Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Watch Out for Energy Sinkholes

Energy sinkholes are situations that repeatedly drain your energy and add to your stress. Since we work and live in a chaotic world there are plenty of good reasons to invest your energy wisely. Unfortunately, it is often hard to see sinkholes, which slowly drain your energy until you are stressed, depressed and unproductive.

The best way to get out of these sinkholes is to create a routine. Having a preplanned method to handle these situations can keep your mind focused on more important things and enabling you to bounce back when stressful situations arise. Here are five sinkholes that may be keeping you from bouncing back:

1 - Disorganization
Having to constantly find documents or forgetting commitments and appointments puts you in a huge sinkhole. The solution is to create a system for organizing and routinely tidy it up.

2 - Poor Diet and Lack of Exercise
Staying fit keeps your energy levels high. Even if you don’t have a weight problem you can still be drained because you aren’t fit, so don’t use the scale as the measurement. Here are some things you might want to consider to get out of this energy trap:
  • Make a Routine. Find a gym partner, class or workout time that you can exercise at least three to four times per week. Try it for 30 days to see how it goes.
  • Replace Foods One at a Time. Don’t try to overhaul your eating habits overnight. Switch out one unhealthy food type for a month before making more changes.
  • Time Your Meals. The best way to eat would probably be five or six smaller meals spread throughout the day. Since this isn’t a reality for most people, a decent alternative is simply to time your meals so your blood sugar levels remain steady throughout the day.

3 - Focus on Your Strengths
Use your strengths to help you through a sinkhole. If you are great at organization, rely on that to help you. If your attitude is your best feature, use it to help you through the day.

4 - Squeaky Hinges
A squeaky hinge is any piece of technology, process, or protocol that works, but has irritating side-effects. If the solution to a squeaky hinge is cheap, fix it immediately. If the solution is expensive, write down the total cost and keep track of any wasted time/money due to the problem and present it to your leadership or significant other.

5 - Pleasing People
Don’t waste your energies trying to fit others expectations. We spend a lot of time meeting others needs and not our own. At the end of the day, we haven’t allowed any time to renew, refresh and invigorate ourselves. So, we carry that sinkhole into the evening and the next day. Know what is urgent and what is not, and learn to prioritize your time.

--Lani Kee
Manager, Martin Memorial Center for Health and Healing

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