Energy Vampires

What did you pick up from last week’s blog post on generating your own energy? You were at least reminded of things you knew to do but may have slipped out of the habit of doing. Hopefully you picked up one new habit along the way.

Another energy drain in your life is distraction. Part of the reason distraction is an energy drain is because it takes multiple, frequent decisions. Decision making burns glucose. I talked about that in the blog post “Kit, Help Me Say ‘No’” . Designing your day so that you have as few distractions as possible is more energy conserving than just going with the flow and hoping to get everything done. And that makes for a more productive day too.

Do you design, or plan, your day? Using a productivity or time management chart is one great way to plan your day. That’s not the same thing as a To-do list. It’s a tool to help you track the things you have to get done in a day and, the people you need to be in contact with. You could also use it to make sure you get your exercise done, take your 50-minute breaks, eat well, and other tasks that you may overlook without a planned day.

What counts as a distraction? Are any of them more energy sucking than others? I guess that depends on you, but from personal experience the most energy sucking distraction I’ve experienced is games — games on the computer, tablet, and phone. I’ve had to think about why, for me, they are so energy sucking.

I see several elements at play, making electronic games so draining for me. They include lots of decision making, sitting still (often with poor posture) not taking 50 minute breaks to oxygenate and hyrdate, and it’s still mind-numbing after some amount of time even when a game requires thinking and creativity.

The other energy-sucking distractions I see in my life, and the lives of those around me, include social media, phone calls, texts and instant messages, email, and TV. These activities are sucking your energy because they tease you into changing your focus and into making additional decisions.

The activities mentioned here aren’t the issue. It’s the timing of them that’s the issue. Block your time each day so that you can focus on one thing during that time. Don’t let the distractions take you off track. Be sure to plan Distraction Blocks so you can have a balanced day that’s full of energy and productivity. The plan keeps your day in your control, and your energy higher.

Mindfulness during your day keeps you focused on the things you want and need to do. Make sure that some of the things you do are relaxing and add joy to your life. Focus on those things, those distractions — while you are doing them and watch them not drain your energy.

When you plan them, “distractions” are an integral part of your day and not an energy draining activity. When they are part of a plan, an activity that would otherwise be an energy-sucking distraction becomes an energy-boosting event.

Be in charge of your mind and your day. See what happens for you. You might just end the day with more energy. That sounds like a win to me!

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