The Power of Intermittent Recovery


From the book The Power of Full Engagement:

To be an effective energy manager, you need to spend nearly all of your time fully engaged in the high positive energy quadrant or recovering your energy by spending time doing things in the low positive energy quadrant.

Definition of Terms

The low positive energy quadrant consists of doing activities that leave you relaxed, mellow, peaceful, tranquil and serene. For me, that means reading a good book or watching a good movie or spending time with certain people with whom I’m on the same sympathetic wavelength.

For you, such positive-energy producing activities may include fishing, golf, sitting in your porch swing, listening to music, going for a bike ride or stroll, or any number of things. The important point is this: unless you spend sufficient short periods throughout your day in intermittent recovery, you’ll burn out and experience a host of other unpleasant symptoms.

Is It Really That Important?

Yes, if you spend all day writing furiously on your novel, zipping along in your high energy positive quadrant, you’ll produce an amazing amount of work. That day, anyway. Maybe even two days in a row, but that will be it.

By relentlessly spending mental energy without recovery, you’ll be tired, anxious, irritable—and self-doubt will inevitably set in. In a tired state, our stories stink, our ideas sound hackneyed, and our prose deadly dull. At that point, we end up taking off more time from the writing than we would have if we’d made ourselves take those intermittent breaks throughout the writing day. (Trust me on this. I speak from experience.)

The Pay-Off

What’s the result of taking those short “low positive energy” recovery breaks? You’ll come back to your work more energized, less ache-y in the neck and back, and more emotionally upbeat.

The emotional component is just as important as your physical energy level! Defusing the bombs of self-doubt and anxiety will help your writing as much as feeling re-energized. And in the end, you’ll write more, not less, by taking the short breaks throughout the day. This is one of my 2016 goals.

Now I think I’ll try it myself and step outside into the lovely Texas sunshine.

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