Are you surprised by how tired you can get in a day you spent sitting in a chair and talking to people, be they clients or coworkers?
Well, it’s not just your body that consumes energy, your brain takes up a major bite out of your daily energy too.
Most of that goes to keeping the body running in order, and these are largely unconscious processes. But there is also a significant consumption by your conscious and subconscious mind, which you experience through your emotions, thoughts and behavior.
Thankfully, this segment on the brain can be controlled by these same parameters.
Just to be clear, you cannot stop this energy from being spent. You cannot switch off your mind; there is no switch.
But you need not conserve energy to make yourself feel energetic in the latter half of your day, just spend it better.
A big part of that mental draining is emotional; it’s often described as a frustration with life and its pace and direction, or a helplessness.
So if you can take out what is frustrating your mind without reward, you can get rid of the bitterness in your mind that causes you to give up at the end of the day and plop into bed.
Here are some thoughts and behaviors we allow to persist as habits which drain our mental energy
1. You wake up and panic
A lot of people wake up to their alarm clocks blaring (that’s what it sounds like to the ear at 6 in the morning), and then rush to take care of basic household chores before scuttling to work. Don’t be one of those people.
Mornings are a time when your mind is fresh and calm and hence, unfettered.
Throwing yourself into the world right as you get up is too much a shock, and you’re going to probably end up groggy and confused for a while.
Instead, spend a few quiet moments recollecting what you achieved the past day and where you could have done better, what you have planned for today, how you think it can be done and what you expect of yourself.
Let this be a few minutes of quiet introspection, divorced from any hustle.
2. You’re always scrolling through Facebook
I don’t care if it’s on the potty, or just your morning routine of catching up with friends. Facebook wastes time like nothing else.
Social media is all fun and games till you calculate how many hours you’re wasting from your day without gaining any reward from it.
The daily routine of going through your notifications and newsfeeds seems harmless, but people report that the biggest contributor to their lost time is the minutes you spend this way.
The only time it is excusable to check that stuff is probably in the bus or train to work, and even that time can be used better to up your productivity.
The choice between success and mediocrity was obvious, but never easy.
3. You’re always checking your email
You have an email account for a reason. Check it. But don’t keep coming back to it.
There is hardly anyone who gets a new email every minute, and ones who do probably don’t check 80% of them.
I prefer to check it once an hour, since my typical work assignment takes me about 50 minutes to complete.
Even then, I don’t have something that needs my immediate attention 50% of the time, even on busy days.
So all that time you’re spending, interrupting your task at hand to check the email tab, refreshing the page and looking up spam (“just in case”) is a huge waste.
It gets you frustrated, because you derive no reward out of it, and so you need to stop.
4. You haven’t had a good, healthy breakfast in a while
A glassful of orange juice is not breakfast. Nor is a cup of coffee from the fancy shop.
It beats me why people are so confounded to learn that they cannot run on sugar dusted cereal and milk alone.
Breakfast is a time when your body is waking up, getting itself ready to face the day. You need to load it up with enough calories and protein to make it ready.
That, unfortunately, doesn’t happen with hurried breakfasts of toast and pickle. There are tons of healthy meals you can make quickly and even eat on your way to work. Honestly, just google!
5. You don’t get your running shoes out anymore
Taking a morning jog can be a great way to get blood flowing to your brain and getting it oxygenated, kicking out any leftover drowsiness from a good night’s rest. Plus, it is known to boost health parameters too.
6. Napping is a rare treat for you
Science claims going 17 hours without a wink can cause a severe fall in productivity.
The truth is far too many of us go more than 17 hours constantly awake.
Sleep is essential to flush out toxins, and make your brain learn new information by shifting it from short term to long term memory.
You don’t need to set out 2 hours from your busy schedule to sleep at work.
Just use your lunch break to wolf down some food, and then spend 20 minutes in the lounge napping. You’ll notice how much more you get accomplished.
7. You waste time in gossip
This is an age old advise people keep getting but seldom take.
Only this time, it isn’t about how you’ll be perceived by your peers, and more about what its economy is in terms of effort, time and reward.
Assume you spend an hour gossiping with your friendly coworker, gym buddy or classmate. You get excited, get a few laughs out of it, and then go about with your work.
But that neither builds social or emotional connection (it might even be causing you to lose friends), nor does it solve any situation you might be worried about.
So the hour you spent is a huge waste, and an hour lost can be pretty significant.
8. You’re constantly overthinking
Overthinking drains your brain. You’ve already thought about this. C’mon! There are no new avenues the topic has opened in the last 20 minutes.
If you’re stuck thinking about stuff instead of getting things done, you can be sure you’ll end up without any reward for all the mental effort you’re putting in.
9. You get toxic people around yourself
There are always going to be people who are a bad influence.
They cause you to indulge in unproductive habits, socially, physically or emotionally damaging behaviors or instill a negative attitude in you about your goals, your job or life in general.
It is good to have some realistic evaluation, but if the results are coming out all negative, either you live the worst life on the planet, or you have a really toxic person’s evaluations going in your ear.
Trust me, they can bring you down much quicker than you can lift their spirits. So stave off them.
10. You don’t learn something new
Nothing beats the feeling of reward when you get a new trick under your belt.
It isn’t about making yourself useful in a situation; it’s about the feeling of being capable of growth despite the odds your mind says you face.
Learn a new language, a sport, card tricks, a card game, a life skill, a dance form, or just how to bake a cake! Investing the effort and watching yourself grow as a person as a result of that effort is sure to replenish your drive to excel.
Are there any suggestions you have? Tell me in the comments below.