What Drains Your Battery? Proactive Steps to Charge Up Your Workday
What’s your first move when you see the “Low Battery Mode” warning on your smartphone?
If you’re like us, you frantically search for your power cord and the closest power source to keep your phone fully functional. And, if you realize you don’t have your charger, you wouldn’t think twice about asking to borrow a cord from a colleague, friend or possibly a stranger. Speaking from Ute’s perspective, “I have multiple power cords strategically placed to resuscitate my dear electronic devices– one in the car, one in my home office, and even one in my bedroom so my phone can recharge in sleep mode overnight and ‘wake up fully charged’, as I do, after a good night’s sleep.”
Sticking with the smartphone analogy for a minute, let’s reflect on our personal and professional well-being. Do you show as much concern for your own well-being as you do for your digital devices?
Take a breath; it’s a rhetorical question, but something to consider nonetheless, along with a couple of scenarios.
Imagine waking up after a good night’s sleep feeling fully recharged and ready to face the day ahead. The fact is, you may not yet know what your day has in store. Will it be the type of day where your personal battery maintains its charge as the day progresses? Or will it be a challenging day requiring a charger to reach the other end?
All is well when we’re optimistic about the day ahead, and unforeseen challenges don’t derail our energy. Ironically, sometimes our negative assumptions and judgments become a self-fulfilling prophecy! As Henry Ford said, “If you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right”. We can predict our own future by channeling our energies into what we anticipate.
Regardless of why, when you realize that your personal well-being batteries are drained by 10am, it’s time to ask yourself what first aid mechanisms are at your disposal. Are you fumbling for that charger to refill your human battery?
Here’s another question. Do you know how to give your personal battery a needed boost to preclude crashing at midday? Or better yet, how can you maintain your energy charge throughout the day so you can focus and be effective at work, and still have enough energy to live the rest of life?
As in the example of the smartphone, here are some suggestions to engage your own power cord:
Staying Green: What to do to recharge my battery?
- Take a 3-minute break to do a breathing exercise.
- Go for a quick walk around the block or venture out into the garden to distract my brain from the thoughts that are draining my battery. This often results in gaining a different perspective.
- Call a friend or a cherished colleague. Similar to asking a stranger for their power cord to juice up my phone, I benefit from an oxytocin boost that may refill my battery further, enabling me to remain productive and effective for the rest of the day.
These can be easy fixes, and we invite you to help us expand this list. Each of you has your own effective tricks to quickly recharge your energy during the day. Check out this article to get your creative juices flowing.
Staying Mellow Yellow: How can I enter “battery saving mode”?
- I determine what is urgent and then laser focus on this/these tasks.
- I take a breath, gain perspective and decide what to delegate to others.
- I make sure to get enough sleep, whether by prioritizing my bedtime or taking a power nap in the afternoon.
From our personal experiences it is challenging to stop all activities completely in order to recharge. Knowing the most impactful tasks and what to prioritize becomes crucial; the reward is exponential. You can cross the completed urgent matter off your to-do list while benefiting from the dopamine boost thanks to having accomplished something of substance, which replenishes your battery.
An overachiever’s tendency to ‘push through’ can drain their battery into the red zone. Separating the urgent from the important requires quick decisions when your battery is running low, before it becomes dangerous. This way, you remain ‘operational’ until you receive that next energy boost.
Dodge the Danger Zone:
What if we ignore messages from our body and stretch ourselves across endless days of calls, appointments and digital activities, thereby taxing our batteries to the point of exhaustion? What if the 3-minute breathing exercise or that nature walk are not enough to bring your battery back to full capacity?
One proactive step you can take is to determine what exactly drains your battery. What brings you into the red zone? Interestingly, our big energy leaks are rooted in emotional states of mind such as:
- Worrying about situations and circumstances that are beyond our control.
- Letting demands continue to pile on as we fall victim to believing we can’t possibly manage our workload.
- Being self-critical and judgmental perfectionists; lambasting ourselves for not having the energy and time to “do it all”.
We invite you to be proactive right now in this safe space by asking yourself:
- Can I quickly decide what is urgent and what is important so I can act in an instant when needed?
- Do I recognize when I am limiting myself with stories starting with the words “I can’t because……”?
- Do I know who or what can help me recharge effectively when needed?
- Do I know how to physically override the feeling of sluggishness?
If the answers to these questions are anything but “yes” across the board, then you’ve just identified four areas in which we can support you in building and sustaining your resilience. We’ll begin next time by looking at your personal energy in four dimensions. Are you in?