How to Create Your 5-Second Energy Filter for Work & Life

How to Create Your 5-Second Energy Filter for Work & Life

This article was originally posted here with the blog site: Stilettos On The Glass Ceiling – the ultimate resource for women in business.

“Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.” ― Deepak Chopra


Your Energy Filter is the bridge from your current reality to future possibilities in your work & life. This energy filter is a way to:

  • streamline your energy into what really matters to you in your work & life.
  • prioritize and focus your energy into the few things that matter.
  • remove emotional blocks and fears to get to your inner core.

How we manage our energy is up to us … How we respond to anything is up to us … How much we take on, defer, or say no to is up to us … We have more power than we realize in our work & life to manage our day to day.

Your energy filter is a way to PROACTIVELY manage energy in your present day to align YOU (your soul) with your work & life priorities. We are bombarded with social media, e-mails, instant messages, text messages, meetings, requests and assignments. We need a custom system to quickly calibrate what is coming in and what to do about it based on what matters most in our work & life.

You don’t need to accept everything swirling in your mind. You don’t need to accept all the requests and demands coming at you. Filter to accept the things your soul is saying are most important … not your ego. Your ego makes a BIG DEAL out of everything. “If I don’t say yes, this will happen. If I say no, this will happen.” Your ego can make you feel like you are not enough and that you are helpless. Your soul is your intuitive voice that exists without NEEDING approval. Your soul is about doing great work, being a great mom/dad/friend/co-worker, doing your absolute best you can. Your soul appreciates your focus and dedication to serving BOTH yourself and others around you.

The Energy Filter

We all have an Energy Filter that we are using to manage our day to day. You may not realize this fully but your energy flow is directing where, when, and how you spend your time. The challenge is the times when our Energy Filter shuts down because we are overloaded. The opportunity is to create more awareness of where your energy is flowing and direct your energy toward what really matters in your work & life.

Can I dedicate focused time on e-mail rather than reacting to e-mail all day? Can I ask for an extension? Can I move that meeting? Can I create a block of time to focus just on work with no e-mails or distractions?

The answer to the above questions = YES.You can do all those things to help you manage your energy.It is about being proactive and preserving your energy system based on what, when, and how YOU need energy.

Here are some steps to get started:

1) Understand your Current Energy Flow

Take a piece of paper (or electronically) and write down HOW you spent your energy last week in these buckets:

  • Work
  • Home
  • Kids/Pets
  • Self
  • Other (social media, etc)

There are no rules here other than documenting specifically HOW you spent energy and time during the week.Think about food shopping, house cleaning, meetings, projects at work, time on Internet, personal time, exercise, texting, general kids stuff like driving-homework-etc.For self you might put running, meditation, coffee with a friend, reading a book.

2) Identify Energy Leaks & Boosts

Circle specific areas where you felt an energy leak using a RED pen.

  • When did you feel drained? When did you take on too much at work? When did you feel overwhelmed? Did you fully disconnect from work during the week? What about food?

Circle specific areas where you felt an energy boost using a GREEN pen.

  • When did you feel in flow? When did you lose track of time and complete tasks on your list? What food gave you energy?

3) Build Your Energy Fuel

On this SAME sheet of paper, list under SELF what you can add to build up more energy this next week. Note we are not creating a new list. We build from where we are with one addition to create more energy fuel. Energy can come from exercise, meditation, and rest. Where do you need to build your energy reserves? What is the easiest way you can add more energy fuel?

Sometimes we feel guilty about taking time for our selves through something like exercise because we have those e-mails to respond to or that project that is due in a few days. That pressure of wanting to do great work comes from a good place. Yet, at some point we drain ourselves completely of energy and we are worthless at work and at home. It is no wonder some of us feel like we are on a roller coaster ride with energy highs and lows.

You may be worried about what might happen if you step away for some energy fuel. Unless you are a medical doctor on call, things will be ok. And just because people around you are drained of energy, doesn’t mean you have to be drained too.

In short: your energy fuel matters to your health, your team at work, and your family.

4) The 5-Second Energy Filter

As you go about your week – your task is to REACT LESS and OBSERVE MORE.When our Energy Filter is broken, we just react, react, react.We react to our kids, family, friends, and people at work.And react means as something comes in, it grabs our attention and everything else stops. We try to keep up with all the inputs coming in and we just keep doing and going.

This week, the opportunity is to use the 5-second Energy Filter. Think of this like your own energy lab throughout the day. The good news is you can start doing this now. All you need is 5 seconds. 1-2-3-4-5. When you are in your car, at the store, or at your desk – take these 5 seconds to observe, filter, and THEN respond to anything that comes your way. Your response may be silence. Your response may be a comment or a question. What you are doing is stepping back, creating space, and prioritizing how, when, and where you spend your energy.

Think of energy like money. With money, we think about how we spend it. Money IS energy.In 5-seconds, we can think about how to spend our energy.

Your energy lab is your life…and energy is your catalyst to new possibilities.

“Everything we do is infused with the energy with which we do it. If we’re frantic, life will be frantic. If we’re peaceful, life will be peaceful. And so our goal in any situation becomes inner peace.”― Marianne Williamson


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Kara Smith is a talent development / HR leader and is the founder of the Soul of Work project:, a think tank and not for profit learning lab.  The mission & intention of the Soul of Work project is to bring best practices, tools, and practical insights from thought leaders to help professionals get hired, build more sustainable economic fulfillment in both work & life, and do their best work.  As part of this mission, the Soul of Work project is dedicated to actively fundraise and donate to aligned non-profit organizations.  Learn more here:  Kara is a working mother who believes we do our BEST work when we align work with our life.