10 Ways to Power Up Your Battery
The Energy Equation
Your Battery Gauge = Energy Charged - Energy Drained
The Introvert's Energy Equation is quite simple. Much like a conventional battery, our own battery has an internal gauge that measures the amount of energy we have. That energy is the balance of how much energy we have created and how much we have spent.
Each of our batteries is about the same size. When our battery is full, we have the physical energy and also the mental space to do things. When our battery is getting low, we get more sluggish, tired, and very selective of what we want to do. It is important to gauge where your battery level is. If your battery is draining, you can gauge how much longer you have, like Cinderella at the Ball. When that energy drains, you better find shelter in your comfort zone or you may crash. Crashing can be ugly - totally removed from conversations, uncomfortable, short-tempered, or even panic-mode.
-Beware of the Danger Zone: Draining your Battery
The Danger Zone is that "red" level on your fuel gauge that indicates you are almost out of fuel. You always want to avoid the danger zone. What is draining? I find that the further I get from my comfort zone, the quicker I get drained. Saying "hi" or chatting with a co-worker or school parent is a slow drain. Being part of a contentious debate, being unprepared for a meeting, or leading a presentation in front of dozens drains my battery rapidly. It's important to understand what drains you most so you can use the tools below to avoid the danger zone.
+Charging your Battery
How can you refill your battery? This can be through rest, reading, music, exercise, hobbies like art or writing, or also through those work tasks you really enjoy. Those may be solitary menial tasks that give your brain a bit of a rest while also providing a sense of accomplishment. Examples could be filing, planning your calendar, or sending some quick emails.
Not all activities recharge your battery at the same pace. Some activities are super-chargers. They quickly recharge your battery. You may only need five minutes of reading or walking or journaling to boost your energy. Other activities may slowly elevate your energy level.
Find time to recharge. Regardless of whether you go to the office (at home these days) or are busy with your kids all day, you can't wait until 6 pm to recharge. By then, your battery is empty and you likely weren't happy or very productive in the afternoon.
Carve out some time throughout the day. Walk the floor or campus alone. Jot down a few thoughts in your journal. Spread out those menial yet satisfying tasks in between tense meetings or engagements.
Don't schedule back-to-back meetings. Give yourself at least 15 minutes between meetings and split that time between preparing for the meeting so it is less stressful, and just relaxing to collect yourself and recharge a bit. If you have to travel across campus or across town for meetings, provide ample time. Reserve some time afterward for a bit of solitude to bring your energy level back up.
Lunch Time Treat
You may also choose to grab lunch by yourself in your office, in the cafe, or off-campus. When I learned this trick, I initially felt strange. Are people watching me? Do they think I'm weird? Do they think I'm antisocial or pompous? But then I realized how valuable that time was for me, especially in the middle of a chaotic day. I recognized I had a lot more energy in the afternoon and others too benefited when I was full of energy.
I even shared my need to reenergize with my team when we had some reflections on team member styles and how to mesh them together to form a stronger group. I found many others felt the same way. Together, we broke through some barriers that day and became a more authentic and supportive team.
Expand Your Toolkit
It's great to stretch your comfort zone so you find more ways to relax and recharge. Check out my Growth Rings Model to navigate your journey to try new things while providing yourself with support and compassion along the way. The more options you have to reenergize, the easier it is to avoid your battery's danger zone.
No More Leftovers
For years, I would come home drained. I slid into the couch and often was unable to join the family conversation. My family got whatever was leftover. Sound familiar?
Before the end of your workday, review your calendar for the next day. Be sure to create space. Schedule your walk or lunch out. This will give you some comfort that you have exerted control over your schedule and you have a manageable day ahead.
Try to find a low-stress commute. It doesn't help much when we finish work with a rather full battery, only to fight traffic or have to socialize in the carpool. My favorite commute was a train ride home in London. I could read, nap, or journal. It allowed me to transition out of work mode and join the conversation with the family when I got home.
Best ways to keep your battery going:
Plan your day on your calendar.
Remove items that are not necessary, especially on packed days. Don't overdo it.
Review your calendar the day before.
Ensure you have time between meetings.
Schedule time before meetings to prepare and reenergize.