Stress blog

Eliminate energy drains

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. October 14, 2010

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  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    1-800-273-TALK (8255)
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  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
    www.nami.org
    1-800-950-NAMI (6264)

A colleague introduced me to a new concept, and I'd like to share it with you. The concept is "eliminating energy drains."

My colleague is a college professor who was asked to dramatically overhaul a complex series of courses with a very short deadline. There was no margin for error. If the proposal wasn't clear and focused, the budget would be rejected, and students, faculty and support personnel would be affected.

My colleague said that to focus she needed to eliminate energy drains. I asked her to elaborate on what she meant by "energy drains." She explained that her focus and her energy needed to be directed to the task at hand. Therefore, she needed to completely put out of her mind everything else, including the annoying nuisances that drive all of us crazy — the faucet that drips, the light bulb that needs to be replaced, the pile of unread magazines, etc.

Now, don't misinterpret my comments. Obviously, you can't ignore a broken pipe or some overarching financial issue. But if you try to attend to all of the issues that cry out for your attention, you'll become distracted, your energies will be diluted and you'll never tackle what's most important.

So this chance meeting provided an important message: First things must be first. You can tackle the mundane nuisances once the main project receives the attention it deserves.

With

Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

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6 Comments Posted

Oct. 14, 2010