I’ve finished the Scott Adams book and have in fact moved on to another paean to habits, but things from How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big continue to come to my mind. One of the things in question is the idea that the top metric in our lives should be our personal energy level.
On the one hand, our energy level should give us a good indication of whether we’re taking care of ourselves physically and sticking with activities that are energizing more than those that drain us. On the other, with more energy we are more likely to be productive and to make good decisions.
Either way, it’s a win. And it seems better than going with money, which I think is often the top metric. “It’s how you keep score,” my brother said. He took his own life, though, so I think he is a bad example rather than a good.
But people use money as a metric because it’s measurable. So how can we measure our energy level? I think I have found a way. Every morning, almost without exception, I do 30 minutes of stepping with Wii Fit. I watch The Daily Show or other news or video classes and don’t watch the step counter. At the end of the 30 minutes, I see how many steps I’ve taken. On low energy days it could be as few as 2800. On normal days, it’s right around 3000. On high energy days it’s 3060 or more.
Then I can think back or look at my tracking and see that I had an evening snack or ate sweets or stayed up too late — or had a great work day and a mindful dinner and turned screens off on time. Then I can change my behavior or continue it, as the case might be.
I tend to use happiness as my primary personal metric, but happiness may not be a good KPI. For one thing, it’s not measurable. For another, it tends to remain fairly constant, with slight variations determined by our circumstances. We’re happy if we choose to be and have the genetic predisposition to be.
I tend to be happy, generally speaking, and to treat less-happy days as a problem or at least an irritation. And I associate less-happy days with circumstances or other people’s actions — in other words, things over which I have no control.
So I’m going to give the energy KPI a shot and see what I learn. So far, it seems to be a question of Eat Move Sleep.