I love this exercise from Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. You do stuff everyday. Some of it you choose to do. A lot of it you have to do. Each day your energy flows around your tasks, sometimes up and sometimes down.
If you want to have more up-energy, try tracking your energy flow for a week. You can either set up an activity log, or better yet, just mark up your planner. At the end of the day, look at each thing you did and check off or highlight things that raised your energy.
What’s cool about us is that we’re all different. A high-energy part of your day could be:
- Heading out on a morning run.
- Getting your house in order before you head out for the day.
- Standing at a sink washing dishes in warm, soapy water.
- Quietly crocheting a baby blanket.
- Meeting with people you work with and getting a project on its feet.
- Sitting down in a theater and hearing the overture start.
- Hanging out with your spouse, kids, or friends.
- Eating pizza!
At the end of the week, look at what you marked as “high energy” and see if you can find patterns.
- Is there a certain environment that spurs energy for you?
- Are there certain type of activities?
- Are there any material items in common with your high energy activities, like computers, phones, garden tools, or kitchen implements?
- Are there people who are common throughout your favorite activities? Or are you alone when you’re most energized?
- Are there certain times of day where you find yourself consistently in high-energy situations?
- Are your high energy activities planned, or spontaneous?
- What other patterns do you see?
As you head into a fresh week, think back on your discoveries. Is there anything you can bring forward this week to bring in more high energy? Your life doesn’t depend on it. But it sure does make things more fun.
And if you found the first week you starting collecting data was a low energy week with nothing good to mark, that tells you a story as well. Was it just an off week? Or is it time to bring high-energy work into your life? 🙂
My younger daughter, Bea, graduated this week with her Masters in Social Work and will be running a floor of an 80-family homeless shelter in the Bronx. Her high-energy work would drain me – but it gets her all excited. Isn’t that cool 🙂
Want to see other posts on this blog? There’s a small link below to the left that will take you to the most recent post. Or check out the column on the right to see what other folks are reading. Please try the “search” box at the top of the page if you’re looking for something specific.
If you’re reading this on your phone, all of that is below.
I welcome your thoughts and suggestions for future posts!