The hangover of transitioning back into work is slowly drifting away, and I hope this finds you well and excited about what you are working on. If not, here are some tips and tools to manage your energy today and all year long.
Much of my focus during the last three months has been around energy: what builds it, what depletes it. These are the strategies that have worked for me. Pick one that resonates with you and give it a try this month.
1. Reconnect with what really matters.
Regular readers know I always urge you to stay grounded in your values. Without these touch points, you get pulled into other people’s worlds, priorities, and commitments. And that sucks away your energy. When you know what you really care about — and you use those values to create, solve problems, and live in integrity — everything just feels a whole lot easier. If you’re sensing that your values might have shifted last year, take our free assessment to get clear on what you’re all about right now.
2. Let (some of) it go.
If you tend to see all the problems of your boss, your client or the whole ever-loving world as your responsibility, know that you’re far from alone. But let’s think about this for a second: What you are in charge of? What can you actually change? What are you responsible for?
I’m not saying squash your desire to do good and make positive changes. But I am saying you have to use your energy in a focused way. You can’t take on everything, nor should you. (When has that strategy every worked anyway?) And here’s a little secret: When you hear that “It’s all on me” voice in your head, that’s your ego talking. Not your values. Not your wisest, most creative self.
3. Get some freaking rest.
We all push ourselves. It’s just what you do when you give a shit about your work and this world. But you’ve got to refresh sometime. Otherwise, you pay the price. That could mean burning out at work, or worse. Way worse. Did you know that a lack of sleep is a bona fide health crisis, which is tied to diseases like cancer, hypertension, and diabetes? So hit the sack already. While you’re at it, take a walk outside or do some activities that restore your soul. Zoning out on your phone for two hours totally doesn’t count. Which brings us to No. 4 …
4. Tame your technology.
We obsess about kids’ screen time. So why do we allow ourselves to stare at our devices all day long? When was the last time you went out and left your phone at home? Or kept it in your pocket or purse throughout an entire dinner?
When I keep my technology time under control, my mood, creativity, and productivity always pick up. Setting boundaries around technology frees up space for your mind to play, to restore, to create, and to innovate.
One of the easiest and best things we did last year was getting alarm clocks so we don’t have to sleep with our phones in the bedroom. You’ll also restore some balance if you make a point to take walks in silence sometimes — no music, no podcasts no conference calls.
When you’re back online after your tech break, I recommend checking out this video from Simon Sinek and article from The Atlantic to get a bigger perspective on technology and how it impacts us.
5. Pause before responding.
No matter your job or your living situation, there is so much shit to do. You might feel like you need to respond instantly to EVERYTHING – either to get it off your list to-do list or because you worry that if you don’t deal with it immediately you never will.
I’m working on taking a pause to get some perspective and decide how I really want to respond. My responses are more thorough, and I’m clearer about when I need to say no.
6. Pay attention to your emotions.
What gets you emotional will tell you a lot. And those emotions can cause a lot of drama, aggravation and wasted energy — if you let them.
Try this exercise: Look at your three most frustrating scenarios at work and home. What gets you triggered? How do you respond? What are the repercussions of your response?
Those answers can give you a lot of insight to work with.
Here’s an example:
Your trigger: When you feel like you’re the only one on your team really pushing to make an upcoming deadline.
Your response: You start micromanaging others.
The repercussions: Everyone feels more stress and less joy about the project.
Whatever you’re aspiring to create in 2017, you’ll have the energy to make it happen only if you take the time to invest in yourself. If you ever need a push, we are always here to help you get clear, get focused, and get moving!
Check out our resources page for goodies to get you started on your journey of self-investment.