Career, personal life not rocking your socks off? Going through the motions and just not ‘feeling’ it? You might benefit from an Energy Audit.
An Energy Audit is a great little tool — which you can use at any time in your life — to keep you on track to making sure you’re working, living and feeling like you’re contributing to the best version of yourself — a happy, fulfilled, proud person.
Clear the crap to make room for awesome
Like ‘fetch’, happy doesn’t just ‘happen’. There’s a ton of elements that go into it – how you’re feeling, the people you surround yourself with, the types of things you’re doing, where you’re doing it and with whom – all have an impact.
To eliminate the stuff that isn’t making you feel great, you’ve first got to identify the problem. You have to eliminate the stuff that doesn’t make you happy to make room for the stuff that does.
The brain can only handle so much info until it reaches capacity and it loses the ability to either
- take on new information
- retain perspective
- be open / responsive to new ideas
Energizers vs Energy Suckers
What you want to do is create a map for when you feel energised vs not energized, and what contributes to that.
A — energizers
B — energy suckers
C — (keep this column empty — I’ll tell you why later).
Under these two columns, create two sections:
- People (people you’d interact with in any given week)
- Activities (work, home, play — anything you actively DO).
- Items (physical objects – I’ll show you why this is important shortly).
Then, list every possible person, activity you interact with on any given week into either an energizing activity, or energy sucking. Consider how you feel before, during and after dealing with each person, completing an activity, or thought process. Here’s an example:
- People: my BFF’s, collaborators, weightlifting classmates — these are my energizing people! They bring out the best in me. They make me feel proud to be the best version of myself. I feel energized after hanging with these people.
- People: glass half empty gym goer, grumpy barista at local cafe, passive aggressive colleague — energy suckers. I feel tired after interactions with these people! I feel apologetic for being myself and well that’s just a lose lose situation.
- Activity energizers: early morning coffee meetings, CrossFit, double lunches, running, performing, meeting passionate people — energizing! I feel great before, during and after each of these activities.
- Activity suckers: doing things that are either not ‘super productive or super pleasurable‘ (eg scanning Facebook), cooking anything that takes longer than 20 minutes, listening to people complain, anything involving staying very still or very quiet. Just NO.
Items + association = limiting feeling
Then, — and this may sound a little nuts — in the ‘item’ section, pop items that you have in your life that make you feel awesome and items in your life that really don’t sit right with you — any why. You’d be surprised at how a physical object can impact your overall happiness — they all tie into a thought pattern. Here’s a few examples:
- Item energizers: my Helmut Lang black leather jacket (THIS JACKET GIVES ME LIFE), my collection of limes from a friends lime tree, this new scented candle a client gave me; my fave leather jacket and my new indoor plant! I feel happy when I look at these things. The jacket reminds me of my trip to my spiritual home, NYC, the candle of the awesome team I worked with recently, the limes as they’re a luxury item.
- Item suckers: the broken part of my home desk (everyday I catch my jacket on it), the big blue IKEA bag that I’m using to store my ever growing collection of workout gear. I feel frustrated when I look at these things. They remind me I haven’t gotten around to fixing the desk or putting my workout clothes AWAY. They make me feel disorganised, which contributes to feeling frustrated, etc.
Identify the frequency
Next step is to identify the frequency of your interaction with said person / activity — and the level of energizing — or sucking they provide. The objective of this is to map out exactly how much of your time are with the suckers — and where the opportunities are to inject more awesome people and activities in your life.
Quickly list how much of your time is spent with said person / activity. For example, if you see you’re spending the bulk of your early morning coffees, the start to your day, feeling annoyed at the grumpy barista — you can safely go and find a new local cafe. Easy fix, less headache MORE AWESOME.
You got options, baby!
Now you have your list of energizers and suckers. Flick to the suckers section (where you now have the amount of time spent). This is where you actively propose a solution. Remember, these can be as small or big as you like — any change is good. (Remember the definition of insanity is doing the same things, expecting different results. Find a solution — no matter how big or small — and you’ll feel instantly – even just slightly better).
Sucker: negative coworker who loves to complain.
Frequency: I have to sit next to them every day.
- I could move to a different desk.
- I could propose I ‘hot desk’ once a week to work with other areas of the business.
- I could buy some noise cancelling headphones?
- I could let them know I have a big deadline and will be free to chat after 5pm (and leave IMMEDIATELY AT 5PM).
Decide, then DO
This will only work if you decide you want to feel better than you do now.
If you don’t genuinely love what you do, don’t really dig the people you do it with and feel like there’s a disparity between the private ‘you’ and the public ‘you’ — well that’s a delightful cocktail for not feeling great, a loss of control and underwhelmed in general.
Studies have shown happier people are the most productive, fulfilled and inspired. You will only do your best work if you feel the best possible version of yourself. Decide, make that commitment to yourself, put yourself and how you feel first— then do it, already.