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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

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 February 18, 2019

How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

These days, in a world with cognitive, AI, and extraordinary advances, we have failed at the most basic stimulus: motivation. Why do I say so? Just take a look at these statistics:

58 percent of managers said they didn’t receive any management training as per a CareerBuilder.com survey. Only 12% of employees leave their jobs because of more money. Research indicates that around 80% of employees leave their jobs due to “lack of appreciation”. Due to fear of failing, more than half of American workers don’t take their paid vacations. 53% of Americans are unhappy at work (not engaged). And 1 in 3 are working in a field they don’t like.[1]

Archaic people management and HR structures are the root cause.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

So how to motivate employees and boost team productivity?

Here are 3 key things that you can do to motivate your employees and boost team productivity:

1. Run Your Team/Group/Company like a Lean Startup

The Lean Startup phenomena by Eric Ries has been socialized across millions all over the globe. In a nutshell, it is a methodology for developing businesses and products, which aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable; this is achieved by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning.[2]

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Encourage Your Employees

When you empower your employees (or family members) to do what they deem to be best for a particular roadblock, idea, or improvement, you create magic. You create genuine trust. You enable innovation. The result is happy, inspired employees who feel they have a say in the grand cosmic stage at work.

Note that increasing the competency level of employees and coaching and mentoring them along the way is key. You yourself, need to do the same. Nourish your brain – and get a mentor that will keep you at the edge of your game.

Offer Rewards

Motivation is also intrinsic. The startups I have worked at offered instant rewards — not just fat checks or equity increments, but Oscar-style nominations.

The non-monetary rewards were actually more coveted, and grandiose: lunch with the CEO, tickets to an Obama fund-raiser, horse-back riding with a world-class equestrian.

Compare this to a dodgy, corporate, white-cubicle dinosaur that had a “yearly performance review” where both parties dread the conversation. In a world of instant WhatsApp messages, having a conversation about performance, likes and dislikes cannot just happen annually in 60 minutes. Employees need to be rooted in the belief that their manager genuinely cares about them.

Give Autonomy

Another key attribute is autonomy. Most employees start brushing their resumes and cruising LinkedIn when their hands are tied in their current positions: approval forms, long meetings, escalations, and more meetings. In the world of agile and scrum masters, deliberating for the sake of deliberating is poison. You will choke the very employees that giddily accepted the job initially to “change the world”.

Within a reasonable realm of assessment and deep-dives, trust your employees to do the heavy lifting. Give them access to the knowledge, people and resources that help them directly make the choices that will shape the future of your team, and your company.

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Eliminate yourself as the bottleneck – and interject yourself as a benevolent, servant leader that is the symbol of high-performing organizations.

2. Apply the 90/90/1 Rule

I recently saw a video by Deepak Sharma (a leadership adviser) about productivity and this principle stuck with me. Here’s what it’s about:

Devote the First 90 Minutes of Your Day to Important Project

For the next 90 days, devote the first 90 minutes of your day to your most important project—nothing else. Do this for yourself and your employees.

We usually get sucked into the most wasteful, operational activities in the morning which robs our focus, and steers us into an unwanted rabbit hole. So mute your notifications, avoid the temptation to check your exploding inbox, and scroll your Instagram feed later. Instead, focus on that ONE thing that will provide real value to you, your team, or your business/company/home.

Apply this rule to yourself – and your team. Your team will thank you. Note: If you’re feeling really stretched for time, you can always hack the rule by testing out a “45/45/1” version.

A To Do Scheduling System

Another version of this is to use the Kanban concept, developed by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota. Kanban is a scheduling system employing boards and cards.

The most basic version is a canvas with “To-do”, “Doing”, and “Done” boards (or columns). Each activity or task is a “card” that moves from one column to the other. I use Trello (a Kanban-inspired app) that is a key system for my personal and professional life. It allows me to understand my workload, their priority, and due dates.

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I use importance and effort metrics (scores) for each task to understand what is truly necessary in my life to work on. It negates the FIFO (first-in, first out) paradox that has plagued millions of people. Instead, it allows me to take stock of what is on my plate, and then bite on what truly will move the needle for me, my team, my life, and my company.

With a limited appetite (at least for some), would you eat the veggies, fries, mashed potatoes and leave the sizzling steak? No, you wouldn’t (unless you are a vegan and ended up in the wrong restaurant).

Approach your work with a weighted vengeance – and encourage your team to do the same.

3. Align Passion and Skills to Purpose

The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, and gives you a sense of meaning, joy and passion.

“The most fortunate people on earth are those who have found a calling that’s bigger than they are—that moves them and fills their lives with constant passion, aliveness, and growth.” — Richard Leider

An ace team-member once told me that while she enjoys working for the company we both used to work at, she really hated anything to do with technology. She was more of a “people” person, and did not want to sit behind a desk sifting through lines of code.

What struck me was that she was in that role for more than a decade and had just spoken up. The good thing is she spoke up. She expressed her desire and interests. And it allowed her to get into a role of her liking within 30 days.

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Ask If They like What They’re Doing

If you, or a team member is frustrated, demotivated, or not performing at their best – one of the questions you should ask is whether they like what they are doing. Then genuinely try to help them get to the role they should be in (whether in the same team/company or not).

There’s a reason why 53% of Americans (and perhaps more or same across the globe) are unhappy at work. A butcher cannot be an ace salad maker. Pursue your passion – and help pave the way for your team. Unlock your potential and theirs. You will command and lead a supercharged team.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

The Bottom Line

Sometimes, passion has to be ignited. It is dormant, clouded by busy-ness, buried by wrong career choices, and plagued by non-supportive eco-systems. Some will climb out of it, but we as society — and in the case of business teams — incumbent upon the manager/CEO/leader to foster, grow, and nurture the employee.

Teach her the ropes. Show her the path. Advise him as you would yourself. Let them lead, and make mistakes. Do not fear them, rather make them the leader you would want to become.

For your not-so-great team members, understand that it is not personal, it is just not a good fit. Help them move on to the pastures they would be fit to graze on. Hence, hire slow (and fire fast).

Your team is a reflection of you. Boosting their confidence and helping them achieve the impossible is motivation. Focus on that, and you will have a productive team that you and your company will be proud of.

More Resources About Team Management

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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