For the purposes of my experiment, I decided to track my energy with five easy levels, and to split my day into morning, mid-day, and evening (since my energy almost always wanes as the day goes). My methods for tracking have slowly improved. I wasn’t great at this at first. I tried to track too many things, then hit a couple rough patches and missed a few days. But slowly, I learned what I could reliably track, built a habit, refined my methods, and grew more perceptive of subtle shifts and patterns in my energy. This is still a work in progress, but this post will give you some idea of how I tracked my energy, some examples of these days from my journal, and a few major indicators I’d use to identify my own energy levels.
1-star energy day
I’m at my lowest energy. I am either sick or hungover or in some other way incapacitated. These happen rarely, but it sets the floor for how I rank my days.
- Long naps and/or early bedtime
2-star energy day
This is a below average day. I’m dragging but not incapacitated. Perhaps I had a bad night of sleep (which is usually the case) or I might be dieting or I had a few drinks the night before. Here is an excerpt from my journal that describes how a 2-star day felt:
After lunch, I had trouble shaking off my fatigue. I had one Coke Zero which did little for me. Went for 1-mile walk which helped get some fresh air in my lungs, but didn’t lift my fog. Had a cup of green tea but still felt lethargic. By mid-afternoon, I knew I had messed up somewhere with my energy chain. I was listless. I had trouble motivating to do any kind of proactive work. I barely spoke up during meetings. I didn’t complete my big assignment for the day. I didn’t do any of my little goals (pushups, weights, etc.). I just felt useless. Today was so disappointing and frustrating. I felt unfulfilled. I didn’t live up to my potential today.
- Brain fog
- Inability to achieve goals
- Reactive rather than proactive
- Desire to slack off
- Early bedtime
3-star energy day
I think of a 3-star day as when I neither notice that I have extra energy or less energy. It is a essentially zero sum energy day. These should be the majority of my days but I’m trying to push my average to four now. So unless I’ve done something wrong with my experiment, I don’t normally have a 3-star energy day. But this used to be the majority of my life, or perhaps I hovered between two and three. Regardless, this is the kind of day when I feel neither energized nor fatigued.
4-star energy day
This is when I feel energized but not vibrant. This is what I’m shooting for now as my target. According to the numbers so far, this has become my new average.
Signs: No Civ, good writing, write in shower
5-star energy day
These days are amazing. I feel on top of the world. I’m tackling all my assignments. I’m coming up with creative ideas. If there is a heaven, we will have 5-star energy days every day. For more on my five star energy days, see this post.
Signs: dancing, singing, tackling work, extraversion, confidence, courage, spontaneous ideas
Soon after I began to track my energy, I realized there were days I could identify in-between these five, high-level categories. I began to add 3.5 days and such, essentially giving myself a 10-level scale. Perhaps as I pay more and more attention to my energy, I will notice even subtler gradations and have to switch to a scoring system that goes to 100.