October 20, 2009


Just read an awesome article that popped up on my front page when I fired up my computer this morning.

It's about energy, and how to effectively fight against habits that drain your energy during the day. And it's amazing, I think, how much this applies not just to a 9 to 5 setting, but to writing as well.

The link: http://health.yahoo.com/featured/50/out-of-energy/

Let's see, which ones am I guilty of?

Energy Zapper #1: Being Addicted to E-mail

Check. And it's not just e-mail. Twitter, I've learned, can be a creative black hole for me. How much energy have I spent composing a message, rewriting it multiple times to make it fit into the 140 character limit.

Energy Zapper #2: Visual Clutter

Check. That little cartoon I just did is accurate in one sense: I'll spend time tidying up when I really should be writing. It's inaccurate in another sense: my desk has never, ever been THAT clean!

Energy Zapper #3: Being Bored

Check. I've found that often when I tackle a new project, or come back from a break on a project, I have a hard time getting into it. I think part of that comes from the idea they talk about in the article: "Ever sat around for an hour or more not tackling a chore or work because it's just so darned monotonous? Mental foot-dragging, boredom and lack of motivation are draining, says Dr. Salerno. "Put simply, we like to see results, and getting things done gives us a mental energy boost." So avoiding tasks deprives you of that high."

Their solution is one that I plan to explore in a future "Way of the Writer": I call it the "Biggest Loser factor", but that's just because The Biggest Loser made me think of it. From the article: "Find a partner for encouragement."

Energy Zapper #4: Poor Posture

Check! Check! Check!

Energy Zapper #5: Toxic Indoor Air

No. Well, at least one of these doesn't count against me. Working in the home has SOME advantages!

Energy Zapper #6: Eating Too Much at Once

Check. But not as big of a check as it used to be!

Energy Zapper #7: Living in Artificial Light

Check. When I was running outside, this wasn't as big of a factor. Now, however, I'm using an exercise machine that's in the same room where I do all my work! I really need to remember to get outside more.

Energy Zapper #8: Listening to Negative Nellies

Not check! First of all, working in the home has some more advantages here. I determine who and what I listen to. But there have been some toxic people that I've just had to cut myself off from, because I let myself get sucked in and I realized that I didn't like that. And when they couldn't or wouldn't stop, even after I tried to talk about it with them, I chose to stop.

This happened when I was a teacher as well. I stopped eating in the teacher's lounge because, frankly, the teacher's lounge is a bastion of negativity and toxicity. Those teachers called it blowing off steam. I called it mean-spirited and ugly. And I found myself doing it, too! So I took to making intentional contact with teachers who were not like that, and found my own attitude changing in the process!

Energy Zapper #9: Holding a Grudge

Not check.

I hope.

This goes back to #8 as well, though. I've used the word before: "toxic". They use it in the article, too. A grudge doesn't just hurt you, it poisons the people around you. Forgiveness isn't just for the other person, when we forgive it helps us heal as well!

This article is an excellent article, all things considered. The many different solutions for office productivity also apply, I believe, to my writing.

What do you think? Which of these apply to you?

~ Ben

1 comment:

Andrew Beatty said...

I wish I knew some of the things the teachers at Adams were saying... I'm sure quite a few people had reputations, haha.

-Andrew Beatty