Effective energy management for relaxed projects

Guest contribution by | 08.10.2020 | Project management | 0 comments

5 proven tips

Three weeks ago I conducted a survey on energy management among my newsletter readers. I was preparing an online workshop and wanted information on how important the topic was for my readers and which topics they were particularly interested in.

Many of my readers work as project managers or experts, they manage their own projects, and much of their work takes place in projects.  That is why I have focused the tips in this article on the topics that are of particular interest to my readers.

To my first question: HOW IMPORTANT IS A GOOD ENERGY MANAGEMENT FOR YOU? 53% answered with very important and the remaining 47% with important. This has confirmed my assumption that awareness of the importance of good energy management is high and is likely to increase.

And these were the TOP TOPICS of my survey, which my readers are particularly interested in:

  • First place is taken by the topic of perfectionism, a high demand I place on myself.
  • The 2nd place is shared by four topics: Setting limits, dealing well with feelings/emotional competence, letting go of sabotaging convictions/beliefs and building mental strength.
  • In 6th place is the exit from the thought carousel.

 

How to create the basis for effective energy management

As the answers suggest, many of my readers are aware that the basis for good energy management lies within themselves. In the 60 to 80 thousand thoughts they think in one day. In their feelings generated by these thoughts. How consciously they deal with your thoughts and feelings.

Even if an increasing number of people are at least theoretically aware of these interrelationships: In real everyday life, these inner thought programmes run mostly unconsciously for most of us. We are busy all day long with numerous activities, meetings, discussions, planning, research and the processing of various requests or our to-do lists.

So it can happen that we lose our energy in many energy-sapping thought loops during the day. Thought loops that are automatically set in motion by certain triggers. Without it being clear to us where this happens and how this energy has disappeared. Without us being aware of what we ourselves have contributed to it and how we can concretely change it. We feel powerless and our inner battery is empty.

If you want to control your energy, if you want to determine your energy level yourself, then you have to find out more about your thoughts, beliefs, moods and feelings and their effects. Because this is the fuel, the energy of your everyday life, of your life.

You have to get to know yourself better, find out what is good for you and what is not. You need to know what gives you energy and how to recharge your inner battery. Concretely and appropriately to your personality, your preferences, your professional context and your goals.
This is the basis for effective energy management.

I would now like to give you 5 tips on how to find out more about your energy and how to build up an effective energy management:

TIP # 1

Pay attention to the effect of your thoughts, evaluations and judgements

Every perception we receive is processed, i.e. evaluated, by our brain. Good or bad. Safe or threatening. Pleasant or unpleasant. Right or wrong.

This “evaluation” happens in a split second and mostly unconsciously. Based on experiences we have had in the past, based on our stored thinking habits, beliefs and feelings.

This is problematic when it comes to thoughts that rob you of energy.

Here is an example: One of my clients came to me for coaching because she wanted her job to be enjoyable and her job to fulfil her. She is an interim manager in the HR department, her job actually offers a lot of opportunities to experience this joy and fulfilment even now. Regardless of what she wants to change in her professional life.

When we conducted an impact analysis of her thoughts, her feelings and their effects, it turned out that she thought the following (unconsciously) for large parts of the day:

  • What I am doing right now is robbing me of my life time.
  • This is all completely meaningless.
  • I finally want to do what I enjoy doing and what corresponds to my ideas.
  • I simply cannot reach my goal.

With the 5% of her conscious perception she was doing her job in the best possible way. In the 95% of your unconscious perception these almost endless thought loops were running. There were strong unpleasant feelings associated with these pejorative thoughts: Frustration, powerlessness and anger.

Can you imagine how this cocktail of power-robbing feelings and thoughts has determined the everyday professional life of my client?

How much energy it cost her?

How much energy is left over?

How she is to achieve her goal of more joy and a fulfilled working day with this inner resistance, these sabotaging thoughts?

Therefore my tip # 1 is: Pay attention to the effect of your thoughts, to the evaluations and judgements that are connected with them. Do these thoughts do you good? Do they help you to achieve your goals? Do they give you strength and self-confidence? You can see from the example of my client that exactly the opposite was the case and how such unconscious thoughts affect your energy level.

Take the time to pause more often during the day. Find out how you feel and what thoughts are behind these feelings. Bring your unconscious thoughts to light and see the effect.

If you notice that you are in such energy-consuming thought loops, then you can intervene and regain control over your energy.

TIP # 2

Stop energy-consuming thoughts

As you can see from the example of my client: Her energy is a consequence of her thoughts and feelings. It originates in you, in your body. Your hormones, your autonomic nervous system, your brain, your heart, your whole body system reacts to the energy, i.e. the frequency of your thoughts and feelings. Scientists are finding out more and more about how fundamental this influence is.

That is why it is essential for good energy management to identify thoughts that cost you energy and let them go. Recognising and changing the wrong, or rather not beneficial, evaluation in them. To take away the meaning of negative thoughts in your everyday life.

Energy-consuming thoughts are above all:

  • Doubts. About yourself and your abilities.
  • Worries. Concerning the future and what you have decided or done wrong in the past.
  • Dealing intensively with your problems and their effects. What could happen or has already happened.

These thoughts lead your mind astray, away from what you really want. You create more and more of what you do not want: Problems, doubts and worries. They are mind rubbish. They paralyse your energy. They make you helpless. They erode your self-confidence and self-esteem.

If you have recognised such thoughts and their power-sapping effects in the first step, then it is best to stop these thoughts immediately. Say STOP internally. Think about which thoughts you want to think instead. Ask yourself good, goal-oriented questions.

You are NOT helplessly exposed to your thoughts and feelings. There are many ways to get out of negative thought loops. For example with the next tip # 3.

TIP # 3

Use the power of positive emotions

When working with my clients, the topic of feelings and the development of this “channel of perception” plays a major role. I have noticed time and again that most people are not aware of how strongly their feelings influence their own everyday life and experiences. This is especially true in business, in everyday working life.

Yesterday I read a workshop offer which advertised that the method used in it creates an “emotion-free” cooperation. What an illusion!

As you have seen, thoughts and feelings are inseparable. Emotional freedom does not exist. It makes much more sense to be aware of your feelings and to use the effect of your feelings. To reflect your own experiences on your feelings, your thoughts and the effects. To deal consciously with this knowledge.

A good handling of your feelings is essential for effective energy management.

Positive feelings and their strengthening effect are an inexhaustible source of energy. You can tap into this source at any time. This is simple and very effective. You focus your attention on what has been achieved rather than on your problems.

Remember projects that have gone particularly well. Team meetings that inspired you. Results that really made you happy.

Feel into the situation, feel the joy, satisfaction, pride, enthusiasm, appreciation or gratitude once again. In your body, in your heart. This “conscious feeling” increases your energy many times over. It increases your emotional competence, the conscious handling of your feelings.

The American neuropsychologist, Rick Hanson, calls this to relish feelings.

You can do this, for example, whenever you have identified and stopped energy-consuming thoughts. With this change of perspective you trigger a new, positive effect. You tap into your inner energy source and recharge your battery. Just try it out.

TIP # 4

Get clarity about what is good for you and what will help you move forward

One of the issues that comes first in my survey is setting limits. I can understand this very well. Because most people’s everyday working life is largely determined by others. Through deadlines, numerous meetings and discussions, through prescribed standards, methods and reports, through the requirements of customers, project clients, stakeholders and much more.

No wonder that many people feel they have to set themselves apart. The amount of requirements and information is simply overwhelming.

But did it really make sense to draw boundaries and raise the walls around you?

I have found that a change of perspective makes much more sense here too. Namely to deal with what I really want:

  • What I enjoy. What is good for me.
  • What boosts my energy, my motivation and my performance.
  • Which brings me further in my development.
  • How I imagine constructive, appreciative cooperation and what I can contribute to it.

When working with my clients, I always find that if we are clear about this, then demarcation also works. It is even the prerequisite for it. Then I know exactly in which situations I must say NO.

It is easier for me to say NO, because the consequences are clear to me when I say YES. Then I can actually choose what is best for me, my project, my team or my professional development.

It is easier for me to take time outs: Time to reflect, to regenerate and take a break. Because I know that this is exactly what I need to recharge my batteries and to keep my creativity and performance. From my personal experience and not just from articles, books and theoretical knowledge I have read or heard somewhere.

Take your time and find out what is good for you and what really helps you to move forward. What you need for a fulfilling, productive and relaxed working day. Put all this down on paper and get clarity. Because if you don’t know your goals, you will never get there. This also applies to effective energy management.

TIP # 5

Not everything has to be perfect or dealing with exaggerated expectations

On the first place of the TOP TOPICS from my survey is the topic perfectionism and a high demand on myself.

This topic was also the favourite in a burnout study by GPM in 2016, in which I participated. After the study I presented the results in some regions and discussed them with the participants of my lecture.

Often the question arose whether and why perfectionism and a high demand on one’s own performance is harmful.

My answer to this question is: This cannot be answered in a generalised way. The question is: what is the effect of high expectations or perfectionism? Does that bother you? Or do you feel inspired and motivated by it?

Of the respondents in the burnout study, whom we also asked the question about the burden, 80% answered that you feel burdened by it.

If this is also true for you, then it would make sense to find out what thoughts and convictions you have in connection with the high expectations. To be aware of the feelings associated with them. To feel the effect.

And then to stop listening to that inner driver or critic, that voice inside you. Because otherwise it will drive you on and on, maybe even to the point of exhaustion.

To find out which new habit, which thoughts you want to choose instead. Thoughts that build you up, that do you good and give you strength instead of taking it away.

Remember: The trigger for your energy is “only” a thought.

The control over your thoughts and your feelings is up to you. If we deal with ourselves and others in a more loving, appreciative and supportive way, then this is automatically accompanied by effective energy management.

I would be pleased if I have increased your awareness of the importance of good energy management.
Best regards
Martina Baehr

 

Notes:

Martina Baehr has published other posts in t2informatik’s blog, including

t2informatik Blog: Success factor emotional competency

Success factor emotional competency

t2informatik Blog: The power of the subconscious

The power of the subconscious

t2informatik Blog: More success with composure

More success with composure

Martina Baehr
Martina Baehr

Martina Baehr is a work and organisational psychologist and owner of Project Management plus - with the right mindset for project success. As a project supervisor and mindset coach, she supports her customers in building their inner strength. So that they act from their full strength and bring their projects to success in a relaxed manner. In her German mindset blog she writes about new thinking, emotional intelligence, intuition and value-adding cooperation.

Martina Baehr has worked in various medium-sized companies as a project manager and department head for internal process and systems consulting, and has more than 15 years of experience in managing large reorganisation and IT projects.