10 energy busters that wreak havoc on productivity
How’s your energy these days?
How’s your energy these days? On a scale from 1-10, 10 being the highest energy and 1 being the lowest, where do you place yourself today?
If you fall below the mid-point of 5, your energy is under attack and your productivity is paying the price.
This article will offer you some powerful awareness around specific energy busters that you will want to avoid along with opportunities for self-reflection when it comes to your ability to preserve your energy.
In order to live beyond a block in life it’s important to first understand what that block means to you and how it specifically effects your performance. Your performance is made up of behaviors that you exhibit that have a direct impact on business.
A productive day is the ramification of positive behaviors that directly or indirectly impacted your performance. In that context, let’s take a closer look at energy.
Energy is your capacity for action which often rises and falls depending upon interior and exterior forces that spill over into your behavior.
For example, let’s say you are woken up several times throughout the night to take care of your child who is going through a phase of night terrors.
Regardless of what happened at night, your work day starts at 9 am and won’t end until 6 or 7 pm. As a result of exterior forces that resulted in disrupted sleep, you start your day on half a tank of energy which directly impacts your behaviors thus compromising your performance and ultimately your productivity.
Your capacity for action has been hijacked by an exterior force: your child’s night terrors. The coaching question to ask yourself in this situation is simple: what do I want to do about it?
Your first response might sound something like this: “What do I want to do about it? I can’t do anything about it, I can’t help that my child had night terrors throughout the night and I’m now sleep deprived.”
You’re right, you can’t do anything about the fact that your child woke up with night terrors AND you can always choose how you want to behave moving forward.
When I was diagnosed with advanced cancer one week prior to my final divorce court date, I felt that I could not change the external forces coming my way AND I could always choose how I wanted to respond to it. Stress is the power you give to outside circumstance to define what you believe you are capable of handling successfully. Your energy is directly linked to how much power you give away in any given day to external forces around you.
You also have another space that is either an energy leak or energy conservation: the space between your two ears.
Your thoughts are directly linked to energy conservation and renewable energy. Renewable energy is the ability to give out energy without depleting the source.
The source that we are talking about is the source of YOU: your mind, will and emotions. This is the internal force that either lifts you up and out of the thickness of life circumstances or keeps you stuck and depleted. We are talking about your attitude towards life along with the behaviors that flow from your attitude. An attitude is a fixed state of mind.
A powerful quote by Henry Ford sums this up perfectly, “Whether you believe you can or you can’t you’re right.”
As your thoughts drop into your mind, you as the landlord of those thoughts can either evict what creates an energy leak or give free rent to what doesn’t…the choice of yours and makes all the difference in the outcomes your experience.
Let’s create some clarity of focus for accuracy of response around specific energy busters that hijack your energy in life and directly impact your performance and productivity in the long haul.
I say long haul because you may be able to pretend that you are ok with some of the following energy busters for a little while, yet they are shown to have a negative impact on productivity when repeated over and over during an extended period of time.
We will look at exterior energy busters first and then move to the interior energy busters.
5 Exterior Energy Busters
- Social Media: Because of the dopamine loop nature attached to social media, stress levels actually increase resulting in fatigue of the mind and depleting your capacity for action. Do you want a productive day? Stay off of social media unless it’s your job.
- Leaving Action Loops Open: An action loop involves 3 steps: Start => Do => Stop. Too often you have multiple action loops open: Start => Do/ Start => Do/ Start => Do. Too many mental jobs left in the unfinished mind space results in brain fatigue. See how many action loops you can close today. Even if it’s a long term project, intentionally decide on what part you want to start, then do it, then stop doing it and move onto the next action loop. As much as we brag about being able to multitask, science continues to reveal that it’s an energy buster. Do one thing at a time.
- Interruptions: All too often we are waiting to be interrupted, particularly when we are working on a project we are not passionate about. Set healthy boundaries around your time and communicate ground rules to your direct reports, collegues and yourself. A ground rule in this case would be the best way to stay on task for you. For example: I commit to scheduling one hour each afternoon to answer high importance emails, I will turn off all electronic interruptions and notify team members of my choice to focus. Use this for mindful living as well: I commit to pausing, breathing and setting the intention before each meeting I facilitate.
- Unproductive Behavior: In Sherpa Executive Coaching, we use coaching tools that address those behaviors that do not have a positive impact on business. Two of those behaviors are anger and intimidation, both of which drain your energy, your capacity for action along with your abilities to create positive connections within your organization. Other non-productive behaviors that are energy busters include: gossip, ugly talk, stone walling, taking offense (taking things personally), playing the victim and avoiding conflict. Which one do you relate to? What is the ramification of that behavior? How specifically does it drain your energy as the receiver or sender of the negative behavior? What do you want to do about it moving forward? What positive change behavior can you begin to implement instead of the negative behavior? Our goal is energy conservation. What behaviors can you do instead that make you renewable? Behaviors you can commit to where you can expend energy without depleting the source (YOU).
- Bad News: When your expectations exceed reality you will experience dis-satisfaction. Bad news of any kind is an energy buster in life. Perhaps it’s a job promotion you wanted and someone else got it, a big account that did not renew or in my case, an advanced cancer diagnosis. Remember this simple truth: you can’t always control what shows up in life AND you can always control your response to it. Bad news can often times be labeled as failure. What if you committed to a talking back each time you come face to face with an undesirable outcome? An example of this practice looks like this: It’s not rejection, it’s simply direction. Flip your script and take back the power you give to exterior circumstances to define your worth, value and capability. Another phrase you can use is: this is an opportunity for learning and growth, what can I learn from this situation to make me a better leader in life? Be the boss of your expectations, don’t let your expectations become the boss of you.
Which of the above energy busters triggered by an external force do you relate to the most? Declare a positive action step that you will commit to now moving forward.
A huge part of mindful living offers you the opportunity to implement positive mental shifts from the problem to the solution.
5 Interior Energy Busters
Now let’s explore energy busters that are fueled by internal forces. This means that your capacity for action is diminished due to negative thinking that comes from the following categories:
- Comparisons: Any time you compare yourself to another human being its as if you are saying that they have something you need in order to feel that you are successful, enough or secure. It’s an energy buster that exists between your two ears and can block your ability to perform at the top of your game. Be you, everyone else is taken. There is no one like you and when you focus on and maximize what you bring to the table, you up your energy factor.
- Self-Doubt: This is a lack of confidence in yourself and your abilities. Self-doubt is the root cause of comparisons. How many times have you laid awake at night replaying a scene from your day wishing you had said this or that or done something different? What if moving forward you simply took accountability for what is yours and release what belongs to other people. Once you have determined what is yours to own ask yourself: What do I want to do about it? At times it may be apologizing, at other times you will have the opportunity to let go of what is not yours to own. Increase your confidence in yourself and your abilities and this practice will become easier for you. In Sherpa Executive Coaching we use a tool called the O.W.N model. The “O” stands for: Is my opinion needed? The “W” stands for: Does this belong to someone else or is it mine to own? The “N” stands for: If it is mine to own, what does this person need from me?
- Fear: This is the big one that will suck the energy out of you quicker than poop through a goose as my Grandfather used to say. Good old fear. According to Zig Ziglar, fear has two meanings: Forget Everything and Run (energy buster) or Face Everything and Rise (energy booster). The choice is yours and makes all the difference in your ability to perform and be productive. Fear tends to be a very obnoxious tenant between your two ears in that it takes up all of your attention, leaving no room for positive thoughts that are fueled by courage and curiosity. One of the best books I’ve ever read on fear was written by Susan Jeffers, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. One huge fuel behind fear is the thought: I can’t handle this. The next time you catch a thought fueling your fear link it to a positive statement: The more I feel I can’t handle this situation, the more confident I become in my ability to tune into available solutions. This is a neurolinguistic programming tool that can help override fearful thoughts by creating a positive anchor statement.
- Worry: The best definition I’ve heard for worry is to allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles. The reason why I like this definition so much is because it contains a choice point: allow one’s mind. This means you can choose to allow or not allow. You can be the boss of your thoughts. Stop dwelling on what you think might happen. Studies continue to reveal that up to 85% of what you worry about never happens. The rest of the study revealed that what you do worry about and walk through was not as bad as you thought. Worrying also shrinks your brain mass due to the dump of the stress hormones associated with worrying. You may push back and say: “I can’t help it” which takes us to our next energy buster: victimization. When you get fixated on something you are worried about change your behavior to interrupt the thought pattern: dance, whistle, laugh (even if it’s fake it works), sing, listen to uplifting music, take a walk and or reach out to help someone in need. You can also practice peeling the onion. This is a technique that requires you to get to the root of what is fueling the worry. Taking some kind of action empowers you to override the thought that is busting your energy.
- Victim Mentality: This is a mental prison that keeps you stuck. It sucks the energy and willpower right out of your ability to do something about undesirable circumstances. Healthline suggests that a victim mentality rests on 3 key beliefs: bad things happen and will continue to happen, other people or circumstances are to blame and any efforts to change things will fail so there is no point in trying. If I bought into these beliefs, I’d be dead today. The doctors told me they were trying to get me 5 more years of life back in 2006. I had a choice point to make, to give power to the diagnosis or to the strength within me. You have a choice to do the same each time you come face to face with an undesirable situation. Unzip and step out of the cloak of victimhood, it is a major energy buster that robs you of your ability to step out of your comfort zone, take risks and champion your human potential. Next time you feel the victim mentality creeping in ask yourself: What would I do if I believed I had the power to do something about this undesirable situation
Energy is your capacity for action. Renewable energy lies in your ability to expend energy without depleting the source. Write down the energy busters you most identified with in this article.
Next, write down the action step you will commit to taking that will patch up the energy leak and promote energy preservation.
Lauren E Miller, has a Masters in Adult Education with a Certification in Human Resources Development. She has personally conquered two of life’s top stressors at the same time, advanced cancer and divorce. Now Google’s #1 Stress Relief Expert, Award Winning Author, HRD Trainer and Certified Sherpa Executive Coach, Lauren provides process driven programs and custom trainings with structure, guidance, support and accountability designed to create positive change in behavior resulting in positive impact on business (IOB) and life purpose. Explore More: http://LaurenEMiller.com