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If you’re feeling drained – here’s why…

Wilhelm Crous - Thursday, December 19, 2019

At this time of the year, most people feel drained and need a break and time to recuperate. And while there’s no doubt, rest is crucial, it’s still important to understand what’s really draining your energy… 

After conducting a study on a group of executives,  Professor Manfred Kets De Vries, Distinguished Professor of Leadership Development and Organisational Change at INSEAD, identified the following unexpected energy drainers:

1. An addiction to the Internet and other passive media
Unsurprisingly, most of the executives complained about being addicted to the Internet. Not only did the endless stream of communications stress them out, they also admitted that spent a considerable amount of time on social media and other online activities, distracting them from their primary tasks. 

2. Excessively high expectations
Some of the executives often felt like they were trying to please everybody. And an even greater number of executives succumbed to perfectionism. 

3. Continuing unproductive relationships
Another common complaint was having to deal with negative people. Some executives explained how exhausting it was to play the role of a ‘bin’ in which everyone dumps their problems. 

4. Poor eating habits
Given the constant pressure they’re under, many executives found themselves with poor eating habits. They ate too much fast food or ate excessively to soothe themselves. Indeed, quite a few of them had serious weight problems. 

5.'Hurry sickness'
Many executives shared that their workload and hectic business travel schedules made them prey to ‘hurry sickness’. Just like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, they always felt frantic, like time was running out.

6. The inability to master one’s own time
Many executives confessed they were ineffective at setting priorities. They had a hard time deciding what was important and sticking to their schedule. They also struggled to set boundaries and felt their time was at the mercy of other people’s priorities. Interestingly, while some executives complained about a lack of structure in their lives, others said that their lives were overstructured – with little freedom to pursue energy-giving endeavours.

In order to combat these ‘energy-drainers’ on a consistent basis, Professor De Vries suggests undertaking more energy-boosting activities, such as: 
  • Creative endeavours
  • Spending time with family and friends
  • Exercising
  • Walking outdoors
While regular rest is important, it’s also valuable to identify the ‘energy-drainers’ in your life and take the necessary steps to reduce their impact. So this December, take the opportunity to consider how you can build a life in 2020 that will give you energy, not rob you of it.

Sarah Arnot Mulhern, in her new book, Find Your Focus: 5 Steps to Your Best Year Ever offers a five-step programme to help busy executives take back control of their choices and achieve more while still staying energised. If you’re feeling stretched too thin or constantly busy but not getting anywhere, then this is a book to definitely add to your holiday reading list! 

Learn more about this title – here.

Kets De Vries, M. F. (2019, October 25). If You're Feeling Drained, Here's Why. INSEAD.





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