You only have a finite amount of emotional and psychological energy to spend daily. It's zero-sum. At some point, you're spent. 

I've learned how to manage my energy, so I don't burn out regularly-- well, at least not that often-- and so I can be a more effective leader, a more present and authentic husband, and a better dad. 

As CEO, one of my most important roles is to make decisions about people, strategy, performance, and leadership. My customers, team, shareholders, investors, and partners need my judgment to be as crisp, clear, and calculated as possible. 

I think of my emotional and psychological energies as metaphorical buckets, one in each hand, filled with water.

I'm with people all day, every day. Whenever I interact with someone, I use water from one of my buckets. I'm an introvert, so it takes a bit more of my water than if I were an extrovert.

When my buckets are empty, I'm not going to be as thoughtful, and my decision making isn't going to be as sharp. At that point, I'm at risk as CEO, and to go home with nothing for my partner and kids is unacceptable.

It's inefficient for your company if you let unnecessary things at work drain half of your buckets. You won't have enough emotional and psychological energy for the important stuff.

Here's how to preserve the water in your buckets for the vital things your team needs you to handle.

Manage your energy like you manage your money.

Like money, your time and energy are valuable resources. How do you manage your money? Do you throw it around without thought, then suddenly run out of cash with bills unpaid? I doubt it. 

Manage your emotional and psychological energy the same way you manage your money, and you'll have far more to give.

Analyze.

Figure out what drains your emotional and psychological buckets. If the tasks don't serve your team and move your venture forward, don't do them. Rid your life of everything that drains you without offering a return on your energy investment. 

Get rid of unnecessary policies.

How much energy would it save if you eliminated dress codes and strict work hours at your company? For me, it's an enormous energy suck to maintain a closet full of clothes I don't want and don't think I look good in. I don't want to wear clothes that make me itch and feel uncomfortable all day. Do you and your team feel the same? 

Also, life is unpredictable. What if your company didn't have an exact work schedule to adhere to? If they produce and are available to others when they're needed, who cares about the exact moment they walked through the door?

Delegate. 

Figure out the things that drain the energy out of your emotional and psychological buckets and delegate them to someone else. Before I drove an electric vehicle, I would have my assistant fill my car with gas whenever she was running errands. 

By doing this, my assistant helped me preserve my energy by taking care of something on my to-do list. Preserve your energy usually spent on tasks someone else can easily do so you can lead and make crucial decisions for your company.

Refresh.

Take time off to refill your emotional and psychological buckets. If you don't, your buckets will stay drained. You need to get enough sleep, exercise, eat well, and take real vacations where you're not on your computer working or in meetings. 

And finally, take similar measures to help your team reserve their energy as well. When your team is happier, you'll be happier. At Nav, we have lots of extroverts. So we provide lunch daily to give them time to socialize. Unlike introverts, extroverts gain energy from social interaction. That way, they don't have to worry about bringing lunch. And they won't go hungry because they're too busy to go out for food. All of which drain their buckets.

What effect would it have on your business and your home-life if you implemented similar principles and taught the people in your life to do the same?

Published on: Sep 5, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.