Octavio and I sit in Books and Books café on Miami Beach’s famous Lincoln Road Mall. Talking about what energizes us in our work .Octavio has held senior HR Leadership roles for Fortune 500 firms throughout Latin America. Great jobs , Octavio affirms, but when I think back, 30% to 40% of what I did on a daily basis drained me. Tasks either give energy or take energy away. 40% is a lot of energy depletion. As I listen to Gustavo I think of a conversation I had with Ann, Head of Engineering for a well-known manufacturing company, just this week. I start my days early , Ann says. I have a run at 5. My first call at 7:30. By 3:00 in the afternoon I am drained, with little left. Yup. Been there. Drained.The simple answer, of course, is this: Perform fewer tasks that don’t energize you. Tasks that call on your least developed mental faculties, tasks that you’re simply not proficient in.Not an option to say NO to tasks that drain? In that case, consider some ways of undraining the tasks that drain you. Choose to undrain yourself.Related: Bust These 4 Myths to Be Authentic
Here are a few mental levers that may help you do so:
1. STOP the Pre-Drain
The mental battle before the task, the state of anticipatory dread, is often more draining than the task itself. Not only do we reinforce how unpleasurable a task will be before we engage in it, we in effect drain the tasks that precede the task we dread. We exponentially amplify the drain. Accept that the task will be done. Choose to ditch the pre-task drama. Instant drain reduction.
2. Make a Temporary Commitment
When we’re not excited about performing a task, we tend to not fully commit to the execution of the task. We unwittingly prolong the agony. The moment we fully commit to something, the German poet Goethe famously said, then providence moves too. We fuel the drain by not committing. We disallow providence.Flip the equation. Commit to reduce the drain. The commitment is just for now, for this moment. You’re not committing to perform this task for the rest of your life. And just for now, committing always beats not committing.
3. It’s OK to NOT Love It
We love to compare and despair. Love to compare the task that drains to the task that thrills, the task we dread to the task we adore. It’s OK to not love every task equally. It’s OK to derive a different kind of satisfaction from the task that tends to drain.It may be the satisfaction of executing it proficiently. Efficiently. The satisfaction of successfully harnessing your resistance. Discover what the satisfaction point is for you – and let go of the notion that you have to love this task. If loving it is your standard, the task will always lose.
4. Reward Yourself
Reward yourself for performing a routine task. Sounds cheesy, doesn’t it? It IS cheesy – and it works! Here are my personal mini-incentives for executing a drainer: Hop in the car and grab a latte at the Scandinavian Bakery down the street. Take a dip in the pool. A beach break (I live in South Florida). 5 minutes in the sun, eyes closed. A quick inspirational read.The beauty of rewarding yourself? You get to pick the reward. You get to decide what makes you feel good. You get to consciously give yourself an Energy Boost. Now why the heck would you not want to do that?Get clear on what your these-drain-me tasks are. Name them and claim them. Choose to approach each one of these tasks differently. Experiment with drain-reduction habits.And enjoy the surprising fruits of instant drain mitigation.