I’ve been thinking recently about what states of being are required for optimum health. A few things bring this on: 1) Paul Graham’s writing on how he manages inputs and controls distractions has always penetrated deeply for me, and 2) when I find myself without options for inputs I fiercely enjoy the resulting silence and thought.
To say it plainly, I think I should build silent time, or disconnected time (possibly in isolation) into my day, or perhaps my week. And that’s just one of the types of time I’ve identified. Here they are together:
Silent Time: time to be without inputs, disconnected from the Internet. Alone with unfocused thoughts and perhaps analog writing implements.
Fiction Reading: time to relax mental stress and travel off and have experiences.
Knowledge Reading: time to learn new things and take notes for my concept consumption project.
Programming: spend time implementing ideas through code. Combines the joy of creation with the cognitive exercise of problem solving and expression of concept through language.
Exercise: get at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise every other day (low bar) combined with a set of push-ups and sit-ups (to exhaustion) daily. Add in more serious exercise as supplements to this.
Personal: spend time enjoying friends and my girl. This isn’t about enjoying activities with them, it’s about enjoying them while doing those activities.
So that’s the basic list (to be improved). The silent time is crucial. I find that when I have it I cherish it, but that I never seek it out. Instead I try to cram every moment with some sort of knowledge acquisition or entertainment. This is similar to not sleeping; it’s like not giving the subconscious time to consume and process what we do.
As for the list as a whole, the idea is that if I’m not getting proper dosages of all of these various states then it will cause an elusive but mounting discontent that will resist direct identification. It will essentially be a failure to fully implement some part of myself that is incapable of asking for attention itself.
What are your thoughts on these phases? Do you think they’re all mandatory? Have I missed any?
[ Jan 11, 2012 ]