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The Mindful Entrepreneur

Feeling Disconnected? How to Get Past Energy Sapping Tasks

Categories: Mesh with your Mind - Organisation - Productivity


Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. One moment, one day, we think we have a plan; maybe a week plan, maybe even a life plan, then you wake up the next day and think “Really? I don’t actually feel enthusiasm to do that”… you disconnect from your plan, your tasks. Even the thought saps energy away from you like a loose energy stealing moose.

This can happen for a number of reasons, but the reason it happened to me was because a number of tasks I had scheduled myself, didn’t really feel like they aligned with what I wanted to do; I obviously thought they needed doing, I even felt like I wanted to do them at the time…. but I wasn’t enthused enough to actually do them, so they lingered, they went stale, and the staler they got, the more daunting they seemed.

Then one day, after a fews weeks of these tasks playing on my mind, I woke up, both literally and mentally and realised that the distance I felt from these tasks was purely my own doing – I knew they had to be done, but I wasn’t following through with action – which in turn disconnected me from my life plans, after all, how could I achieve my life plans if I stumbled at a few tasks. The non action of these tasks had turned everything into a chore; I didn’t feel like I could enjoy relaxing, because they were outstanding, yet I still faced a battle with myself about whether I should really do them or not.

From a disorganised place like this, it can feel daunting to get back on track, or even to rediscover your path. But, it is possible, and it’s really not that difficult once you get over the mental hurdles (and that’s really all they all, a single perceived perspective).

Remember, every time you fail to commit to a task which you have set yourself, you’re in effect disagreeing with yourself and causing inner resistance. This is true, unless you have made a subsequent, explicit decision to abandon the task (after all flexibility is key).

Getting Back on Path

So although this might sound bad on initial inspection, it’s really not. Because it’s about getting onto the true path, and reinforcing yourself with positive action. My true calling, YOUR true calling. Everything that’s happened before (including inaction) has lead you to here, a point of productivity, which you can choose to grasp (and making an active decision is key). Your path should never be about a fabricated feeling of “I should do that, because simply put, that is resistance, and it’s hard to work through resistance; it’s doing something because you feel compelled to, rather than actually wanting to. So if you can get to a place to actually make a pro-active mental decision to tackle a task, then you can tackle it from the perspective of “I want to do that”. This is the right road you want to be on.

The first step then is to find this road….

…and get round the roadworks which currently stand in your way.

Your true path is deep inside you. It’s made of the things which excite you, which energise you, which you feel fire about. If you’ve spent time following fake paths then this can be difficult to locate. It can be troublesome to wade through the fakery and separate it from the truth. But ultimately, if something instantly excites you then it’s a true calling, if it fills you with disdain or an immediate need to get away from it, then it’s not a true calling.

So, first things first. Make a list of everything which excites you and a separate list of things you think you should do, but don’t excite you. Once you’ve done that, you may have a list like this (this is one I created earlier);

Tasks Spreadsheet

Don’t hold back or limit your list. Write down anything which you feel is relevant to each category. This is not only an exercise in determining where you passions lie, but also an exercise in freeing your mind, allowing your thoughts to flow like a babbling river, rather than cars crashing into resistant walls in your mind. Keep writing this list for as long as you feel the need to. This should automatically create a clearer mind.

Ok, so bear in mind that every one of these list items is relevant. They’re relevant because they’re in your mind. It’s no good trying to throw them out, they’re there because you want them to be there. Try and realise this point. All of these items need attention, because they’re draining your life energy. We just need to tackle them right. Don’t be tempted to discard them, they’re in your mind for a reason and they need to be let out rather than suppressed. Suppression is a negative action, it does not enforce your inner trust. Free these items, know they are necessary, and know that you can tackle them.

In the column next to each item write down a solution to each item. i.e. what you can do to either solve the problematic items which are sapping your energy, and expand upon the items which give you energy. As you do this, each solution may appear much simplier than it may have felt in your mind. More organised, even more peaceful.

OK, so we’ve got a list of energising items, and a list of energy sapping items, and a solution for each. Now, is the hurdle you need to jump. You need to realise that the energy sapping items will remain where they are until you decide to take action upon them. But this hurdle can be hard to jump. It can be difficult to go from not doing, to doing, especially as you feel that these items sap your energy. But once you start, you soon realise that with each of these items you solve, you are releasing the energy they were sapping straight back.

Tackling the Energy Saps

Usually the energy sapping items sap energy, because they’ve been left undone for a while and have been slowly eating away at your mind, and at your energy reserves. But to start to release this energy, you need to work out an order for tackling these items.

This, can be much easier than it seems…. What’s the first item which pops into your head? It’s usually an item which you’re thinking of on a regular basis. That’s the item which is most important. The reason for that is simple; it’s the item which is sapping most of your mind and your energy. Once this item is done, you’ll have greatly increased energy, momentum and enthusiasm to take on the other energy sapping tasks.

It’s easy to get confused here in the matter of trying to work out the priorities of these items. But it really is as simple as doing the task which you’re thinking of most. Concentrate only on that task, until it’s done, even if you feel tempted to multi-task. Once you’ve done this, you’ll realise the other tasks can be done quicker and more efficiently. Trying to prioritise against your natural will is like trying to stack a house of cards, starting with the top level. It’s not going to work, and even if it does through some sort of trickery, it won’t be efficient, as productive and definitely not as enjoyable (then you’re back to feeling like it’s a chore).

Tackle one by one, without diving your time onto other tasks. After completing each item, tackle the next one which is in the forefront of your mind (even if it’s only the first one you think of – Make the decision. Commit to it).

Once these energy sapping tasks are done, you can get back on track and start to grow your energising tasks. Your true life calling. What truly excites you.

New Energy

After smashing through your energy draining tasks, you’re now in a place to get back on track with what’s really important – the things which give you energy, enthusiasm and zest for life. These are the things which make life living, and they are really your true calling, even if you’re currently only doing them as a hobby. To nurture them and enjoy them you simply need to maintain this balance of eliminating the energy sapping tasks, so that you are free to focus on the energising tasks.

You’ll find that rather than pushing the energy sapping tasks aside and trying to forget them, you can now focus, enjoy and be better at your energising items. Which in turn will provide energy for you to return to your energy saps, when required (they’re unavoidable).

Once you establish this pattern, you’ll probably soon notice that the tasks you once considered an energy sap are now giving you energy. Because you’re completing the tasks quicker and regaining your energy, they feel better, you’re more motivated and you achieve a much clearer life balance.

Tackling the Energising Tasks

This is the easy bit… just do what you love. Do the thing which excites you most first. The thing on your mind – just like with the energy sapping tasks. Enjoy it. Couldn’t be simpler.

Welcome back to your true path. Nice view isn’t it?

If you ever find yourself in the same predicament in the future, just repeat this process and gain control.

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About the author: I’m the Founder of Own the Web (aka. Mindful Marketeer), & I’m passionate about helping good causes, local & small businesses grow by bringing clarity to situations. I do this through my work at Own the Web, whilst practising mindfulness & blogging about it here. Other quick facts also include I’m a vegan, an individualist, equality champion & a mindful free thinker. Connect with me on Twitter or Peter Leigh on Google+.