William Liao

September 16, 2021

Productively channeling your energy

Productively channeling your energy is an underrated and under-discussed skill.

Despite on the surface sounding like some woo-woo bit of pseudoscience, the idea of productively channeling your energy simply refers to focusing your attention on activities and topics that are useful for achieving the outcomes you care about. 

Many of us can relate to this. And in practice, it’s not unusual to find that you channel your energy well in some situations while struggling to do so in other situations. 

A good way to know if you’re using your energy effectively is to consider the second-order effects of your actions: 

Will continuing to be frustrated bring you closer to a solution? 

Will sending this communication help or harm the situation? 

Will worrying bear any effect on the outcome?

When you evaluate your actions in this way, you’ll quickly come to realize whether you should continue the course or adjust your response. 

In a lot of teams, a commonly touted bit of advice is to “have a bias towards action.”

I tend to agree, but would add one more adjective: “have a bias towards thoughtful action.” 

There’s a night-and-day difference between charting a path forward with activity you recognize as productive versus engaging in impulsive activity with questionable outcomes.