation and creativity, and freeing time for us to engage in activities that nourish our lives.
The six areas that people engage in energy depleting activities and behaviors include physical environment, physical health, emotional wellness, mental focus, spirituality, and finances. These are also the areas we can look to in order to find energy potential.
Let’s take, for example, our physical environment. Imagine your purse. Is it a black hole of items gathered over time? Do you spend 5 or 10 minutes every day looking for keys, lip gloss, or that receipt you need? What would it look like if each night you emptied your purse or workbag and put away its contents? The next day, knowing where everything is, you can gather what is needed and calmly leave the house on time. By eliminating wasted time searching for things, you will save mental and emotional energy for other tasks.
Consider the last time you had a conflict or disagreement with a good friend or partner. Rather than get it out on the table, did you avoid each other and let it linger for days? How much time did you spend spinning the story in your head? How many people did you speak to about it, trying to resolve it or just looking for someone to agree with your frustration? All that expended energy probably affected your emotional wellness, mental focus, and perhaps even your physical health. And it was vital fuel you could be using elsewhere, in a more positive and fulfilling activity.
The secret to eliminating the overwhelm of today’s world, better managing your time and experiencing greater innovation, creativity and satisfaction is NOT a new calendar app, a new Day-Timer or more hours spent working every week. The secret is to identify and eliminate our high-cost, energy-depleting behaviors. We can then function each day with our full reserves of human energy potential.
- Take the Quiz. Take the What is Your Energy Deficit? quiz. This will help you determine the areas in your life where you most engage in energy-depleting activities or behaviors.
- Create a new ritual that revitalizes your energy. After taking the quiz, identify the areas in your life that sap your energy. Create a new daily ritual that eliminates the energy-depleting behavior and provides a source of energy renewal. Perhaps it is as simple as going to bed 30 minutes earlier each day, organizing your purse, or just turning off your phone for an hour. Commit to the new ritual for two weeks and see what happens.
- Resolve an outstanding conflict. One of our greatest energy zappers is holding on to conflict and anger. It takes up head space, is emotionally draining, and usually serves no positive results. What conflict can you resolve or choose to let go of? Make a commitment to either speak to the person and clear the air, or just let it go. (Remember—it is not about being right, it is about letting go and re-energizing YOU!)