How To Undrain Yourself

My colleague Mario and I sit at Books and Books Café on Miami Beach’s famed Lincoln Road Mall, talking about what energizes us in our work. Mario has held senior HR Leadership roles for Fortune 500 firms throughout Latin America.

Great jobs, Mario affirms, but when I think back, 30% to 40% of what I did on a daily basis drained me.

Tasks we perform either give energy or take energy away. 40% is a lot of energy depletion.

The simple answer, of course: 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. If you’re an entrepreneur like me, do so at once.

Not an option to say NO to tasks that drain? In that case, consider some ways of undraining the tasks that drain you. Yes, start to undrain yourself.

1. Accept It

The mental battle before the task, the state of anticipatory dread are often more draining than the task itself. Not only do we reinforce how un-pleasurable a task will be before we engage in it, we in effect drain the tasks that precede the task. We exponentially amplify the drain. Accept that the task will be done. 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. Flip the equation. Commit and 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.

3. It’s OK to NOT Love It

We love to compare and despair. Love to compare the task that drains to the tasks 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. 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 cortadito at Señor Café. Take a dip in the pool. A beach break. 5 minutes in the sun, eyes closed. A mini-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!

Know what your drain-me-tasks are. Experiment with new drain-reduction habits. Minor adjustments, major shifts. Savor the pick-me-ups of instant drain mitigation.