The Effectiveness Equation—E = MC²—stresses the importance of mindset, capability, and capacity in maintaining and sustaining your personal and professional effectiveness.
This is because it isn’t circumstances or your environment that determines whether you are effective or ineffective—it’s how you think and what you focus on.
Circumstances do not make or break who you are —they reveal who you are.
What’s inside you will come out when you’re put to the test. The real you will be expressed in moments of high pressure.
As we’ve said before in previous articles, when you squeeze an orange, you get orange juice. When you squeeze a lemon, you get lemon juice.
What you express when you are squeezed is a product of what you are focusing on in that moment. Your words, emotions, and behaviours—your ‘juice’—flow from your consciousness, what you are putting your attention on.
Do you focus on the glass half-full or half-empty? Do you worry about problems you can’t control or focus on the things you can control? Do you blame others or events for where you are now, or do you take responsibility for where you are and where you want to be?
Effective people aren’t people without problems: they are people who have learned to effectively solve their problems.
They are solution-focused, not problem-focused.
They have learned to focus on strategies to improve their self-management because these strategies are the processes by which they improve their personal and professional effectiveness.
In my book, The Flea Circus, I discuss that whatever limits your capability or capacity limits your effectiveness. Whatever expands your capability or capacity expands your effectiveness.
We therefore need to focus on identifying what decreases your capability or capacity and what you can do about it, as well as implementing strategies to increase your capability and capacity.
Which, again, comes down to good self-management.
As such, there are three important areas of self-management that you can address to increase your capability and capacity:
- Effective Energy-Management.
- Effective Time-Management.
- Effective Goal-Setting.
This article will focus on the first of these, Effective Energy-Management.
Your mental, emotional, and physical energy levels play a big role in maintaining and sustaining your overall effectiveness.
If you are mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted, your capability and capacity is severely affected.
Anything that drains your energy and leaves you feeling flat and depleted will have knock-on effects on your personal and professional effectiveness.
If you simply don’t have the mental, emotional, or physical capacity to do anything, you won’t do it.
Or, if you do try to do it, you will only do it half-heartedly and give up at the slightest difficulty.
On the flipside, anything that boosts your mental, emotional, and physical energy levels boosts your capability and capacity and thus your overall effectiveness.
You will be filled with conviction and self-belief (mental energy), you will be filled with enthusiasm and excitement (emotional energy), and you will be filled with vitality and zest (physical energy).
Who can stop you when you feel like this?
As we have learned, the focus of your attention determines your effectiveness. Your thoughts are powerful because with them you create your world.
Your thoughts are the only thing over which you have 100% control. How you think, what you believe, how you reason, are all subject to your control. You are the master of your mind.
You are therefore the master of your experience. What happens to you is not nearly as important as to what happens inside your mind.
What you focus on, you internalise and observe.
What you choose to focus on therefore determines your experience.
This also includes your emotions and your personal energy levels. The choice is yours.
Personal energy-management is such a choice. Of course, you need to make good choices for healthy eating, exercise, and sleep.
But this discussion is not about eating the right foods, making sure you do your 10,000 steps a day, or getting a good night’s rest. The assumption is that you already know this.
Rather, our discussion on personal energy-management will focus on the choices you make that support and sustain your energy, vitality, productivity, and peace.
The choices you make to feel more lively and active depend on what you focus on.
For instance, if you focus on negativity and what you can’t and won’t do, then diminishing energy levels and decreased effectiveness will be your experience.
If you focus on positivity and what you can and will do, then renewed energy and increased effectiveness will be your experience.
So let’s discuss how you can renew your energy through focus.
The Energy-Management Matrix
The Energy-Management Matrix is divided into four quadrants based on knowledge and purpose.
On the vertical axis, you either have the knowledge of how or what you want to achieve or become, or you don’t have that knowledge.
On the horizontal axis, you either have the clarity or the understanding of your purpose, the reason ‘why’ you do what you do or what you want to become, or you don’t have that clarity of purpose.
Let’s discuss these four quadrants and how they affect your personal energy-management.
The top right quadrant is the ‘happy place’ where you are full of self-belief, enthusiasm, and vitality.
Here you know how or what you want to do and you have clarity of the purpose for doing it.
You feel you have the capability and the capacity to do anything you set your mind to. You feel fantastic.
This is the place where we all want to be, the quadrant of good energy-management.
The top left quadrant is a quadrant of low mental energy, where you know how or what you need to do but you don’t know why. In this quadrant you lack purpose.
When you lack purpose and you are just going through the motions, what you do seems futile. It doesn’t matter what you do, even if you do it well, there’s no point. It doesn’t matter. It isn’t important.
The sense of futility is mentally draining.
Tip: What you need to do if you find yourself in this quadrant is to focus on finding your sense of purpose.
Finding your reason ‘why’ will increase your mental capacity because it will revitalise your mindset and reinvigorate your self-belief.
Purpose is your focus in this quadrant.
The bottom right quadrant is a quadrant of low emotional energy, where you actually do have clarity of your purpose, why you are doing what you are doing, but you don’t have the knowledge or skills to complete it. In this quadrant you lack the know-how to do it.
When you believe in the purpose of what you’re doing but lack the resources to see it into fruition, what you are doing feels incredibly frustrating.
You can see the port you wish to sail to but you don’t know how to get there. You feel like a ship becalmed at sea. You pull your hair out. You get angry. You throw your hands in the air in exasperation.
This sense of frustration is emotionally draining.
Tip: What you need to do if you find yourself in this quadrant is to focus on the resources you need to get the job done.
This includes upskilling, training, re-educating, learning, and seeking help.
When you have the know-how to do what you want to do and become what you want to be, you will feel more capable of achieving your goals.
Your frustration will then make way for greater confidence and enthusiasm.
You will start to feel that excitement for life once again.
The bottom left quadrant is a quadrant of low mental energy and low emotional energy, where you don’t know how or what you need to do and you don’t know why you need to do anything either.
In this quadrant you lack know-how and purpose.
When you lack know-how and purpose at the same time, you feel not only are you just going through the motions but that there is no escape from it either.
This is as good as it gets. This is your lot in life, and there’s not much you can do about it. You can feel completely forsaken.
The sense of forsakenness is mentally, emotionally, and even physically draining. It’s actually very debilitating.
Tip: What you need to do if you find yourself in this quadrant is to focus on finding your sense of self.
You have to ‘find yourself’ again, the real you, the you that you’ve forgotten. The you that’s gotten lost in the mayhem and craziness of everyday life. The you that once had great enthusiasm, excitement, and vitality for life.
You have to get back to basics. You have to work out what you really want out of life—your goals, ambitions, passions, desires.
Because only then, only once you know what you want and what you want to become, can you work out how to achieve it and understand the purpose behind it.
Only then will you have the energy to push forward and progress toward the happy quadrant.
Reducing Your Energy Drains
In life, there are certain things that drain our energy and leave us feeling depleted and exhausted, thus making us less effective.
Your energy can leak, weakening your capability and capacity, so it’s important to identify where those energy leaks occur and prevent them from recurring.
Such things can be people, situations, work, places, events, certain times of the year, even your own thoughts.
With this in mind, we will now discuss the personal energy-management strategy that I call ‘Reboot’, which will focus on minimising your energy drains and boosting your energy fuels in each of your 7 Life Segments.
It’s important to consider each of your 7 Life Segments and identify any energy drains that may be present.
Once you have identified these energy drains, the next step is to work out which Energy-Management Matrix quadrant your energy drains fit into.
Once you know what quadrant you are dealing with, you can then establish a plan or ‘workaround’ to reduce your energy drains.
How to Use The Energy-Management Matrix
Here’s an example of how to get yourself out of your current quadrant and into the ‘happy quadrant’:
As you can see, the Energy-Management Matrix is a powerful tool to help you stop the energy bleed and begin the process to recover and re-energise.
Here’s another example of how it works:
Finally, one more example of how this energy-management strategy works before you give it a go:
-> Life Segment: Spirituality & Ethics
You will have many energy drains in each of your 7 Life Segments, from relationship squabbles to financial concerns, to health issues, to needing a holiday.
My advice is for you to identify as many energy drains as you can and devise a plan or ‘workaround’ to reduce these energy drains using the Energy-Management Matrix.
You are invited to download a free PDF checklist of ‘energy drains’ to help you identify and reduce your energy drains.
Go through each of the 7 Life Segments in this checklist and tick each statement that is relevant to you. This checklist will help you identify your main energy drains.
Reboot #2: Energy FUELS
Just as there are certain things in life that seem to drain our energy and leave us feeling depleted and exhausted, there are things that also boost our energy supplies and add to our fuel, leaving us feeling invigorated and alive.
Like energy drains, energy fuels can be people, situations, work, places, events, certain times of the year, even your own thoughts.
Boosting Your Energy Fuels
All energy boosts are aligned with Quadrant #1 in the Energy-Management Matrix.
All that’s required is for you to identify the know-how and the purpose of each energy boost, and implement a plan to regularly boost your energy.
This is how to keep re-energised in the ‘happy quadrant’ and maintain good energy-management, and here’s an example of how this strategy works:
Finally, one more example of how this energy-management strategy works before you give it a go:
Just as you have many energy drains in each of your 7 Life Segments, you will also have many energy fuels, from meaningful friendships to financial goals to hobbies to watching movies.
My advice is for you to identify as many energy fuels as you can and devise a plan to boost these energy fuels using the Energy-Management Matrix.
You are invited to download a free PDF checklist of ‘energy fuels’ from my website to help you identify and boost your energy fuels.
Go through each of the 7 Life Segments in this checklist and tick each statement that is relevant to you. This checklist will help you identify your main energy fuels.
- Circumstances do not make or break who you are —they reveal who you are.
- What you choose to focus on will determine your effectiveness and your experience. The choice is yours.
- Anything that boosts your mental, emotional, and physical energy levels boosts your capability and capacity and thus your overall effectiveness.
- What drains your energy limits your effectiveness.
- What fuels your energy boosts your effectiveness.
- The Energy-Management Matrix is a visual demonstration of how people with good self-management identify areas in which they can improve their mental, emotional, and physical energy levels.
- The Energy-Management Matrix is divided into four quadrants based on knowledge and purpose.
- The personal energy-management strategy of ‘Reboot’ involves identifying your energy drains and energy fuels in your 7 Life Segments.