Understand your emotional energy

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Every morning just before you wake, the energy fairy visits you and gives you a portion of emotional energy for the day. Each one of us is allotted a similar amount of emotional energy every morning. When you have spent that emotional energy it’s more or less gone until the next day.

When that emotional energy is gone, everything you try to do seems harder. There are a few things you can do to recharge your emotional batteries and there are a few things you can do that will drain your emotional batteries.

This energy is limited so we need to be wise in how we spend each day’s allotted energy.

It is the source and power of all your creativity. So we need to understand that our best work will normally be achieved within three to four hours of waking.

This means that, where possible, we should do the most important things for the day in the morning, when our emotional energy is fully charged. Get up earlier if you have to.

Professional negotiators often plan important negotiations for late afternoon when the people they are trying to negotiate with will have fewer resources to argue with them. It’s easier for them to sell their ideas to people running on low emotional energy. So beware of agreeing in the afternoon to doing something you may later regret.

Depending on where you fit on the introvert/extrovert scale of things, you will likely gain energy in different ways. By the way, no one is either extrovert or introvert, but these are opposite ends of a scale, and all of us fit somewhere between to two. And please don’t confuse introversion with being shy or quiet either. Basically, the nearer to the extrovert end of the scale you are, the more likely that you gain energy through outside stimulus and being with a crowd. By contrast, the nearer you are to the introvert end of the scale, the more you are likely to gain energy from solitude and time to think.

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For example, I’m nearer the introvert end of the scale. This surprises some people because I do a lot of public speaking, so I don’t appear shy. But that’s a misconception about introverts anyway. But I do need a daily dose of solitude and quietness to survive emotionally. I need to think and process the day.

By contrast, a friend of mine is more extrovert. He gains energy from outside stimulus. When he feels low, he’ll invite a load of people round for a barbeque. This recharges his emotional energy, whereas for me it would be quite draining after a while.

Once we identify what energises us and what drains us, we need to have sufficient periods of the thing that energises us. If we let several days go past without those energising activities we will start to feel stressed.

One more thing, avoid angry, negative or toxic people. Anger, negativity, and toxic behaviour will always drain everyone. Anger drains the angry person as well as those to whom the anger is directed. Everyone loses.

So take a step back. Observe when in the day you feel most alive and energised. When in the day do you feel most drained? Can you plan your day to use your higher energy times for your more creative activities?

I try to write first thing in the morning for an at least an hour. It’s my most creative time and I want to use it well. Things like admin, meetings and other stuff can wait till later in the day.

Social media can drain us too. Taking in lots of unimportant information, amusing cat videos, and similar stuff can use up our precious emotional energy. Chose a less important time in the day for that stuff if you want to maximise your creativity.

What about you? What gives you emotional energy? What drains your emotional energy?

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