by Asim Jalis
The main ideas of Loehr and Schwartz (The Power of Full
1. To build capacity expend energy vigorously, and then restore
it by resting.
2. To work without expending energy, use daily routines.
3. Use rituals to signal to your internal systems to ramp up and
ramp down energy expenditure.
If we reflect on these insights they can be further reduced to a
single concept: energy. Some activities renew energy and others
The goal of personal management, according to L&S, is not to
manage time, but rather to manage energy.
If a person alternates between energy expenditure and energy
renewal throughout the day then his energy level will remain
constant and his output will be high. If he spends his whole day
expending energy he will eventually become exhausted and will
then waste most of his time. He will waste his time because he
didn't manage his energy.
If a person does not expend energy, and only accumulates it, by
resting or sleeping all day, then over time he reduces his
The ideas really work if applied to physical training, and to
setting up a daily exercise routine. I have not had much success
in applying them to mental work.
Currently I am playing with their concept of energy. I am trying
to apply to different areas, and to see if this yields some
My current thought is that in mental work, rest is not the best
way to renew energy. The way to renew energy is to do some kind
of complementary mental work.
I was recently looking at my transcript and I noticed that
whenever I took mathematics and programming classes together I
enjoyed both of them much more (and did much better at both) than
when I focused on one or the other.
Whenever I program I begin to crave: (a) mathematics, (b)
narratives, stories, fiction. This suggests that the way to
achieve renewal after programming is by reading mathematics and
Another parameter I am exploring is the rhythm of work and rest
(or alternation). How long and how short can the rhythm be. For
example, would it make sense to switch back and forth every hour,
every 5 minutes? Every minute? Where does it become absurd? Or
does it make more sense to switch every few days, or months, or
years, or decades?