Personal Energy

by Stuart Harris

Track your energisers and leeches

Notice what energises you, what drains you and what you do about them if you want to use energy more effectively.

Do you remember the things you were worrying about a year ago?

How did they work out?

Didn’t you waste a lot of fruitless energy on account of most of them?

Didn’t most of them turn out all right after all?

Dale Carnegie

It’s important to know and respect your own energisers (and leeches) for many reasons – not least because when you’re energised, you have motivation and staying power.

Old-style industrial managers motivating the masses tended to think in terms of simple ‘carrots and sticks’ – also known as ‘greed and fear’ or ‘pleasure and pain’ motivators. Today’s managers need an individualised take on what energises different people if they are to be good at motivating individuals (including themselves).

Some people get excited talking about WiFi, some recharge their batteries with a walk in the park, while others get fired up by heavy metal music or opera.

The combination of things that energise you is part of your uniqueness. They’re strongly linked to your values and your personal behavioural preferences, which are well worth exploring in their own right.

Whether or not you’re interested in finding out why certain things energise or drain you, it’s certainly worth your while to invest a little energy in finding out what affects your energy levels.

Not all energisers and leeches are equal

It’s entirely up to you to decide what count as energisers or leeches for you. You may find it useful to bear the following considerations in mind.

Beware of false energisers. Some things that energise you may leech energy away from other things. This is often the case with compulsions (computer games and gambling, for instance). When in doubt, remember the question: ‘Is this thing an energy investment or an energy expense?’

Does the energy effect generalise into other areas of your life in a useful way?

Energisers and leeches come in several forms. There are activities – things that you do. There are events – things that happen. There are external environments – places, with their distinctive feel, sounds, sights, tastes and smells. And, more subtly, there are inner environments – your attitudes, thoughts and moods or states. They are interdependent. Whether an activity, event or environment is classified as an energiser or a leech may depend on your inner state at the time. The same event could be a leech if you are a bit depressed or an energiser if you are happy.

If people around you aren’t going anywhere, if their dreams are no bigger than hanging out on the corner, or if they’re dragging you down, get rid of them. Negative people can sap your energy so fast, and they can take your dreams from you, too.

Earvin Johnson

Your energisers and leeches tracker

The purpose of this exercise is to help you increase your awareness of what energises you and what leeches your energy. If you have already done your daily energy profile, you will already have plenty of clues about this.

This is not a one-off exercise, it’s cumulative over time.


Make some notes on the following

  1. Choose anything that has a noticeable energy effect on you and give a brief outline of it, under the heading DESCRIPTION.
  2. Under FORM, decide whether it’s an Activity (you do it), an Event (happens to you), an External Environment (place with feel, sounds, sights, tastes and smells).
  3. Under STATE, note down a brief description of your Inner Environment.
  4. Under ENERGY EFFECT, consider and note down how whatever it is affects your mental, emotional and physical energy. What’s the immediate effect; what’s the longer term effect, and what’s the effect on your overall energy balance?
  5. Now it’s time to consider whether this thing is an ENERGISER or a LEECH. Some cases may be obviously one or the other. Some may be borderline, in which case ask the question ‘Is it an energy investment or an energy expense?’
  6. Once you have thought through the preceding points, it’s time to consider what you’re going to do with the information. Ultimately your options are going to boil down to ‘More’, ‘Less’ or ‘Different’. Write this under a heading NEXT STEPS.
  7. Repeat the process for anything that you notice having an effect on your energy.

You will start to see patterns emerging, and this can help you make decisions about things that are really worth doing and some things that it would be good to find a way to remove from your life.

Click here if you would like a template to print out.