There are plenty of good reasons to invest your
energy wisely. More often than not, people fall
into energy sinkholes which are situations that
repeatedly drain your energy and stress you out.
Unfortunately, it is often hard to see sinkholes
since they rarely cause a drain all at once. Instead
they slowly leech away at your lifeforce until
your stressed, depressed and apathetic.
The best way to get out of these sinkholes is
to get a routine. Having a preplanned method to
handle these problems can keep your mind focused
on more important things. Here are the big seven
that may be stealing from you right now:
1 - Disorganization
Having to constantly find documents, forgetting
commitments and appointments puts is a huge sinkhole.
The solution out of this is simply to create a
system for organizing and routinely tidy it up.
You may have implemented a few systems, but here
are some areas you might consider giving a clean-up:
- Computer hard-drive
- To-Do Lists
- Project Task Lists
- Filing System
2 - Poor Diet and Lack of Exercise
Exercising isn't just to look good on the beach.
Staying fit keeps your energy levels high. You
can be slim and still be drained because you aren't
fit, so don't use the scale as the measurement.
Here are some things you might want to consider
to get out of this energy trap:
- Make a Routine - Find a
gym partner, class or workout time that you
can exercise at least 3-4 times per week. I've
experimented with different amounts and found
six days a week works best for me. If you are
unsure how to start, just try it for thirty
days to see how it goes.
- Replace Foods One at a Time
- Don't try to overhaul your eating habits overnight.
They've been established over years, so they
can't change in a snap. I recommend switching
out one unhealthy food type for a month before
making more changes. When you take it gradually
it is far easier to stick with long-term.
- Time Your Meals - The best
way to eat would probably be 5-6 smaller meals
spread throughout the day. Since this isn't
a reality for most people, a decent alternative
is simply to time your meals so your blood sugar
levels remain steady throughout the day. This
will ensure you aren't starving for some parts
and fatigued from a big meal in others.
3 - Problem Contacts
We all have those few customers, clients and
friends that cause a disproportionate amount of
our stress. I say the best solution is simply
to fire them. Cutting down on people who drain
your energy can help you focus more productively
on the rest. If a transaction is fair, then both
parties should have the ability to opt out if
it becomes too much of a hassle.
4 - Focusing on Your Weaknesses
My definition of a weakness is anything you aren't
interested in becoming skilled at. If you aren't
keen on improving, you can't build strengths and
any talent you do have will degrade. Don't try
to do everything and outsource the tasks that
don't fit within your strengths. Virtual Assistants
and freelancers can deliver a much higher quality
than you could on your own, and often their fees
are less than the cost of your time.
5 - Squeaky Hinges
A squeaky hinge is any piece of technology that
works, but has irritating side-effects. This could
mean a computer that is too slow to run the programs
you need. A dishwasher that doesn't get all the
food off. Or an alarm clock that isn't loud enough.
If the solution to a squeaky hinge is cheap,
fix it immediately. The costs will soon outweigh
any replacement expenses. If the solution is expensive,
write down the total cost and keep track of any
wasted time/money due to the problem. Keep track
of squeaks will make you aware of what the total
cost is, and whether a replacement is warranted.
6 - Blog/E-Mail/Facebook Addiction
Information addiction can be a huge drain to
your energy. I love using blogs, e-mail and social
networking sites to get the latest news and keep
in touch. But that love can quickly turn into
an obsession if you aren't careful. Soon you're
like the rat frantically pushing the lever for
more cocaine doses as you hit Stumble one…
My solution was to designate a time for information
inflow and keep it restricted to that time. Once
per day is all I allow myself to read new RSS
feeds, incoming e-mail and Facebook. For other
stats and random surfing I limit myself to once
per week. The result is more energy and almost
no impact on communication.
7 - Pleasing People
Don't waste your time trying to please the people
around you. This isn't an excuse to be an inconsiderate
jerk, but put a high value on your time. Learn
to say no to people who don't show respect for
your time. Helping other people is great, but
it's better to focus on serving the greatest good
than simply appealing to the whims of your friends
Don't waste your energies trying to fit others
expectations. Set your own dreams, standards and
ambitions and make them your highest priority.
When you're nearing your end you'll likely regret
more the sacrifices you made to your individuality
than how pleased your parents were of you.