Listen to the audio or read below for the transcript. This episode is 16 minutes long.
Happy Tuesday, lovely! I’m Andreea, your host here on The Introvert That Could Podcast. Every episode is a mix of tips on productivity, time management, and how to move forward when you’re stuck, with a sprinkle of motivation and a side of relevant personal stories. I want you to have all the tools and support you need to face the challenges of being an introvert and take action, because without action, there are no results. Let’s dive in!
Welcome to Episode 4! Today we’ll talk about energy drainers.
And you’re probably thinking about some of the obvious stuff, like your job, but I have something different in mind.
You know when you hear a quote over and over again and you think, “wow, so inspirational”, and you share it with your friends, get a few likes and then you go back to your activities and that quote means nothing for you anymore. But then, one day, you hear the same thing told by someone else, in a slightly different way, and it changes everything.
For me, that was:
“Where focus goes, energy flows”.
Sounds pretty, it rhymes, it’s inspirational, but it does nothing for me. But one day, I heard dr. Joe Dispenza saying this:
“Where you place your attention is where you place your energy.”
And I finally got it. It had an impact on me because I realized that every single thing I focus or put my attention on, takes energy away from me, be that thing useful or not.
Although energy is a renewable resource, time is not. So even if tomorrow you’ll wake up fresh, you only have about 15000 more tomorrows. And, if you used your energy on the positive thoughts or actions only, you would achieve whatever you want faster.
I absolutely understand people who tell me that they’d like to exercise or work on a side hustle, but they’re tired when they get home from work in the evening. I 100% believe that, and you can use willpower for a while, but if there’s no energy, it’s not going to work long term. By the way, my advice for this is to do it in the morning, wake up early and work on yourself first. Lunch time is also great for exercise.
So what drains your energy and what can you do about it? What I usually do is catch myself doing that, tell myself “stop! not useful” and change the focus to something else. I compiled a list of 5 energy drainers that I think are most common. I also asked on social media and got a few answers, which I included.
I want to start with worry because it’s special. It’s a feeling that pretends to be necessary, makes you think that if you stop worrying, you stop caring. But if you think about it, does it ever help?
If all you can focus on is the negative scenarios and the problems, how much energy do you still have left to think about the solution?
And if you only focus on the negative scenarios, what do you think will happen? What do you think you’ll create? And then you’ll say, “ah, I knew it”. Self-fulfilling prophecy.
In my own personal development journey, worry was the hardest to overcome, so here are my best tips:
- Catch yourself doing it and make a different choice. “stop, not useful” or “Thanks, brain. I appreciate the concern, but I got this.”
- Try to remember a time when you had a problem you didn’t fix. You’ll see that it’s very, very hard to find one of those. So you can have the belief that this one will get resolved, too. If that’s the case, why worry? Your problems don’t get fixed because you worry about them.
- Ask yourself if what you’re worrying about will matter in 5 minutes, 5 days, 5 years. If not, why even tire your brain with it?
- One of my mantras is, “life will never give you something you can’t handle”. Maybe You’re supposed to go through this so you can either grow or learn from the experience. But If your brain is stuck in worry, it will be difficult to see the opportunities.
2. Making decisions
I think you’ll agree with me when I say that making a decision can sometimes be as tiring as a full day at work. It’s tough on the brain, and there is research that shows that professionals that have decision making as their job – doctors or judges for example, start to make poorer and poorer choices and the day advances, so they intentionally leave their easier cases for the second half of the day.
There’s also the story about the jam seller that goes to market 2 days in a row. One day, she only sells strawberry jam and sells loads of them. The next day, she offers 20 types of jam and guess what, 0 sales! The brain can’t cope with too many options, it goes into overload and you end up not choosing at all.
And unfortunately we don’t use most of our decision making energy for important life choices, but on silly things like what to eat or what to wear.
I’ve been back home this summer and had lunch with my mom. Because I’m vegan and there were less options on the menu, it took me a very short time to decide what I’m gonna have. My mom, on the other hand, gave herself about 15 to 20 minutes. I was so pissed off that instead of spending time with me, she kept browsing the menu.
Aaaanyway. When it comes to choices, my best advice, and I know it’s against the idea of living life fully (though I don’t think so), is to set some rules for yourself and limit your choices.
- For example, a small wardrobe with pieces that can be combined easily. Random detail here: Last week I started to go to Yoga class in my house slippers. I only walk from the door to the car and from the car to the studio door, so I don’t even bother putting on proper shoes anymore.
- Cut some foods from your life so you don’t even have to think about them. With my vegan diet, and the fact that I limit processed foods as much as possible, food planning and shopping are very easy. I also don’t drink fizzy drinks, except for sparkling water and the occasional San Pelegrino lemonade when I go out. These are decisions I made years ago and that I don’t have to make over and over again, they’re out. I give food as example because we eat 3 times a day, sometimes more. If every single time, you spend 5 minutes thinking what to have, that’s 15 minutes a day, or 91 hours in a year. Do you know you could write a book in 91 hours?
But you won’t understand the power of boundaries until you try, so I suggest you pick one and work with it for a while, give it a good go.
For other type of decisions, I have a YouTube video with tips on how to pick between two options when you’re stuck. Watch it here.
If you have any more ideas on how one could simplify their life to avoid making too many decisions, please leave a comment. I’m always up for trying something new if it can make life easier and give me more time and energy back.
3. Certain conversations
- Someone answered on my FB post that she gets tired if the person talking to her is complaining continuously, and I couldn’t agree more. Have you been on Twitter recently? I completely stopped going on Twitter and I uninstalled the app because it’s now an outlet for frustration, complaining, rants, and it was making me do the same. If my train was late, I hopped on Twitter to complain to the train company. When there were a bunch of girls in the gym locker room eating McDonalds, I had to go on Twitter to express how appalling I thought that was. So, no more twitter.
- Discussions about politics kill me, I avoid them like the plague. I don’t want to have anything to do with that. Especially when the other person gets super passionate, almost aggressive about their views, I just want to run away, I don’t have time for that.
- Useless chitchat fits into this category too. When I know the discussion won’t evolve, I don’t even bother anymore. It’s probably the reason why I don’t go out very often. I do have friends, and try to see them regularly to catch up (that might mean once a quarter by the way), but spending hours talking a few times a week is a no-no for me. I wouldn’t get anything done.
4. Keeping todo items or objects only because you think you should or because you want to be someone who you’re not
- Do you ever add tasks on your todo list because you think you should, but you really don’t want to do them and it’s 99% probable that they won’t get done? So why write them down in the first place? And then continuously feeling guilty that you’re not doing it. I have a hole in my PJ pants and it’s been there for a while. So in the beginning, I kept saying to myself that I should fix them, because it’s not nice to have a hole in your pants. The hole is on the leg, by the way, and not very visible, because of the polar bears pattern. And after stressing about it for a while, I decided to drop the idea completely, because I don’t really care that much. By the way, I talk about pruning your todo list as one of the steps in my free PDF called “From overwhelm to taking action. 6 steps to find more time in your day, declutter your todo list and get more done”, you can download it here.
- Projects or hobbies that you started and you can’t let go of because you spent either a lot of time or a lot of money on them. Hey, I’m all for finishing what you start, but not at the expense of you doing what you like to do, what’s important, or what’s more aligned with who you are.
Remember, every time you focus on one of these things, you take time and energy away from what matters more.
And speaking of alignment, a couple of years ago we had a vegetable garden. We thought we are the kind of people who can have a vegetable garden. We wanted to be. Buuuut, we’re not.
Though there was passion on Alin’s side, I had none, he lacked the skills, and we both lacked the time to take care of the garden. It was always at the bottom of the priority list. All the tomatoes died, the weeds were slowly but surely taking over, and we ended up eating mostly beans from that garden. We did not repeat the mistake the next year, gave up all the tools, and completely freed our mind of the idea.
I know there are people who love that stuff, and happily spend 10 minutes washing a salad leaf that’s full of mud and possibly living beings, but I’m not. I prefer my salad from the supermarket.
5. The news
Oh, please stop watching that.
It’s useless, mostly negative information, meant to exploit the fact that the human brain is designed to look out for danger. It’s supposed to get your attention, so then someone can monetize on it.
You will feel in no way happier or more fulfilled after watching or reading the news. The important information will still somehow get to you, without you being hooked to the TV or internet.
Whenever something bad happens in London, I hear about it from my mother, because she is hooked to the TV and constantly stressing about everything that’s wrong with the world. Meanwhile, I protect my brain from all that stuff, and it’s not because I don’t care, it’s because I can’t do anything about it. That stuff already happened.
As always, let’s do a short recap:
- Worry is unnecessary
- Limit the number of decisions you have to make
- Don’t spend too much time doing research; give yourself a deadline and then make a decision
- Have a small, capsule wardrobe that makes picking an outfit easy
- Plan your meals and cut some foods from your life
- Move away from conversations, or people, that drain your energy
- Uninstall Twitter
- Declutter your todo list and your home of items that don’t align with who you are, or make you feel guilty
- Stop watching the news
A final reminder that every time you focus on something, you spend energy and time on it. Energy is renewable, but time is not.
This was it for this episode, but if you want to continue the conversation, I’d love to hear from you! Comment here or find me on Facebook and Instagram. But the best thing you can do is sign up for the Life Lesson Letter, the weekly email I send out every Thursday with new content and insider-only freebies and details. Sign up now and you’ll get instant access to all available goodies, including the latest PDF “From overwhelm to taking action: 6 steps to find more time in your day, declutter your to-do list and get things done“. Just go to coachmeamazing.com/lifelessonletter
Thanks so much for being here and I’ll catch you on the next one! Have an amazing day!