When it comes to productivity, one of the biggest issues I deal with regularly is energy management. I generally feel like I have enough time to accomplish my goals, however, I don't always feel like I'm up for doing them. For the past couple of years, I've started to focus on how various activities affect my energy levels and developed a small framework for it. I mentally categorize all activities into three categories which I describe below.
This is defined as time and energy spent working towards goals in my life. I want to maximize the amount of work I can perform in order to more effectively reach my goals and live a fuller, happier life.
- Working at my job
- Projects or hobbies
- Cleaning, tidying up, errands
- Socializing or spending time with family
Active Rest describes activities that make me feel re-energized after I've done them, which will allow me to do more work.
- Taking a nap
- Chilling in a hammock
- Going on a walk
- Playing with my dogs
- Having a fun chat with a friend
Passive Rest (the bad stuff)
These activities are similar to Active Rest activities, in that they are things I do when I need a break from working. The difference is, these don't make me feel recharged. At best, I'm recharged a little - at worst, I actually have less energy than when I started. These will vary from person to person, but for reference, these are things I consider Passive Rest activities:
- Browsing social media / Reddit
- Most video games
- Watching TV / shows
Like I mentioned before, my goal is to maximize my ability to do Work. I view it similar to a mana bar - working decreases my energy over time, and both Active Rest and Passive Rest increase it. However, Active Rest is much more effective at restoring energy than Passive Rest.
TLDR; Focus on activities that lead you towards your goals. If you don't have the energy to work on those things, effectively rest and avoid activities that aren't truly recharging.