Primary factors in life design: Energy and focus

Okay, please recall for a moment that these are also the two primary factors involved in trait conscientiousness. Basically, a conscientious person has high energy and is able to direct this energy according to preconceived plans of the ego/will. A more precise term for “focus” would be “agency”, but that’s not the word we tend to think of in the moment when we’re asking ourselves how we’re feeling. It is much more productive to ask “How is my focus right now?”

On the micro, day-to-day level, these are still the factors that require the most attention when you’re building a habit chain for efficiency and low friction. This is accomplished by noting which tasks require high/low energy and high/low focus, and which tasks naturally produce a state of high/low energy and high/low focus.

I’ve been playing pickup basketball lately. Some nights are great, some are downright embarrassing. I finally nailed down the proper configuration last night: high energy, low focus. This led me to play very well, with spontaneity, relaxation, reactivity, and creativity. More like a black guy, basically. I accomplished this on purpose by practicing improv on my guitar beforehand, which produces an extremely scattered frame of mind afterward.

Your mileage may vary, but here’s are some generalizations I’ve noticed:

Playing an RPG video game: Requires low energy and low focus, produces high energy and high focus. (This is why I play video games as part of my failure cycles.)

Lifting weights: Requires high energy. Produces a state of low energy, high focus.

Running: Requires high energy, produces high energy and low focus. Over time, cardio increases baseline energy but also increases the amplitude of fluctuations in focus levels. So you might spontaneously find yourself in outer space.

Reading: Requires low energy, high focus. High energy causes frustration because you want to get up and go do stuff. Reading (without frustration) creates great momentum for more reading because ceteris pablum energy stays low and focus increases.

Sleeping: Depends heavily on how you slept. Good, abundant sleep produces low energy, high focus early in the day and high energy, low focus in the afternoon. Poor sleep or not enough sleep produces high energy, low focus early in the day and low energy, very low focus late in the day. Going to sleep requires low energy and low focus.

Compliance-testing bullshit: Requires high energy and high focus, produces low energy and low focus.

Go forth, observe, and hack thyself.

About Aeoli Pera

Maybe do this later?
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1 Response to Primary factors in life design: Energy and focus

  1. MM says:

    Just missing Momentum

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