Without sufficient consistent energy even the best strategy is useless. A strong indicator of a prosperous economy at a macro scale is energy production and consumption.
Therefore, that idea can be translated to an individual on a micro scale as well.
That said, I notice as an individual my energy and inclination tends to fluctuate. If I had more energy I know I generally would be more active, feel healthier, and move faster towards my goals. Therefore, I’d like to brainstorm ways that my energy may be depleted unnecessarily or not replenished effectively.
What are the challenges to managing my energy and directing it to the most important tasks?
Energy Spent Inefficiently
My intuition tells me that most of my inefficient energy output is due to mental energy. Specifically, I mean practicing speaking more succinctly with my inner voice so that it minimizes the energy output required to come to conclusions. This can be practiced by recording myself speaking out loud about almost anything and incrementally repeating the same topic again but communicating the meaning in less words. If I practice this routinely then I infer I will naturally speak and think more succinctly thus decreasing my energy output and get more accomplished in less time.
Wasted Energy On Non-Priority Topics
I spend more time than I want losing focus on social media, YouTube, or just thinking about hypothetical situations that will never happen.
These activities are not productive and I simply shouldn’t waste mental energy thinking about stupid things.
But I think there is more to it than that. When I take in any information my mind expands upon it while I am not thinking because I believe there are internal systems that are designed to identify risks, issues, and threats and feeds those hypothetical scenarios to my conscious self to plan for. However, if the scenarios are not probable then I waste my time thinking about them and not on the activities that improve my life.
For example, watching people argue about politics and call each other names on YouTube is a distraction. For some reason I gravitate towards these topics and outrage marketing seems to be addictive. Knowing about current social events is interesting and good for conversation, but focusing on them too much and digging into a political stance by focusing on how much an opposition infuriates you is not a good use of time. If I get different points of view about a topic and understand a group of people better then that is useful but generally political arguments on TV are self serving and used to make an opposition look bad while reinforcing the speaker’s beliefs.
Thinking about people that I don’t like or dwelling on past mistakes that distracts me from important activity to achieve my goals is not good. It is just not useful. That said, if something bothers me enough then I will do something about it and create a proactive plan so that it never repeats again. However, instead of getting to the point where I make myself crazy a better approach would be to start with the problem solving and proactive approach when issues are small instead of waiting until they feel big to handle. I think part of this is that I feel comfortable in my own life in general and things are overall quite good. Therefore, sometimes it takes stress to make me act which is a bad habit to get into. Instead, consistently find ways to just get a little better daily in relationships, health, efficiency, effectiveness, and knowledge. If develop a mindset of incremental daily improvement then I will just generally have more success however I want it.
Pushing myself past my limits too often leads to inconsistent progress. Therefore, its better to make consistent incremental progress. As I see that my efforts are effective, make minor changes to increase output. The challenge here is that if I lose momentum or interest and stop making consistent progress for too long then I feel like I have to catch back up. That is the wrong approach because as I push myself too hard I will eventually need to allocate all of my time to resting which means that progress stops. Perhaps I should allocate one day per week to just resting. That said, this is challenging for those that have to work during the day and then allocate time for a side business during the weekends. So, it is best to be more consistent about sleeping, eating healthier food, and limiting substances such as caffeine. I wonder if drinking beverages with too much caffeine concentration impact my sleep. I noticed recently that if I cut out caffeine completely that I had much more deep and REM sleep than the previous days. That said, caffeine enhancing substance because it allows me to focus for a period of time on a specific thing. However, I do notice that if I drink a high concentration of it then I eventually crash and feel really tired as well as have headaches. So, the question is why do I need caffeine? I seem to need it when I feel really tired or I feel like something is really important. Consider just using it in those situations. Therefore, when I really need to do an important activity and need a boost in energy then it can be useful. However, if I take it on a continuous basis then I will need more and more for it to be effective. If I take more then consequently I will sleep less or at least in poorer quality – which then requires me to take more caffeine. I think that will help me sleep better and be more recharged.
Not Maintaining Activities That Promote Good Physical Health
Get a consistent amount of sleep, exercise daily, and eat a healthy diet.
A healthy diet consists of fruits, vegetables, meats, and produce. Eat these more consistently.
Although I like eating unhealthy foods such as Pizza, Burritos, Cheese Burgers, and Butter Chicken, they decrease my energy and focus. Since I like eating these foods trying to completely cut them out of my diet is not going to work as deprivation only leads to pent up desire. When I have pent up desire for something I will eventually binge and it will be worse for my overall energy and weight goals than if I just had a little once in a while. Although I may be able to stop myself from eating them in the short term (a few days or weeks), eventually I will eat these foods. Therefore, allocate at least one day a week to eat unhealthy foods. Don’t make this diet the majority through as I will feel tired, unhappy, and unfocused and not really know why I feel this way. Additionally, having one day in a week that I can look forward to to satisfy a specific craving will help me make a decision to not give into my craving for that day and put it off. Developing a muscle to delay gratification is really important for success in anything as it requires you to sacrifice what I want in the immediate present for something that I know to be better in the future. These value judgements may be difficult at the time but thinking in the mindset of incremental improvement how could I take a first step to improving? A good way to practice delayed gratification is to set a long term goal to delay a food craving until once a week or month or even not at all. Then, improve delayed gratification incrementally. If I impulsively want to eat pizza for example then when I have the thought that I want to eat it tell myself to wait and track the time I wait until I have the thought again. Each time I have the thought track a count for that specific day. I should be able to see incrementally the time between cravings and the number of time I feel an impulse decrease. Over time if I practice redirecting my impulses and waiting then I will be more likely to succeed in delaying a food craving to once a day. The example I gave is for food and weight loss but it could translate to anything.
Sometimes I get sick which is sometimes out of my control. I may have gone somewhere where other people were sick or I may just be run down. That said, I can limit externality by taking vitamins, keeping my house clean and organized, sleeping sufficiently, and eating a healthy balanced diet.
When I do get sick rest to course correct and regain my energy. When I feel the need sleep. When I don’t sleep consistently enough I am completely ineffective and inefficient.
My energy patterns seems to be cyclical. So, in some ways I may not have complete control over that cyclical pattern. However, when I do have a lot of energy I capitalize on that opportunity and focus on priority tasks and don’t waste my energy on non productive tasks that don’t accelerate me towards my goal.
Other times I don’t feel completely in control. I think that my mind is rebalancing from the times where I was overly in control of my body and mind. I hypothesize that there is a distribution of power between internal systems. When I consciously put too much focus on one and not another my body naturally needs to overcorrect for this because I am consciously doing something that is detrimental and I’m just not consciously aware of it. Alternatively, it could be just a natural consequence of overuse and overwork of a specific system. When that happens the system may shut down and need to rest. Or, this is just is the cyclical process that my body takes and I have no conscious control over it and never will. Given that theory it is therefore necessary if I want to get to my goals more consistently to develop and maintain good habits when I feel complete control consciously so in situations when I feel like I am not completely in control then I will take the right action subconsciously. Therefore, perfect practice when activities are easy and the stakes are low is paramount because in pressure situations when I feel stress I will default to my highest level of preparation.