Have you ever noticed that some tasks on some days take hours – reviewing or writing a paper, a proposal, a presentation? And they’re still not ace, you’re not happy, you’ll have to come back to it to finish. So frustrating.
Another day, it takes 30 minutes. You pour your creativity, inspiration and energy into it, it’s flowed onto the paper and frankly it’s brilliant (well as brilliant as you’ll allow yourself to be). So invigorating.
Ever wondered at the difference? What’s behind it, why such a contrast? Shrug your shoulders and put it down to fate? Or time of day? Or the subject area? Or a bad/good night’s sleep? Which may all be relevant, but maybe it’s more….
And maybe you can influence and control it….
Because it’s all about energy.
As introvert, highly sensitive and empath leaders we only have a certain amount of energy each day, so we need to take care how we spend it.
We are very focussed on how we spend our time – calendars, scheduling, meetings, allocating time for x, y and z. Time management training, apps, tips, tools, techniques. But it doesn’t work, or only to an extent. And frankly an all coloured-in calendar drains me in itself as an highly sensitive person!
So here are three simple tips for managing your energy:
1. Make breaks between meetings
You process things deeply – what people have said, thoughts, emotions, ideas, challenges, disagreements. You’ll have ideas floating around all over the place in your head. Taking yourself out of this depth straight into a different subject/person (and a different depth), in back-to-back meetings, is very draining.
Not only that, but you cannot be fully present in both/all the meetings – you’re only half there, your brain’s full of cotton wool or what’s gone before, and people can sense that.
So make a break and do something mindful to settle yourself and get back out of your head – walk outside for 5 minutes, write your thoughts down, get a coffee and slowly sip it.
2. Group ‘like’ meetings or work areas together
Pulling your introverted, sensitive, empathic intellect and energy to and fro between chairing meetings/tasks/creation/being present for others, constantly, is energy sapping.
If you can focus your self onto one area for a time e.g. reviewing proposals/papers/work in the morning, and team meetings or 1:1s afternoon, then you stay in an energetic groove for a period of time. Which helps with focus and is much less of an energetic wrench. Try out grouping where you have control.
3. Manage incoming communications
As introverts, HSPs and empaths, every communication drains a little of our energy: face-to-face, email, calls, instant message apps, ‘virtual’ face-to-face. It all counts. You’ll be processing the content, tone, words, emotions, non verbal cues. And probably overthinking it a wee bit too!
If you’re constantly checking emails, have instant messages (with notifications) on all time, it’s unrelenting. Not to mention switching between what you’re doing (where your deeply processing brain is) and the communication, and back again. Oh, and you have meetings in between.
Checking emails only at certain times of the day and shutting the browser between times, turning off audio notifications for messages (even just when you’re concentrating on a task), letting people know you’re unavailable for a time, all helps.
All of this will challenge your inner people pleaser and hence may feel uncomfortable (as all growth does) so take it one tiny ladybird step at a time – try them out one by one, and see what happens!