Question: I am a very passionate person and when I am excited and engaged in a project I will often get drained afterward. How do I get a more balanced approach to my productivity, especially when I feel like my passion is a necessary component of my success?
Passion in your work can be a great thing. If you are feeling drained, then I fear you are not finding flow…or you are not getting the rest or exercise that your body, and brain, need.
Since you mention the words “balanced” and “excited,” I am guessing finding flow is not the issue. Instead you may be feeling badly about what you didn’t do for yourself (or others) that is draining you at the end of the project. You may need to even take a break during these periods of mental flow.
Here’s something I’d like you to do:
- Take an hour and write out what your perfect average day would be like. Be as detailed as you can. Also invoke as many emotions, usually creating a mental picture, that you can. For example, I described a thinking space that I am (eventually) building in my home and this space is free of interruptions—no phone, email, etc.—and it is beautiful.
- As you write about this perfect average day, I want you to try and segment the day, as follows:
- 30-90-30-90- etc.
- That means you give yourself 30 minutes to get centered and organized for the day BEFORE you look at email.
- Follow this with 90 min of what matters most for the day
- Follow this with a break, up to 30 min, which can be a rest, a snack, a task that is not taxing on your mind, etc.
- Follow this by 90 min of critical work… and continue this until your day is done.
- Do a process check after a project, being as still as you can be, and you may find that whatever is triggering you to feel drained exposes itself to you. Once you know the triggers that make you feel bad (in your case, drained) you can start making small shifts to feel better.
- Remember, do what works for you and test this by experiencing how you feel after each adjustment.
Also take a look to see if you create a mess around you when you work on projects. If you do, try organizing at the end of your day and see if that makes a difference in how you feel.
Let me know how this works out for you!