Do you have enough energy? Or do you often feel tired and irritable at the end of the day?
If so, you are not alone. Not having enough energy often comes up as a problem in my resilience workshops and coaching practice (more here).
Let me tell you about Prudence (name changed), a middle manager in a financial institution. When I started coaching her, she complained that at the end of the day she often felt drained, and struggled to pick herself up, bounce back and recover from life’s knocks and disappointments.
To analyse her situation, we used the template below:
What energises and drains you?
She started by listing the activities that build her energy at work and at home. Then she listed the activities that drain her energy. Finally, she estimated of the percentage of her time she spends on those activities.
(Note: the activities don’t add up to 100%, because many activities fall outside of the two categories)
This is what her analysis looked like:
Prudence: What energises and drains you?
We now had a clear picture of her energy problem! At work, she was spending triple as much time on activities that drained her energy, compared to those things that energised her. And at home, she was spending double as much time spent on activities that drained her energy, compared to the activities that energised her.
No wonder she was exhausted and dispirited at the end of the day!
There were nevertheless many things that she did at work and at home that were enjoyable. She feels enthusiastic and energised when doing them, but did not do them as often as she would like.
To capitalise on these insights, she identified several draining activities she could reduce spending time on by negotiating that they be done by her work colleagues. She also identified some changes she could make at home to reduce the time she spends on activities that drain her energy.
In addition, she felt she could increase the amount of time she spends doing things that energise and build her energy both at work and at home. For example, not flopping down in front of the TV at home would free up several hours a week!
Prudence was astounded. What previously felt overwhelmingly complicated was now relatively straightforward.
With her renewed enthusiasm and hope, we moved to action plans. We started off with a simple question: “What small step can you take right now?”
Prudence came up with four actions that she could immediately start working on to increase the amount of time she spends on activities that build her energy, and three actions to reduce the amount of time on the activities that drain her energy.
Now, three months later, she tells me she feels a different person. Her energy has increased and she is better able to be resilient to cope with the normal stresses of life. I was as thrilled as she was.
Do you have enough energy? If not, try this energy analysis to see if it will help you too.