The most draining, dull and lifeless days I have start the same way: trying to relax and take it easy. I feel worse that I did when I started the day and don’t really feel rested at all.
The days when I know I can’t relax and I just have to get work done are the days when energy comes easily and I can tackle whatever else pops up. It’s really remarkable how much I’ve completed some days.
I think most people would agree that when you are feeling productive and have energy it’s easy to get more done and more easily.
And yet, most people would also argue for the importance of finding work/life balance — aiming to find enough time to unwind or to catch up on this or that thing outside of work. The only way to find work/life balance in this scenario is to take from one and give to the other.
Therein lies the problem.
Viewed that way all tasks, relaxation, work, relationships, etc are equally draining. If you give 10 units of time or energy to this you have 10 fewer units for that. It’s only a matter of how much time or energy you attribute to each.
Now, I like to think of my days as a flywheel.
Energy spent creates more energy—not less.
The more energy I put in the more I get out. Pouring my full-self (energy, attention, and intention) into work does not make me empty for home life and relationships outside of work. In fact, it’s just the opposite. The energy grows and I can be even more intentional outside of work.
On a podcast I heard Neil Pasricha, the writer, say something like, “At work if you love it, you’re in the zone, you’re having breakthroughs, you’re energized and you feel awesome. Guess which version of you, you take home? The awesome version of you.”
That’s my approach to energy management now. Have breakthroughs and do your best work and use that same energy and version of you in your personal life.