The Main Things Draining Your Energy – And How To Stop Them
A lot of people like to talk about finding new ways to boost your energy. It’s the subject of tons of blogs out there, and over the last 12 months, it’s certainly become a very hot topic amongst busy professionals.
However, from my experience, I don’t believe that my clients – women in that mid-level position – are looking for an energy boost. Instead, they want to understand how best to conserve and direct the energy they do have.
The women I’ve worked with tell me they aren’t lacking good energy. They are smart, intelligent professionals who just need some support and guidance on how to conserve it.
And that means learning how to identify and eradicate the things in life that drain our precious energy away.
That way, you get to be in control of where all that extra productivity goes.
What do we mean by energy?
Warren Buffett says that he looks for three things whenever he hires anyone: intelligence, integrity and energy. The energy he is referring to is mental energy.
Mental energy allows us to move forward, progress, seize opportunities and overcome obstacles, which makes it such an important asset to businesses today.
The problem many of us have is that, every day, we are faced with a number of things that can drain us of this precious energy and force us to spend it on tasks that might seem important but aren’t going to help move us forward.
Two of the best examples of this are decision-making and problem-solving. Let’s look at these now.
It is estimated that we humans make around 35,000 decisions every single day! That is a monumental amount of thinking which can lead us to become overwhelmed and prone to decision fatigue.
When we get bogged down in decision fatigue, we start to make the wrong decisions, and these create new problems that we then have to spend more time and energy solving – it’s a vicious cycle!
In order to avoid decision fatigue and conserve our energy, we really need to start being smarter when it comes to our decision-making and problem-solving processes.
So, how can we be better at all of this?
The “six of one” rule – pick one and move on
The first strategy I use in order to streamline decision-making is something I call the “six of one” rule. It’s an abbreviation of the old saying, “Six of one, half a dozen of the other.” It means that if we are faced with several choices, but each outcome is the same, it doesn’t matter which one we choose – just pick one and crack on!
Don’t waste your time overthinking decisions that are “six of one”, because that energy can be better spent elsewhere on things that are going to move you and your team forward.
The “six of one” rule is also a great way to avoid getting into other people’s decisions. The thing is, we women tend to have a slightly overdeveloped sense of responsibility, so when people come to us with decisions, we almost feel like we have to help.
Using the “six of one” rule, we don’t have to become overly involved with these little decisions. If the outcome of several choices is the same, just tell your colleague to pick one and move on.
That way, you both get to save your energy and redirect it to something more productive.
Empowering us all
When you apply the rule of “six of one” in the workplace, you no longer need to report every single decision up the chain of command and spend energy waiting for a decision to be made. You can make that call yourself, which is a really empowering thing to do.
Also, if you are in a leadership position, empowering your team to make their own decisions saves you the hassle of making these “six of one” choices for them – it’s a win-win for everyone!
Ask someone else – it’s not as bad as you think
On multiple occasions, I’ve gone to someone with a big problem, who then made me realise that it really wasn’t that big a deal at all.
Sometimes, all it takes is having someone else look at your “big problem”, repeat the issue back to you in another way, and suddenly you have that lightbulb moment.
Often, they don’t even have to give you the answer to your problem – they just confirm what you already know. Most of us already know the answers to a lot of our problems, but we have some fear or worry that we might be wrong and end up second-guessing ourselves.
Often, all we need is for somebody to give us a new perspective, or confirm what we already know, and we can crack on with the issue without worrying or stressing over it.
Make it quick – don’t stress over every detail
For the most part, we don’t need to overthink decisions, so make it quick. If we spend too much time thinking about it, we end up with analysis paralysis and over analyse every little detail. People are too good at over analysing, and in most cases, it’s not going to help you make a better decision.
In his book The Paradox of Choice, the American psychologist Barry Schwartz states that the more choices we have, the more anxious we become. This is absolutely right.
If we get ourselves wrapped up in decisions and over analyse everything, that will quickly drain our mental energy, and this could have a knock-on effect on our mental health too.
So, we need to stop trying to find the perfect answer to everything because nobody is perfect. All we need to do is make the best choice available to us with the information we have at the time, and do it quickly!
Prevention rather than cure – what’s draining your energy?
Those are three quick and easy ways we can conserve our energy when making decisions and redirect that energy to other, more important things throughout the day.
Try practising these three strategies and make them part of your daily habits.
Whenever you are caught up in a decision, just stop and think:
Can you apply the “six of one” rule?
Can you ask someone else?
Can you make it quick?
The likelihood is that these three strategies can be applied to pretty much any decision throughout the day to refocus where you are spending your energy.
As I mentioned earlier in this blog, there is a lot of advice out there on how people boost their energy, but we need to get ahead of ourselves and find out what’s causing us to lack energy in the first place.
If we can identify and eradicate the things in our life that are draining us of our all-important energy, we can start to spend more time within our Unique Ability®, leading to a far more happy and productive life.
I look forward to sharing more next week.
For more information on how to build a strong pipeline of leadership ready female talent, please get in touch by emailing us at email@example.com.