You must have heard not to put your life on autopilot. However, putting a few systems of your life on autopilot helps you reap benefits in life. Energy and zeal are inside every one of us. However, if you want to realize your potential in every single aspect of life, you have to master the art of regulating your energy. Besides time even energy which may seem endless does have a limit. If you do not control this, you will burn out at some point in time.
We are aware
The best part about your story is that you already know this. Time management, energy management, prioritizing, we all understand and so do you! Many practice some advanced theories in time management such as Pomodoro Technique and do feel that they are getting insanely efficient.
Still, after some time you feel burned out, missing something important. You may tend to cut down on work time, try to spend time at other places. But even after doing all that are you still feeling a miss!
Draining your energy
Cutting down on time but trying to meet the same target and efficiency will drain you out. Energy is not proportional to your time but is proportional to your effort both mental and physical.
Let me explain this with an example.
I was working hard in 2010. I was getting results and hence had the internal motivation to work even harder. I felt full of energy. Although very soon, long work hours, client meetings, etc made me spend a lot of time sitting. I started feeling a heavy low back. As time passed by, this heavy feeling turned into strong, debilitating back pain. My internal motivation was able to ignore it for a few more weeks. Nothing was helping. The pain escalated to the levels where I had to take medical help.
I reduced my work, took painkillers and other medication on doctor’s advice, and even took physiotherapy sessions. However, I was not able to push through the pain. Willpower and energy were just not enough. I felt something was amiss in my life. I needed to identify it and do something about it.
I have learned of something known as the Self-control system. We need to inculcate a few simple but constructive things in our daily routine. Self-control systems are habits and lifestyle adaptations that become part of your life. Over a while, these habits become so natural that we feel ‘Life is on autopilot’.
Instead of pushing yourself using your energy and willpower, you should build habits. You need to build those habits which work for you.
Let me explain
To come out completely from the mess I had created on myself, I hired a personal trainer to help me set up a workout routine. I bought some gym equipment, a yoga mat, and a few more apparatus. I was aware that the pain will not magically go away. My earlier thinking that my willpower and energy will win was wrong. So I built small habits and made lifestyle changes. Those small changes not only helped in getting rid of the back pain but made me fitter. Now I feel more energy than ever before. I also enjoy spending time on it.
Switch to Autopilot mode
We have to inculcate lifestyle changes in a way in which we can sustain them. For sustenance, willpower is not enough. You need to take small steps, make habits and induce lifestyle changes that you enjoy. Once these acts embed in your daily routine, you have switched your autopilot mode ‘ON’.
This is Self-control System.
It is not about forcing yourself into something you do not like but changing your life into something, you want to live.