We each make decisions about the gas we have in our cars—or our lives. When we don’t have enough of something, we need to refill the tank.
We have at least these personal “tanks”:
- Physical endurance (which requires sleep and physical practice).
- Judgment to manage ourselves. I rely on judgment to create empathy for others.
- Intellectual and emotional food for thought, so we can consider more options.
Last week, I had a stomach bug. Not only did I not publish a post here, I didn’t write anything, anywhere. I was miserable. (I’m much better now.)
When I get physically sick, my judgment also tends to go haywire. I might not realize I can do something specific to get better, such as drinking enough. If I don’t take care of myself enough, I lose some intellectual reasoning. Luckily, I have a checklist for stomach bugs. The first thing on that list is “drink more.” (I did!)
However, because I had little physical endurance, I spent a lot of time napping. The naps and the water helped restore my physical endurance. In turn, that allowed me more judgment. That judgment allowed me to consider more options with reading and reflecting.
Reading feeds my intellect and emotions. You might choose art or music—or physical activity. Whatever you choose, you use it to refill your tanks.
The real issue is how do you know it’s time to refill your tanks? We each see our own unique cues.
What Cues Do You Notice?
Because I’ve driven cars for so long, I look at the gas tank in my car every single time I get in. I look for the cue.
But, let me go a little meta. We each need to identify and look for the cues for our own tanks.
I use personal kanban to manage my choices for my work. The kanban helps me see undone work. That’s a cue. Do I need to change something about my work or my expectations? Do I need to change my choices? Maybe I need to research something to be able to complete this piece of work.
If I have trouble writing, I might need to read more. That’s the intellectual food for thought.
Since I have vertigo, I notice my physical endurance—and especially, a lack thereof. That might mean more sleep or more working out—or both.
Those are my cues. Yours might well be different.
The earlier we notice our cues that we need to refill our tanks, the earlier we can act. Then, we can choose when.
That’s why the question this week is about noticing: When do you know it’s time to refill your tank?