Looking for a ridiculously simple exercise that can help you see big results from a few small changes? This could be it! How do I know this? I have proof.
When facilitating my workshops, I’m frequently and pleasantly surprised by the positive, if not giddy reactions I get to one of my favorite Intentional Networking exercises. I call it “The Energy Test.” So given this is the season of resolutions and making positive changes, I’m going to share it with you here.
You’ll find this exercise to be an elegantly easy way to take a fresh, discerning look at who or what is currently taking up your valuable time. You’ll also see what’s feeding your energy stores and what could be needlessly draining and depleting them. You may also discover that this exercise is an excellent way to test old habits and the validity and value of activities and appointments you put on your calendar because, well, you just always have.
You know what I’m talking about.
You’ve probably had days when the people, activities, appointments, and events you (or someone else) added to your schedule left you feeling really good about your work, your life, your relationships, your bottom line, and the future of the human race. In contrast, you’ve likely had days when the activities and interactions of the day were so painful to endure, you crawled into bed feeling like a worn out dishrag.
And of course you’ve probably had the days that fall in between the two extremes and are just, well, meh. Nothing special. Another day on the treadmill that goes nowhere.
Enough is enough.
Begin using this little exercise today and, I promise, if you leverage it’s power, you’ll begin having far more great days and a lot fewer of the unremarkable and draining days. Sound good?
Here’s what you do:
Every time you interact with someone (say, an appointment, coffee meeting or lunch), attend a group meeting or event, participate in a program, volunteer or serve others in some way, spend time on a project, or engage in just about any task or activity on your schedule or To Do List, ask yourself this very basic question: Was this experience energizing, depleting, or neither?
No need to keep elaborate notes. Simply make marks on your calendar or schedule. Put a plus sign (+) next to anything that energizes you, a zero (0) next to anything so-so, and a minus sign (-) next to that which leaves you drained or in a negative frame of mind.
After a few days or even a week or two you’ll see patterns. Use what you see to begin making new, better choices and intentional shifts. Move away from, let go of, or say no more often to the things that are draining or boring you. Make a fresh and intentional effort to move toward that which feeds you. You might even find ways to modify what you’re doing. For example, if an hour-long coffee meeting is just too much time out of your day, adopt a policy that you can only schedule 30 minute coffees.
Even if the changes are small, they are important, will add up and you will feel the difference.
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