Energy Vampires: How Do We Keep Them At Bay?

This meeting could have been an email. Why am I in CC? I really should get back to work.
Keep energy vampires at bay.

Energy vampires are tricky to deal with. They drain you of your most vital resource: your energy. It can start with small talk and evolve into niche topics that you may not be interested in, like the mechanics of the Rubik’s Cube.

While they mean you no harm, you should still prioritise your energy for a productive day. Here’s how you can identify and deal with these energy-draining vampires.

1. Identifying Count Drag-ula

Identifying Count Drag-ula

Here’s the first energy vampire we are all too familiar with: conversations.

Engaging in small talk that drags on about something as simple as 'How's the weather today?' can drain you mentally faster than you realise.

Repetition is key when it comes to identifying these energy vampires. It could be a joke you’ve laughed at before, or even a story you’ve heard one too many times at the team dinner.

It is thus no surprise that you find yourself craving a cup of coffee to replenish your social battery after a conversation with an energy vampire. You might even want to retreat into a quiet corner to recuperate.

2. Not All Energy Vampires Take on a Human Form

Not all energy vampires take on a human form

Here’s the second common energy vampire: meetings.

Occasionally, you might find yourself in a meeting that discusses topics outside of your expertise or that are unrelated to your role. They may drag on unnecessarily, delving into details that could have been condensed into a concise summary.

Meetings of this nature tend to sap considerable energy and hamper productivity. In such cases, perhaps communicating through email would suffice.

3. Speaking of Emails...

Speaking of emails

Here’s the third energy vampire: the endless barrage of emails.

These emails often lack clear objectives or calls to action. Are they FYI? Do you need to comment or make a decision?

Emails that meander without a clear focal point leave recipients unsure of what’s expected from them. This leads to a waste of time and energy that could be better utilised.

Then, there are the emails that leave you wondering, “Why am I CC’ed in this?” This creates a nightmare of a thread that is filled with endless replies and repetitive points, consuming everyone’s energy and time.

4. So How Can We Keep Them at Bay?

How can we keep energy vampires at bay?

When caught in a mundane and draining conversation, look for openings in the dialogue to gently steer the discussion back to work-related topics.

For instance, you could smoothly segue by saying, "By the way, have you had the chance to review [so-and-so]'s email regarding the updated report?"

However, be mindful of their reaction. If they seem eager to continue the personal conversation, you might need to choose a different strategy to politely excuse yourself.

For meeting vampires, it is good practice to preface meeting invites with a well-defined agenda.  With this, assess if your presence is truly essential for the meeting. If you are unsure, check in with your boss beforehand.

With emails, it begins with you and how you structure your messages. This involves crafting concise subject lines, including relevant recipients, and ensuring brevity in your content.

Alternatively, you can explore workflow and asynchronous communication tools to improve your team’s productivity.

Fostering a Great Workplace

While avoiding droning conversations with energy vampires is beneficial, it’s also important not to isolate colleagues.

At our very core, we are social creatures, and we each have our own quirks and mannerisms, especially when it comes to interacting with each other.

Striking a balance may not be easy, but it is key to protecting your energy while fostering positive connections within the team.

If all else fails, a garlic necklace might work, and everyone else in the office will avoid a conversation with you. But in all seriousness, if you’re truly unable to avoid a conversation with an energy vampire, it’s important to find ways to recharge afterward.

As for emails and meetings, office cultures do take time to evolve, but you can help get the gears turning if you are proactive about making positive changes.

All in all, it’s about creating a workplace where everyone is empowered to make a difference. But to get there, everyone has to work together to create an environment that enables our thriving. Great work starts with a great workplace.

    Jun 7, 2024
    Marc Ashley Alexander
    Joshua Yeo
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