Are You a Big Spender of Energy, Time and Focus?
By Jacquie Wise
Most of us keep some sort of budget when it comes to monitoring our financial expenditure, but few of us have any idea of where our energy and focus is going.
Are you sure you are spending your energy and time wisely?
Imagine you knew someone who had $1000 a day to spend at will. Sounds like a pretty good lifestyle. But what would you think if you saw them use a wad of $50 bills to scrape a paint spill off the floor, roll up a $100 bill to start the barbecue and tear up $250 into strips to pack into a parcel? Nobody would behave that way, right? Nobody in their right mind, at least.
Imagine that you have one thousand units of energy to spend as you wish every day. How much you budget for physical energy, emotional energy, spiritual energy or mental energy is entirely your choice. Are you spending it wisely?
Could you be putting $50 into resentment, $170 into regret, $300 into resistance, maybe $95 worrying about the impression you give, $150 into excuses—and maybe wasting another $250 trying to change other people? And what about that whopping $600 on burning the candle at both ends? By this time, you are drawing on reserves—as dangerous as living on credit.
A healthy lifestyle is created in the same way as a healthy bank balance.
Back to the budgeting analogy: you know how to keep a financial budget—you begin by taking note of all your expenditure, then you ensure it doesn’t exceed your income. Or if you have high outlays, you find ways to increase your income to restore the balance. You might curtail your expenses for a while, until you’ve accumulated a few savings. After that, you need to monitor and maintain your plan to ensure continued success.
As you would with the cash in your pocket, you need be more mindful, moment by moment, of how much energy you are squandering on futile attitudes, perhaps unrealistic expectations. At least you can become aware of where most of your energy is being spent.
It’s easy to assess your physical energy levels. You’re either bouncing or you’re beat.
Ensure you have adequate rest so that you can continue to function at your peak. But at any age, functioning at peak performance levels for too long just leads to exhaustion.
Maybe it’s time to curtail your energy expenditure for a while, or at least find ways to restore the balance. Veg out in front of the TV; learn to take power naps; improve your sleeping patterns.
What’s adequate rest for you may be very different to what others might need. It’s a fallacy that we need eight hours sleep a night. It has been medically proven that too much sleep can make you sluggish. Your optimum level might be six hours, or less. Experiment and observe how you feel.
Keep your health and energy at optimum levels with nutritious meals. If you skip meals, (thereby wrecking your metabolism) or over-indulge on junk, at least increase your intake of the known Super-foods—bananas, blackberries, brazil nuts, cabbage, capsicum, cauliflower, strawberries —there are others; I have the complete list if you’re interested, just contact me.
Exercise expands your energy. Like many other people who are allergic to exercise, I used to believe I didn’t have the energy for a regular exercise regime. When a very good friend managed to drag me by the hair some years ago to a gym, I was staggered at how much extra energy and vitality I gained after just a few weeks. Never would have believed it. The gym thing only lasted three months (not flexible enough for me) but I do go on brisk walks several times a week, (sometimes dragging a friend by the hair). You need to find something that’s enjoyable, and that suits your personality, preferences and priorities.
There’s always incidental exercise: taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking to the shops, parking your car at a train station before your stop and walking the rest, stretching as you bend to pick things up off the floor. Dance to music as you do your housework.
Using too much mental energy can give you a headache, or can lead to concentration, focus and memory difficulties…
…Not to mention insomnia, irritability, and more white hair and wrinkles than you need.
You may be one of these people who use their logical, left-brain processes predominantly. Balance is restored with creative right-brain activities, which include gardening and cooking as well as musical or artistic pursuits. It’s called having FUN (remember, that stuff that makes you laugh and lose yourself in the moment?)
Meditate to still your mind for half a second. It doesn’t have to mean staring into space for an hour. Meditation techniques include listening to music without thinking, watching flames in the fireplace, day-dreaming, or learning to be the observer of your mind, just watching the thoughts and images that float through and learning to let them go will increase your spiritual energy.
Are you a constructive or destructive worrier? Destructive worry is when you allow yourself to be sucked down into a black hole of negativity; when you can’t stop your mind from mulling a situation over and over…and over. It just leads to anguish. Constructive worry is when you are focusing on one issue only and working out an action plan. It leads to a conclusion.
When was the last time you took a real break? Not just for a few days that disappear if you dare blink, but a full four-to-six-week break, which allows you to switch off and unwind. If that’s not possible, then more frequent short breaks will give your energy levels a much-needed boost on a regular basis.
It can be harder to assess where you are spending your emotional energy.
One of the essential ingredients to happy relationships is communication, and that means the ability to talk feelings, not just common goals. In these supposedly more enlightened days, it’s still very common to find families who have difficulty expressing feelings at all, never mind appropriately. Many people still believe some emotions, such as anger or sadness, are negative and should be suppressed. Good way to grow an ulcer.
Begin by learning to be aware of how you feel about things. Take a few minutes to reflect on your day, focusing not only on what happened, but on how you felt about each event. Recording your reactions in a journal can lead you to terrific insights about what’s important to you as well as help you heal inner or external conflicts.
When you talk with family and friends, include emotions in your discussion. It’s even appropriate in business to express concern, enthusiasm or annoyance about something. Being comfortable with feelings is partly what Emotional Intelligence is all about.
Simply by withdrawing your energy from accounts of attitudes such as resentment or perfectionism, and putting it into new accounts of, say, willingness to compromise, can provide you with reserves of time, energy and focus, you never knew you could access.
Is this situation worth all this energy?
If a large expenditure of energy is required to achieve something, you need to sit down and make time to look at your budget, just as you would with money, and ask yourself, is it really worth it? If the return on investment is likely to be a closer relationship, it may be worth it. If you are not getting your expected return, either change your strategy, focus or close that account.
I’d love to know what you think of what I’ve said here.
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