Here is one concept for high performers that will transform your productivity and happiness for 2017.
If you are reading this, chances are you are a Type A high-achieving individual who is success and work driven.
And yet, there is something that is missing – an ease, and sense of balance. You know you can improve yourself, but you don’t know what to focus on. You may have sensed it already: you are likely working too hard at a mere percentage of the level of productivity that you are capable of.
Think of it this way, all the systems that you have in place (and high-performing people are really good at building systems) may actually be keeping you back from a higher level of performance and happiness.
The one thing I consistently notice with high performing clients is that they are great at building systems, but these systems overlook one fundamental KPI: energy balance.
Energy management: the key to greater productivity
Let’s try a little thought experiment:
Think about the most successful projects that you’ve worked on. Now, bring to mind the favorite people in your life. Recall a time when you were happiest and felt most connected to your purpose and your personal best.
What do these all have in common?
They gave you energy.
Now, what about a meeting or project that you dreaded or when your overly negative and needy friend called to have a complain session over drinks. Or, (as in my personal case), think of all the areas you misspent your time and resources this past year.
What do these scenarios have in common?
They drained you of energy.
When I work with high-performers, or anyone who has an incredible ability to focus and get tasks done, the most successful ones are the ones who spend most of their time on people and projects that give them energy. And for those unavoidable odious tasks: they will either find a way to make the task itself energizing or they will find ways to balance their energy levels by making sure to recharge afterward.
For example, if they have to meet with a difficult supervisor or employee, they may request to have the meeting in a location where they feel more comfortable and relaxed. Afterward, they will opt to go for a quick walk or treat themselves to a nice cold-brew to recharge. Also, they tend to schedule fun tasks after more taxing ones so they can have something to look forward to.
Using Energy Management to actively prevent burnout
The high-performers who burn out do so because they push ahead in their work without taking into consideration the toll it has on their energy. Because energy encompasses brain function, mental clarity, decision making, complex thinking, interpersonal relationships, emotional balance and physical health–there is a high cost to constant energy drain, especially for people who already have a tendency to push themselves.
How do you best avoid burnout?
Start thinking about your life and your tasks in terms of net-energy gained or lost.
Studies have shown that, surprisingly, the brain has finite energy reserves and, unless we take time to replenish these energy levels through proper nutrition and rest, we suffer for it. We will not only face decision fatigue and loss of productivity we may actually make decisions that are damaging for our health and our lives.
What is the impact of constant net-energy loss on your life?
You may have experienced some of the symptoms:
Your family and good friends wondering where you are
Feeling more and more stuck and trapped in your work
We tend to understand these consequences, but really, the most important problem, and what people rarely think about is: the opportunity cost of all this energy depletion.
Quantifying the effects of energy imbalance
When I reflect back on my year – all of my meetings, social events and tasks, I could have probably cut all these items by 40% and wouldn’t have known a difference in my network or my bottom line.
However, this would have clearly afforded me more time to cultivate deeper relationships with friends and colleagues and also granted me more creative space to plan ahead in my business rather than getting stuck in the weeds and being reactive.
There is a real cost to near burnout
Frighteningly, by not focusing on people and projects that gave me energy and rather, doing things that I was “supposed to do” and attending meetings and events that were “expected” of me but that ultimately hurt my bottom line: this cost me nearly $60,000 in income.
Energy drain can be subtle and insidious and often times we don’t recognize it until it’s too late. In hindsight, I can clearly see the cost of this to my health and to my business. In the past two months, I’ve already installed active measures and have noticed a huge difference just by applying this concept of energy balancing.
My personal goal for 2017 is to make sure that all of my success is built on a foundation of core energy-positive lifestyle choices such as: rest, travel, rejuvenating relationships and strong physical and spiritual practices.
Making active changes to affect your energy management right now:
Here is what you can do to make sure you apply this concept immediately.
Take a look at these 3 things:
1.) Your calendar
2.) Your social circle
3.) Your lifestyle
Go through each and every item and ask yourself “Does this give me energy or does this drain me of energy?” and take out everything that doesn’t give you energy.
Energy management work in action:
Last Wednesday I conducted an Activation Session with a local business owner. He owns a small and very lucrative brokerage with a handful of employees and raving customers. As a way to increase his selective client base, he has spent years building a gigantic network of folks and curating special events, workshops and networking opportunities for every single “partner,” spending “dozens of hours” interacting with each one individually.
This client, let’s call him Steve, has a massive spreadsheet of each person and their interests and hobbies and tracks his interactions with them.
When we discussed the next phase of his business, Steve said he wanted to be more efficient with his time and increase productivity and profitability. More importantly, I could see that he felt that he should spend a certain amount of time with his partners to cultivate the relationship but it was really eating away at his family time and at his mental reserves–especially since nearly 70% of these partners were energy drains.
One of the solutions we created to overhaul this overwhelm for Steve was to go through his massive partner list and referral list and take out every single person that, when he thought about them, drained him of energy. This included people who were his friends, even people who have referred him business.
Resistant to this approach, Steve asked, “Why don’t I create a metric where I calculate how many referrals they have given me and whether or not they are a giver or a taker?”
“Why create an extra layer of work for yourself when you already know the opportunity cost of having energy drainers in your life and, especially, in your business?” I asked.
The impact of these energy drainers not only cost Steve time (dozens upon dozens of hours) but also un-traceable amounts of stress and, most importantly, the opportunity cost of his time and mental energy. In this case, he was so caught up in upkeeping his personal networks, most of which were energy drains, that for years, he didn’t have enough mental bandwidth to develop a potential sales funnel that was growing in the background.
By the end of our two-hour Activation Session, we had a clear plan for Steve to clean house. Also, we identified a strategic, yet undeveloped source of direct client leads for Steve’s company through SEO and inbound marketing. Now, he can cultivate his clients directly and at the same time choose to work with partners that he actually likes.
When Steve clears his energy drains, he is free to think and plan ahead rather than be stuck by an outdated process. Instant productivity, profitability and mental clarity.
Ask yourself, is the way that you are doing things now keeping you from finding a better solution?
Do you need help identifying your personal energy drains?
If you want help to start your new year with a personalized profitability and productivity plan, let’s talk: firstname.lastname@example.org