Posted: April 12, 2013
Seven brain-drain time-sucks
Master your life by mastering your mindTC North
Sick of being tired and tired of being stressed? Sometimes so stressed you feel overwhelmed? These can be symptoms of brain-drain time sucks. Time sucks come in many forms, from technological to emotional. Below are seven emotional brain-drain time sucks that kill productivity and happiness, along with suggestions on how to minimize them.
Having irrational fears. There are rational and irrational fears. Irrational fears create brain drain. Fear of failure, success, rejection and selling yourself or your ideas can suck your energy and drain your brain. Fear resides in your midbrain, primarily the amygdala, which is known as the emotional brain. When you think with your midbrain, you have limited access to the most evolved part of your brain, the neocortex, also known as the executive brain. The executive brain houses identity, personality and your higher brain functions, including rational thought, reasoning and problem solving. Thinking with your midbrain not only drains your brain but also limits your access to the most rational part of your brain. This four-step technique can help you master your fears: 1) Identify your fear, 2) embrace it, 3) disidentify with it and 4) accept your worst-case scenario. Here’s an audio program to master fear.
Worrying. Worry is fear that keeps looping through the emotional part of your brain, the amygdala. It’s like a dog chasing his tail around and around. Unfortunately, with each circle through the amygdala, the fear gains strength by recruiting more neurons. Most of our worries are about something we can’t control. Worry is a 100 percent energy time suck. With worry, you drain your brain and take no action. Decide that instead of worrying, you’ll take action or do everything you can to replace your worry with constructive thinking. Here's a process to replace destructive thoughts with constructive thoughts.
Being wakefully unconscious. When you’re physically awake yet somewhat unconscious of how you affect people, you create an unnecessary amount of conflict and negativity in your life and those around you. To counter your unconsciousness, pay closer attention to your thinking and emotions and notice how others react to you. Stay fully awake and conscious of yourself and everything around you.
Victimizing yourself. You a victim of your own thinking when you blame, complain or make excuses. World-class athletes, business leaders and humanitarians own everything in their lives! By doing so, they can effect change; it strengthens them. Here’s a wonderful example of owning it: According to the National Association of Realtors, the typical full-time Realtor completes about 10 transactions a year in the Denver metro area. One of my clients, Angela Fox, is the top Realtor at The Berkshire Group in Denver. She completed 72 real estate transactions in 2012. Angela is not only a great Realtor she is also a great mother for two young girls, wife, friend, sister, daughter, charity volunteer and client! Angela continually works on mastering her mind. To stop the victim time suck and maximize your personal time management effectiveness, stop blaming, complaining and making excuses and focus your thoughts and positive actions on correcting your mistakes.
Beating yourself up. What happens when you beat yourself up emotionally? You use all of your energy to create negativity. Stop it! There’s no value to beating yourself up; it's a complete time and energy suck, you’re going to make mistakes. Instead, decide how to correct what’s gone wrong. Use imagery to rewire your brain. When you’ve made a mistake. Imagine in detail how you would have liked to have thought and acted to have been at your best in the situation that you messed up. Each time you imagine being your best in the situation you previously messed up, the bigger and stronger the neuronetwork in your brain becomes for that type of situation. Eventually, it will become the dominant pathway and you will likely be at your best in a similar situation in the future.
Focusing on what’s out of your control. When you’re not in control of our thoughts and actions, you will often try to control people and situations that are outside of you. Instead, Focus all your control on gaining control of your thoughts and actions, when you do, you’ll also gain control of your emotions.
Lacking purpose. Living without a sense of purpose may be the biggest time and energy suck of all. When you have purpose, your thoughts and actions have meaning. This is true in terms of living your life’s purpose as well as knowing what your purpose is in everything you do daily. I often ask my clients, “What’s the purpose of …?” It’s an important question to address whether it’s about your life, a marketing activity, a new strategy, a conversation with an employee or even running a meeting. When you know your purpose, you’ll think and act with greater efficiency and joy.
The emotional time-suck fix: Master your life … by mastering your mind.
Dr. TC North is co-author of the book, Fearless Leaders (release date is Sept. 2014). For 28 years, has been a high-performance executive coach and speaker who accelerates individuals and organizations in attaining their visions and dreams. He has also mentally coached a professional sports team and Olympic teams in the art of creating thoughts and emotions that maximize success. He’s a professional speaker on, “Fearless Leaders™” and “Master Fear.” Dr. North’s work has been featured on TV and radio and in business and scientific journals. Learn more at www.TCNorth.com. Contact Dr. North at 303-665-8920 or TC@TCNorth.com, or connect on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.