Although we can all agree that we have a limited amount of physical energy to use a day, we often neglect the fact that we have a limited amount of mental energy too.
Our brains are incredibly complex and constantly working, and every time we exercise our mind, we’re consuming some of that mental energy.
That’s why it’s important to pay attention to how you’re using this extremely valuable (and limited) resource to ensure that you’re being the most efficient and productive you can be. Here are a few ways to help you conserve your energy for the things that are most important.
1. Mono-task, don’t multi-task.
The ability to multi-task has been applauded by society as a sign of efficiency. But switching between jobs actually leads to mental exhaustion more quickly than focusing on one task at a time.
Don’t fall into the trap of mistaking activity for achievement.
By focusing on one task at a time, you’ll be able to save the amount of energy consumed when refocusing, leading you to become more productive and efficient.
Would you like to start doing this now? Download our free worksheet to help you get started straight away. You can get it here.
2. Practice the 80/20 rule.
Somewhere along the line you’re likely to have heard of the 80/20 rule; a simple principle that states that 20% of your tasks contribute to 80% of your success.
Applying this rule to your consumption of mental energy is a great way to prioritise your mental output. Simply start by identifying the tasks that are most crucial to your success, and refocus your mental strength to tackle those first.
You can then work your way down to implement the other 80% of work that is still important, but won’t have as big an impact on your overall results.
3. Focus on the big things first.
When it comes to putting your mental energy to good use, make sure you tackle your biggest, most important tasks first thing in the morning with a clear and energised brain.
To help you figure out what the most important task is, ask yourself which tasks you are likely to procrastinate on if you don’t tackle them right away.
This is a good indication that these are the jobs that you should be focusing on first thing in the morning.
4. Automate the simple stuff.
Decision-making is a huge drain on mental energy. That’s why habits and routines are a great way to conserve your energy and be more productive.
Find a system that works best for you and then repeat it every day. This way it will become an engrained and intuitive task that doesn’t require thought or decision-making, freeing up mental capacity for more important work.
This will also mean that you no longer need to rely on willpower to make good decisions, such as exercising daily or choosing healthy groceries, these decisions will happen automatically without taking up unnecessary space in your mind.
5. Monitor your internal dialogue.
All too often we waste time and energy worrying about things that never materialise. That’s why it’s vital to build a keen awareness around your own thoughts so that you can start filtering out the negative patterns that are keeping you from realising your full potential.
As soon as negative thoughts start creeping in, take a moment to observe your thinking and then make a conscious decision to refocus on something more positive.
Not only will this have an impact on your general outlook, but by letting go of the things that don’t really matter you’ll have more energy to focus on the things that really do.
6. Avoid unrealistic expectations.
Another common energy drain is brought about by unrealistic expectations. Constantly striving for perfection in every aspect of life can be mentally taxing and extremely time consuming.
Rather select the most important tasks to your overall growth and well-being, and focus all your energy into striving for perfection in these specific areas. Be realistic about what you’re able to achieve in one day, instead of spreading yourself too thin in all directions.
This helps you prioritise and know when to put in energy and when to refocus it elsewhere.
Would you like some help to do this? Download our free worksheet to help you get started now! You can grab it here.
HANNA GIRLING, wife, mother, business owner, mindset coach, sport enthusiast and forever an optimist.