marsden_online: (write)
People often comment on how I apparently get so much done despite my depression issues (low energy and extended sleeping hours). Despite the clickbait title, this article which came through my feedreader the other day actually describes it pretty well, although I've never really considered it this formally.

How To Stay Amazingly Productive On Low Energy Days
There are two types of days in the life of every ittybiz owner. You have your “good days”, where you stay productive, get a lot of cool shit done and it seems like everything is going great. You can’t be stopped. You’re on fire with how much you’re doing, and how easy it feels.

Then there are your “bad days”, when you just can’t even. Your energy is low, you can’t seem to think straight, and no matter how many items were on your to-do list, they all seem to still be there – undone – when the day is over.
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Your life and your business start to get a lot better when you shift from thinking about “good” and “bad” days and instead see them as two separate parts of a cycle.

There’s the “flow” part of the cycle, when your energy is high, your brain is working at its best, and you can easily do things that require creativity or focus. You could call this a high energy day.

Then there’s the “ebb” part of the cycle, when your energy drops, your brain checks out, and it seems hard to do anything. You could call this a low energy day.

There’s nothing wrong with this cycle. Ebb isn’t “bad”. It’s just ebb. You can’t be high-energy all the time just like you can’t be awake all the time. Ebb times are where your brain and body recharge so that flow can come later.
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You have to start choosing to do flow activities when you’re in a place of flow, and ebb activities when you’re in a place of ebb.

Ebbs only feel like a problem when you’re trying to do things that belong in the flow category.

You can get an amazing amount done in the ebb times, if you simply choose ebb-appropriate activities instead.

(You’ll also get back into your flow state sooner, what without all that energy spent trying to shove a square peg into a round hole.)

But first, you have to know the difference between the two.
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There are some decent tips on how to make the best of the different times at the link.

Many many of the things I do are, for me, ebb or ebbish activities. They don't necessarily take a lot of brainpower or much energy to keep ticking over step-by-step. Which is good given that as we know I am constitutionally unable to remain inactive for any significant period of time outside of unconsciousness.

Actually I deliberately try to break even larger things down to many smaller ebbish steps if possible, because my full on flow periods are few and far between, although this is itself a flowish task and I have to remember to slow myself down and actually do the break-up (and make a list) rather than charging on ahead trying to complete the full task until I hit the crash.

I do have to keep a physical/digital to-do list, actually I have several in various forms, because at ebb times it can be really hard to think or remember what I might be doing next.

One of the signs that I am actually "getting better" is finding myself with flow energy more frequently. However "overdoing it" and relapses for day to weeks on end are still not uncommon.

I am also aware that the amount of energy I have in an ebb period is still more than many people have in a flow period. When people comment on the amount I get done I feel guilty that I have somehow misrepresented my condition as being worse than it is, particularly since I know many people who fare far worse. It would be easy to fall into the trap of feeling that this makes me an impostor with nothing to complain about, rather than accepting that being less-unwell is still, unwell.

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