It’s the end of your workday and you are about ready to walk out the door. You would ideally like to look back on the day and feel energized, productive, and confident in your leadership accomplishments but you don’t. Instead, you are exhausted!
Like so many leaders, you have just spent your day running on the proverbial hamster wheel. You have been busy, but haven’t accomplished much of what you wanted to do. Instead, you have dealt with numerous interruptions and conflicts, you have focused far too much time on projects that others could have handled, and have been irritable and short with people at times. You can’t wait to get home to relax and shut your work day off!
Sound familiar? The good news is you are not alone. The bad news is you are doing it to yourself in multiple ways. When I work with new coaching clients this seems to be a common thread among them. I’m going to share three of the top reasons for end of workday exhaustion and how to change them.
You are not aware of what is important to you and why it matters.
I’m not just talking about what’s important to your business and its goals. I’m talking about what’s important to you as an individual. Every one of us operates from a set of values that are internal and very personal, but they are a part of every decision we make and our way of being. One of the first things I do with new clients is a Core Values exercise to help my client discover what those are and what they mean to them. Chances are you know some of your core values, but are less familiar with others.
When time is spent operating outside of alignment to what’s important to us it shows up in many ways. For example, you might become stressed, agitated, or you might get angry. Stack enough of these together and you are tired and fed up at the end of the day. I suggest taking a look at what was behind those feelings and ask yourself what is important about that to you. Then you have the ability to make changes.
For example: Let’s say you have a team member who consistently interrupts your day with questions. They are valid questions so you take the time to answer them thoroughly now rather than fixing mistakes later, but you get more frustrated and agitated with each interruption. Before you know it, you are angry and not sure why. After some reflection you determine that it frustrates you that the team member doesn’t try to find the answers on her own first and that she does not seem to be respecting your time. In this example which of your values are not being honored? It could be time management, a job well done, or resourcefulness. What else could it be?
Knowing the value and why it’s important allows us to approach things differently.
The next time the team member comes to your door with something that doesn’t need immediate attention you might say, “Team member, I appreciate that you want to make sure you have the right answers and I’m glad you feel comfortable coming to me. I have this project I need to focus on, so how about if you start with what YOU think you should do, and if you get stuck set it aside and we can meet at 2 p.m. to discuss. Sound good?” When you take this approach you are honoring what is important to you and your values first, while still serving your team. Try it and notice what happens to your day.
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You don’t balance your energy account daily.
Every single experience we have in our day does one of two things: it either feeds us or drains us of energy. When I hear clients say they’re exhausted or they’re looking for balance the first thing I ask them to do is keep track of what feeds and drains their energy in some type of log format daily for a week. They make a + sign for feed and – sign for drain. It might look something like this:
· Feeling rushed in the morning –
· Seeing the sun on my way to work +
· Hearing my favorite song on the radio +
· Putting out office fires first thing in the morning –
· Enjoying a piping hot cup of coffee at my desk +
· Attending impromptu meetings –
· Taking a walk on my lunch break +
The idea is that nothing is too big or too small to make note of and the act of keeping track will make you more of aware of what you want more or less of in your day. Chances are your list of things that drain your levels will be easy to come up with. Challenge yourself to come up with 25 things today that feed your energy account and keep building on it. If your day is starting to fill up with things that drain your energy, you’ll have big list of things to choose from on the plus side. It’s important to consciously bring something in that feeds you.
For example: Using the list above, you have some things to choose from when you want to bring more energy into your day. It can be as simple as taking a quick break for a hot cup of coffee, taking 10 minute walk at lunch, or making a playlist of your favorite songs for your morning commute. The key is to balance the energy in your day like you would your checking account. It’s all about debits and credits and you have more control than you realize.
You are a human-doing rather than a human-being.
Admit it. You are busy. Of course you are. You are a leader at home and in the office. People depend on you. You go through each day handling what needs to be handled, checking tasks off of your list that have been completed, and finding solutions to problems that have not manifested… yet. You do it all.
That’s the problem. You are so busy doing that you forget to bring in the being. When was the last time you took a few seconds to actually celebrate that completed task list? When was the last time you took 15 minutes in the morning to set your mindful intention for the day? When was the last time you embraced your leadership role and empowered a team member to work on a project that you know would be done perfect if you completed it yourself? Taking time to feel our emotions, to be mindful, and to show up as the kind of person we most want to be is an important part of self-care and make a drastic difference in your day.
Challenge: For the next three days I want you to do three things:
1. Start your day thinking about what a great day would look like. How do you want to feel at the end of the day? What would have to happen? What is different?
2. At the end of your day jot down ten of your accomplishments for the day, big or small. Everything counts. If your list is bigger… GREAT!
3. Make a conscious effort to genuinely appreciate and boldly empower someone else
At the end of the three days, notice what’s different. How do you feel? What changed? What were your challenges? What will you do different next week? The power is in the awareness, but we only achieve strong awareness when we slow down and allow ourselves to just be.
There is a long list of reasons why you are exhausted at the end of the day. I’ve listed three of the ones that I see most when working with my clients. We can’t control everything about our day, but when we focus on what we can control the results can be powerful.
Challenge yourself to think about how you WANT to feel at the end of the day and incorporate the changes listed in this post. Take time to notice how your day is different. I’d invite you to share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section so we all might learn.
Wishing you days filled with energy, feelings of being productive, and showing up like the leader you want to be remembered as.
Mindy Altermatt is a professional coach, speaker, and leadership champion. She offers her coaching programs to dental professionals who want to create balance and purpose in their role as a leader. Her convenient and practical virtual business allows her to work with professional clients located across the country. As a former practice administrator herself, Mindy understands the unique challenges that dental professionals face and can offer a unique perspective when working together with her clients to create strategies and plans that generate rapid results. Connect with Mindy on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, & Google+. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her on the web at www.mindyaltermatt.com.