Women at Work: Emotional reactions can drain your personal energy

November 26, 2018

Do you ever have those days when you look at the time and it is noon? You wonder to yourself where the day went as you slump backward in your chair only to wish the last half of your work day would go as quickly as the first half?

Since getting a breast cancer diagnosis on Oct. 12, I have stared blankly out a window as hours slip by unknowingly. What I do know is it was wasted time without any focus on anything in particular.

Maybe the news is too new or maybe I’m not strong enough to get a grip yet or maybe I just don’t have the “grit” to get through it, who knows. Whatever “it” is, “it” is also zapping me of the energy I need to get through a fully focused day.

According to Elizabeth McGrory, I don’t need more time in my day, I need to focus on my “personal energy.” After reading more about said “personal energy,” I will have to agree with her.

Whether you lack focus at home or at work, it all boils down to the amount of willpower you have to pull yourself through whatever it is you are dealing with, even if it includes staring out a window with a million thoughts rolling through your brain.

An excerpt from McGrory’s article includes:

“Willpower is the amount of effort you are capable of giving, within your mind and body, to things, people, or challenges. It is the power within you to get your job done. It’s the amount of physical and mental strength you have to do what your mind and body wants you to do.

It’s called personal energy because it’s your energy. Your thoughts, emotions and choices affect it. There will be times when you have an enormous amount of energy, like after a good night’s sleep, and times when you feel like you have none, like when you get home from work and you have to make dinner for the family.

Personal energy management is about always being aware of the state of your personal energy. The goal is not to keep your energy level high (this is unrealistic) because energy will come and go (this is realistic).”

People can boost your energy or take some from you, so it’s your job to protect it. People, like your children or co-workers, can cause you to feel an emotion that can either increase or decrease your personal energy. It is your responsibility to allow or disallow the reaction to this emotion to affect your personal energy.

For example, let’s say that your manager makes a negative comment about you leaving early to pick up your child. Most likely you’ll have an emotional reaction to this comment either in the moment or afterwards. The kind of emotion(s) you choose to feel alters your personal energy.

On the other hand, let’s say your manager gives you a compliment as you get into your car. You get home and whip up this amazing dinner everyone keeps raving about until they go to bed. You have so much energy you don’t know what else you could possibly get done but you want to do more!

If you allow yourself to wallow in self-pity, it uses up a lot of your personal energy, which you can’t afford to lose! When you are extremely happy it can cause a surge in your personal energy where you feel like you need to use it.

So whatever is causing you to lose focus, stare out a window or basically waste time, it’s time to dig deep to your own personal energy and work on strengthening your willpower to just get through it.

Update hourly