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3 Things That Are Sucking Your Energy And How To Deal With Them

3 Things That Are Sucking Your Energy And How To Deal With Them
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I’m sure that when you hear the phrase ‘suck your energy,’ something or someone immediately comes to mind. This is probably the tip of the iceberg when it comes to energy suckers in your life. There are many others that could be lurking around, quietly sucking out all your energy. Added together, these things can be a major cause of general fatigue. See which of the 3 common energy suckers might be lurking around you and learn a few tips on how to deal with them.

Negative person

We all have at least one person in our lives who we must deal with who sucks the life out of us! You know it’s true because you feel amazing before seeing them and then during conversation, you begin to feel like your candle has been snuffed out. They seem to take a lot of energy just to be around.

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On the opposite side of the spectrum, we also know of people who are givers. You feel better after being around them! I know, for myself, that if I have something physical to do, like a workout, I would rather have just finished being around a giver than a taker. It takes time to get your energy back up after being around an energy vampire!

So how do you solve this issue without cutting the negative people out of your life completely? The answer is to do some creative scheduling as much as possible. For example, if you are planning on working out during lunchtime, and you need to get going quickly, choose to schedule meetings with energy givers just before lunch. You can see your energy takers after your workout when you feel more resilient.

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If you don’t have a choice, or if someone caught you by surprise, then you can practice detachment. By that, I don’t mean tuning out the other person. Remain present, but place a mental screen between your feelings and your conversation. This takes practice, but the more you practice, the easier it will become. If you engage in conversation with your energy takers without attaching emotion, you can also be more objective. Practice compassion for this person. Realize that they are an energy sucker for a reason. When you step outside of your own emotions these situations are easier to deal with and take less time to bounce back.

Stress

Every time you rush from one place to another, can’t find your keys, or schedule appointments too close together, you add to your stress level. Over time, this wears on your adrenal gland. When your adrenal gland is drained, you are close to hitting bottom.

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So what do you do? Start scheduling wiggle room between things on your schedule. More time between appointments, more time to get ready in the morning, more time to get projects done–you get the idea. Also, make it a habit to put your keys, wallet, etc in the same place all the time. Items usually get separated when you rush around.

Clutter

The little bits of messes all around us quietly zap our energy, whether it be several extra items on the kitchen counter, extra bottles of this and that around the tub, or magazines and books strewn around like they were tossed. Each on its own doesn’t seem like much, but when it’s always there and it’s in conjunction with other little messes, it all adds up! When you have a tidy space around you, your mind is free to relax rather than subconsciously processing what’s in front of it.

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So what should you do? Well, if you think this might be a daunting task, start small, but start in an area that will give you maximum impact for time spent. Maybe this is the bathroom. Start with removing all loose items from the counter and around the tub. Replace just a couple of items that are most needed yet look nice. Put everything else away. Leave the room and come back a little while later and take note of how you feel. It feels good! Bit by bit, work your way around the house. Be prepared to start a donation bag and a garbage bag. Once you get going, you’ll realize you don’t need half the stuff around you!

Identify your energy suckers, deal with them, and lead a happier life! How do you deal with your energy suckers? Let us know in the comments!

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Jennifer Wasylenko

Exercise Physiologist, ACSM

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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