“…every movement of your body, every emotion you have, and every thought that passes through your mind is an expenditure of energy. Just as everything that happens outside in the physical world requires energy, everything that happens inside requires an expenditure of energy.” From The Untethered Soul
“Coach, I’m tired,” said one little boy to my husband on his 7-8 year-old baseball team. Practice had only been going on for ten minutes and they hadn’t even been running.
To which my husband asked, “Why are you tired?”
“Well, I played at the trampoline park all day. I’m wore out,” he said.
This humorous encounter led my husband to set guidelines for the team on what activities were okay for them to engage in prior to their first All-Star tournament game on Saturday.
Swimming? No. Riding your bike or running around the neighborhood all day? No. And definitely no trampoline park.
My husband’s goal is conserve his players’ energy so they have enough gas in their tanks for a 5:30 pm game in the summer heat.
He may take baseball too seriously, but I think this encounter holds an important lesson for us all.
We all have a finite amount of energy to give. Whether it is physical energy as in this example or emotional or mental energy, we often expend it on things and people that do not lead to positive outcomes or results. We come to things that we need to be fully engaged in totally drained. And it’s not because of the activity in the present, it’s the activity in the past.
I know I struggle with this, do you? In thinking about ways to combat it:
- Examine your commitments and tasks by things that leave you drained, energized, or neutral. I’ve seen planners and time management systems organized around this mindset. It makes a lot of sense. Also, I would encourage you to analyze your relationships or people by this mindset as well.
- Get rid of most of the things that drain you. We’ve all got to do laundry in our life, whether is actual laundry or metaphorical laundry, that no one find particular energy in. We also have relationships that leave us at a net loss in energy for a period, but dedication to this person(s) is important. Hello, anyone that has ever been sleep deprived because of a newborn at home. However, much of what drains us is optional. I would encourage you to eliminate at least two things this week that drain you. Say no to something.
- For the draining tasks you just can’t abandon, chunk them together and schedule time to get them done. Often being able to check off multiple things on your to-do list at once, even if they are tasks you dislike, can lead to increased energy.
- Add one thing to your week that builds energy for you. It could be a workout, a good night’s sleep, or a particular activity (like what I’m doing now, writing energizes me) that leads to more energy. Schedule a time to do this each week like it is any other appointment you can’t take off your calendar.
- If you are a part of a team at work and/or a team at home, make your draining, energizing and neutral list as a group. You’ll probably be surprised to find that you aren’t assigning responsibilities based on what builds energy for individuals and thus the team. Swap tasks around as needed and appropriate.
- Realize everything you do is an opportunity to shine your light. Light requires energy. Ask yourself regularly, Am I shining or am I not?
“The more you stay open, the more energy flow you can build…it starts flowing out of you…..What’s more, the energy [flowing out of you] affects other people. People can pick up on your energy, and you’re feeding them with this flow. You become a source of light for those around you.” From The Untethered Soul