One of our most important resources for our productivity and happiness is our own energy. Clearly, people recognize how important high energy is to productive daily living. The energy drink market reached $10 billion in 2015.
Aside from the most obvious hacks to protect, restore, and supercharge our energy (like caffeine), here are 7 ways to tap into and safeguard this valuable asset.
1. Beware the Energy Suckers and Constrain Them.
Every day, you are susceptible to people that can drain you. Co-workers, customers, employees, partners, vendors...when you catch someone on an off day, their negativity can attach to you and spiral you down. To neutralize them, try these two tactics:
Whenever possible, schedule difficult people. If you know you have to engage with someone difficult or demanding, take control of the situation. Schedule them according to what works for you. If you need to get them out of the way in the early morning so you can be positive the rest of the day, then schedule your interactions first thing. If your energy increases as the day goes on, and you don't want them to drag you down, then hold off until the day's end. Be cognizant of your energy levels, and schedule them accordingly.
Respond... don't react. There is a big difference between responding and reacting. Whether you are engaged in a conversation, or you've received a text, call or email, you don't need to respond instantly. If someone triggers you, take notice of your emotional & physical reaction. Remind yourself that you are in control of how you respond and feel about an exchange. Wait to respond until you can calmly engage.
2. Know Your Personal Energy Levels and Schedule Accordingly.
Some of us are morning people, and others finally get moving at 3:00 PM. Personally, I am on fire in the morning. I have to make a concerted effort at around 3:00 to get a second wind and power through the day. Therefore, I stack the first half of my day with as many appointments as possible, and then relax my pace in the afternoon.
3. Schedule Brief Breaks.
One of my clients has to engage often with others in her industry that are downright mean. She's incorporated buffers into her schedule to take 10-15 minute breaks for breathing exercises or a walk outside, just to clear the "energy palette." This recharges her and helps her bring her "A" game to everyone she works with.
4. Drink a lot of Water.
Dehydration is a huge energy suck, and it causes us to crave other foods that further dehydrate us, including sugars and carbs.
5. Don't Be a Drama Magnet.
Be mindful of the impact other people's drama has on you and don't engage. You can say NO when others try to bring you in. We can help others without becoming a drama victim. Brene' Brown brilliantly distinguishes between enmeshment and empathy. Empathy allows us to show compassion from a distance, and help someone who is going through a tough time without getting sucked in. Enmeshment drags us down into the hole with them, and then both people are suffering.
6. Stimulate Your Senses.
Step into my home office, and you will encounter the scents of cinnamon, mint, or citrus. It's also highly likely that some funky instrumental music will be playing. It's proven that certain smells and certain music can stimulate the limbic system of your brain, resulting in greater focus and energy. I frequently listen to the Deep Focus track of the Focus Genre on Spotify, which at last count had 1.4 million followers.
Finally, the most impactful strategy for protecting your energy, in all aspects of your life:
7. Look for the Two Biggest Triggers of Depleted Energy: Fear & Loss of Control.
This may be the hardest but most important strategy to master. A CEO client told me, "I have no energy. I don't know what's wrong with me." Through an intensive consulting session, we finally reached the source of her low energy: a feeling of loss of control with her customers. She shared with me that she felt out of touch with her customers, and she was worried that some of her clients "were not getting our best experience." This fear & sense of loss of control completely dragged her down. Everything seemed overwhelming.
The weight of fear can suppress even the most energetic person. Once we formulated a plan for her to re-establish touchpoints with her customers, her energy completely shifted, and she was ready to get back to business.
Protecting our personal energy is not only good for ourselves, it's good for everyone in our lives. It empowers us to bring our best versions of ourselves to every situation, every experience, and every relationship. Good luck!