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3 energy drains that zap productivity

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You may sit and stew about what so-and-so said every once in a while. That’s expected. But if that stressful energy drain becomes a daily ritual, well, that’s another matter. Productivity pro Laura Stack (www.theproductivitypro.com) says that some people expose themselves to constant energy drains.

Here’s how to plug three of the most common energy drains:

1. Professional time commitments outside of work. One sign that you’re experiencing this energy drain? You dread going to meetings or events held by professional organizations or associations you’ve joined.

Solution: Evaluate each membership in terms of what you receive in return. Ask yourself, “What do I receive from this membership? Is my investment of time and money worth the benefits I receive? Has this organization directly impacted my career?” If you’re not seeing a direct benefit, it may be time to find another outlet for your professional growth.

2. Chronic worrying. Some worries may never become anything more than just worries. The key is to stop worrying about possible future events, especially when those worries are rooted in a feeling of insecurity.

Example: “Does the recent economic downturn mean that I may lose my job?”

Solution: Make an appointment with yourself to worry. Stack says, “Start a brainstorming session with, ‘What should I do about …?’ and write down possible solutions. If you can’t reduce your concerns, it’s probably worth worrying about. Promise yourself you’ll worry about it when—and if—it happens.” Allow yourself to spend time and energy only on legitimate concerns.

3. Interpersonal conflicts. Frequent utterances such as “I simply cannot stand that man” or “I can’t believe she did that” point to unresolved conflicts draining your mental strength. Anger can “wear you down emotionally and leave you feeling out of control,” says Stack.

Solution: Determine the most efficient way to resolve the conflict. Example: You might choose to give into the other person, or settle on a compromise, so that you both still reach your goals. Choose the best route, then let it go.

Tip: Create a T-chart that lists “Things I enjoy” on one side and “Things I dislike” on the other. “Once you identify the things that sap your energy, you can identify possible ways to eliminate them,” says Stack. “The important shift is to recognize that you have choices and options in how you respond to stressful situations.”

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