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 categorize all activities into three categories which I describe below.
This is time spent working towards goals in 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 involves activities that make me feel re-energized after I've done them.
- Taking a nap
- Laying in a hammock
- Going on a walk
- Playing with dogs
- Chatting with a friend
Passive Rest (the bad stuff)
These are things you do when you feel like you need a break or don't have the energy to continue working on Active activities. The difference is, these don't make you feel recharged. At best, you've recharged a little - at worst, you actually have less energy than when you started. These will vary from person to person, but for reference, these are things I consider Passive Resting activities:
- Browsing social media / Reddit
- Most video games
- Re-watching shows, or watching mediocre shows
Like I mentioned before, my goal is to maximize my ability to do Work. I view it as a mana bar - working decreases my energy over time, and both Active Rest and Passive Rest potentially increase it. However, Active Rest is much more efficient at restoring energy than Passive Rest.
TLDR; Focus on activities that lead you towards your goals. If you feel like you don't have the energy to work on those things, effectively rest and avoid activities that may feel good, but aren't truly recharging in nature.