The majority of people waste immense amounts of energy trying to do everything at once.
Countless studies have proven multitasking doesn’t work. Attention drag — energy that is wasted between constant shifts of focus — adds up and drains your focus. Most people try to get it all done at once but only end up burning out.
Worse still, most people don’t know how to properly rest well, either. Studies show most people sabotage their rest throughout their day with excessive consumption of coffee, alcohol, and foods, substances that severely disrupt their sleeping.
Even during downtime, people don’t know how to re-energize effectively.Instead of true rest — detaching from technology, exercising, reading, or just turning your mind off — most people dive deeper into technology and distractions that only serve to drain more energy.
The world’s most successful and effective people operate with a very different set of rules for getting rest than 99% of other people. These individuals have specific behaviors that prevent energy waste and enable massive energy production.
World-class performers make rest a priority. They’re good at it. They have strict guidelines and boundaries they follow to ensure they operate with the maximum energy, as long as possible.
Here’s how you can stop wasting energy and constantly operate at your peak level.
“The key to becoming world-class in your endeavors is to build your performance around world-class routines.” — Darren Hardy
1. Routines Take Away Most of the Work
“When you build a habit, you don’t have to waste mental energy deciding what to do.” — David Kadavy
It’s not fair to compare your beginning efforts with a seasoned pro. It’s silly.
Why? Because the pros already have a system. They’re able to save immense amounts of energy every day, simply because they don’t have to spend any extra energy deciding what to do. Their routine is already set.
Routines take away most of the work.
When you start something new, you’re automatically spending lots of energy getting used to it — all these new actions and choices cost energy.
If you try to start too many new behaviors at once — waking up early and journaling and exercising and eating healthy and reading — you’re all but certain to fail.
Last year, I tried doing just that. I fell off the wagon after a few days. Bleary-eyed, I was fumbling in the dark with the coffee, trying to remember what came after journaling but before reading my book and…
“When we sit down day after day and keep grinding, something mysterious starts to happen. A process is set in motion by which, inevitably and infallibly, heaven comes to our aid. Unseen forces enlist our cause. Serendipity reinforces our purpose.” — Steven Pressfield
But once you start a routine, the routine takes all your energy-draining choices away. Everything is already set — now you just have to do it. Nothing to think about. All your energy goes into whatever you’re currently doing.
In his book, Choose Yourself, podcaster James Altucher mentioned an interview with Stephen King. King explained that even if he takes two weeks off writing (only two weeks!), he loses momentum and writing becomes harder to start.
If Stephen King struggles with writing outside of a routine, you will struggle with being productive, too.
It takes time for routines to work. Start out with small stuff. Familiarize your body, mind, and alarm clock
Once you memorize the system, you save enormous amounts of energy that are usually wasted trying to decide what to do.
Make a system, and stick with it.
“The slightest adjustments to your daily routines can dramatically alter the outcomes in your life.” — Darren Hardy
2. Only Low Performers Criticize, Gossip, and Complain
“Successful, happy, well-emotionally-balanced people don’t have time to shit on somebody else.” — Sean Stephenson
Criticizing, complaining, and gossiping is exhausting.
I used to be the worst at this. I was a huge office gossip. Back at my old corporate job, I spent more energy watching for someone to make an awkward slip-up so I could secretly talk behind their back than actually working! It was stupid, and I regret every time I did it.
Top performers and individuals with enormous success don’t have time to trash-talk others. Of course, many do (even some nation’s Presidents), but it’s still energy they wasted on their critics that could have been spent evolving and succeeding.
“Criticizing others wastes energy we could be using to grow.” — David Kadavy, Love Your Work podcast
Only low performers continue to waste energy criticizing others.
The world sets you up to do this, and it’s your responsibility to stop. “‘Celebrity Said Thing’ is 90 percent of media news stories these days,” wrote sports columnist Justin Verrier. Nowadays, music, politics, the news, even sports are founded on what some celebrity said.
It doesn’t matter. It’s mindless gossip that won’t matter tomorrow or even the next few hours. As is the case with most gossip.
Criticism is a favorite scapegoat of many people; most people would rather criticize a teacher than actually learn what they’re teaching.
World-class performers don’t get caught up in these, and neither should you.If you want to stop wasting energy and operate at peak levels, stop complaining. Stop gossiping.
It’s only draining your energy.
“All around you is an environment that is trying to pull you down to Second-Class Street.” — David Schwartz
3. Most of the Things You Do Are Unimportant.
“Most of the things people do are, at best, a waste of energy.” — Jim Collins
When we die, we’re only left with three things:
Our favorite memories
In this light, most things don’t matter. All that matters are creating memories to keep you warm for decades, minimizing regrets, and working your ass off to create your legacy.
One of my favorite writers is James Altucher. After 50 years and tens of millions of dollars later, here’s his best advice for life:
“Only think about the people you enjoy. Only read the books you enjoy, that make you happy to be human. Only deal with the people who love you back, who are winners and want you to win too.”
Invest in your important things. Only get to everything else if there’s still time.
For me, that’s my Christian faith, my friends and family, traveling the world, and helping people through my content. I am here to spread the Gospel of Jesus, have deeply meaningful relationships with loved ones, travel the world, and help people.
Everything else is in the “other” category.
Unfortunately, most people get too caught up in the trivial minutia and give their power to irrelevant, inconsequential things. Their family gets pushed to the side. Their dreams get lost.
It doesn’t really matter:
If your favorite sports team wins the championship
If you ever got your boss to like you
If your boss fires you
If your political candidate wins this year
If you burn some bridges
If you don’t own the latest electronic
If you never become a millionaire
If you get rejected
This is hard, especially at the moment. I get that.
Once in 4th grade, I was secretly eating chips under my desk (strictly forbidden in Ms. Finch’s class). Brittany Mason noticed, and hissed she would tattle on me if I didn’t share. But I don’t negotiate with terrorists. I prepared for the inevitable.
While my cheeks burned with the humiliation of getting yelled at in front of the whole class, it really did seem like my world was over. But, I kid you not, I remember having this profound moment of clarity where I realized, “Someday, I’m going to laugh at this.”
I just chuckled, like I usually do when I remember that story.
Most things aren’t that important. What matters is creating your legacy, doing what you love to do, and helping as many people as you can do the same.
“If we organize the majority of our work time around applying the principles of greatness, and pretty much ignore everything else, our lives would be simpler and our results vastly improved.” — Jim Collins, Good to Great
4. Want Better Results? Create a Better System.
“Your systems are more important than your goals.” — James Clear
Most people don’t really have a system that sets them up for success.
They might have goals. They might watch TEDTalks, create “dream boards,” maybe even watch Tony Robbin’s documentaries.
But when it comes to actually sustaining a new habit to produce the results they want, most people fall very short.
This is because they are trying to set up new behaviors without the foundation of a proper system. They waste immense energy, focus, and effort on a losing battle.
“Forget about setting goals. Instead, you can keep things simple and reduce stress by focusing on the daily process and sticking to your schedule, rather than worrying about the big, life-changing goals.” — James Clear
If you want to stop wasting energy and operate at peak efficiency, then create a better system that produces results every day.
I’m writing a book right now. My publisher has a lot of homework for me, and it’s pretty overwhelming.
My strategy is to just do a little bit of work on it, consistently. Even if I only write a couple hundred words, I consider that a success. Because I trust my system — if I do that dozens of days, I’ll finish the book eventually.
I avoid wasting huge amounts of energy trying to cram everything in at once. All that stress, pressure, anxiety when I have writer’s block…it’s terrible. Instead, I just write a little on this day, a little more on the next.
Instead of gritting your teeth harder in a broken system, create a system that enables you to make a little more progress, every day.
The system works. Trust the system.
“Small, seemingly inconsistent steps completed consistently over time will create a radical difference.” — Darren Hardy
“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do.” — Darren Hardy
If you want to stop wasting energy and operate at your peak level, you’re probably going to need to change some parts of your life.
It’s time to stop making excuses. There are probably dozens of behaviors you do every day that only serve to waste energy when you could be operating at a higher level.
Create good systems, and develop solid routines based on the success of others. Don’t waste energy gossiping, criticizing, complaining, or making excuses.
Remember — most of the things you do are probably unimportant when compared with your life’s work. Make better decisions about how you spend your time and energy.
“The only way things are going to change for you is when you change.” — Jim Rohn