Shorter days and cooler weather signify the changing of the seasons. Preparing your home for winter involves checking the caulking around your windows, the weather seals on your doors, inspecting your furnace and making sure you have a clean air filter. All of these steps are to fix any energy leaks and maximize the efficiency of your home. How do you check your life for energy leaks and maximize your efficiency?
Much like a worn out weather seal on the bottom of a door that leaks heat all winter, chances are that your life has some energy leaks that have gone undetected, and are draining your focus and energy. Taking some time to inspect your life, assess these potential leaks, and seal them will help you direct your energy where it is most helpful to you and achieving your goals.
“Where your focus goes, your energy flows.” -Unknown*
Having a clean and organized workspace is key to maximizing your efficiency. While you may think you need all those piles of paper, and you know where everything is, chances are that you waste an enormous amount of time looking for things or handling them twice. Trying to find a pen, paper clip, or stapler on a messy desk can be frustrating, and it slows you down. As simple as this sounds, look at your desk. Do you like what you see?
Organize your desk for efficiency. Keep your stapler where you can reach it with the hand you use to staple. Keep pens and paper clips within reach. If you have a pile of papers or books that you think you will need someday, but haven’t looked at them in weeks, either toss them or file them. They are sucking your energy by sitting on the desk.
At the end of each day, clean up your desk of all of today’s projects, and prepare it for tomorrow’s work. Taking five to ten minutes at the end of the day to clean your desk will help you start quickly the next day and seal this energy leak.
Another energy void in most people’s lives is their closet. Staring at this cluttered mass of cotton, wool, polyester and leather sucks your life force each morning as you decide what to wear and search for that perfect garment. When you are getting ready in the morning, your will power and decision making tank is at its fullest. Any time and thought wasted in your closet drains this tank and prevents you from being your best when the decisions truly matter.
Block out some time this weekend and organize your closet. You may have to go to Home Depot and invest in some organization and storage solutions to accomplish this, but it will be well worth it.
Look through your clothes and identify the items you never wear. Look at them. Do you love them? If the answer is not a resounding “yes!” then get rid of it. You can donate these to charity and feel good in the process.
If you need help with this, Marie Kondo is the master, and wrote The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. This book could truly change your life…and fix major energy leaks.
“Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all.” Marie Kondo
Yes, I am going there. No, I am not going to tell you how to get to inbox zero, or how to handle your messages. You already know the life-suck that exists here. This is simply to identify an energy leak you have and give you one way that I try to minimize the leak.
Look at all of the emails you get on a weekly basis that are subscriptions. Do you look forward to them and do they always give you great information that helps you in your focus areas? Or, are they marketing and other garbage that you typically delete without opening? Take some time to scrub your inbox by unsubscribing from everything. Yes, everything. If you find yourself needing something you can always re-subscribe. Do this every six months and you may be pleasantly surprised with your email volume.
After you have sealed the leaks on your desk, in your closet and your inbox, the final frontier is that big energy leak between your ears. If you are like me, then you probably have a ton of to-dos, tasks, ideas, and conversations running through your mind all day. Trying to organize those and find them at the right time can take a toll on your focus and leave you playing catch up on your major project for the day. Projects started but left unfinished can have disastrous effects on our energy and productivity.
To clear your “mental desk,” grab a pen and paper. Take five to ten minutes to simply write out everything on your mind. A complete mind dump on the paper. Every task, project, conversation, errand, and thought. After you have emptied your mind out on the paper, look at the list and put a circle next to everything you have control over. Place an X by the things you do not control. Let these go, and don’t give any more energy to them.
Look at the list of things you have circled. As you look over them, which ones are most important and give you a high return? Place a star by the three to five most important. Put these in your calendar and take action this week. For the remaining items, make a decision on when they can be scheduled, or decide that you are ok with letting them go, and release them.
“Out of clutter, find simplicity.” -Albert Einstein
Take some time this week to evaluate these four areas in your life and take action to seal those leaks. How will it feel to have your energy leaks sealed? What impact on your efficiency and effectiveness will this have? What additional energy leaks can you think of?
*This quote has been attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wayne Dyer, and Tony Robbins. The original source is unverified.