Fragments from imaginary dialogues
“What is the optimal oscillation pattern for maintaining peak energy throughout the day?”
“I’ve been experimenting a lot with it.
I metaphorically (and aesthetically) view it as a nested oscillation: oscillation within oscillation within oscillation.
The big oscillation is the circadian rhythm pattern, our natural 24-hour sleep-wake cycle. Sleep is by far the most important variable for managing energy and it’s worth optimizing to perfection.
The medium oscillation is the ultradian rhythm pattern. Our capacity to engage in deep work depends on our capacity to concentrate – to maintain focused attention. This is energy-intensive, and cannot be maintained for longer than 90-120 minutes. This is the optimal duration of a work-block. After every work-block, I take a medium or big break. It is during these breaks when I go for my Parkour walk [<link; medium read].
The small oscillation is the pomodoro pattern, which for me is a 30 minute cycle followed by a 10-minute break. During the break, I reflect on the previous time-block and have a consistent movement snack [<link; medium read].
I take my small breaks religiously. They provide feedback. Whenever I miss a break is a sign that I need more rest.”
“When you’re doing creative work, does it not take you out of Flow to take a break every 30 minutes?”
“Creativity is itself an oscillation. Creative insights usually happen during the off-time.
The skill you’re practicing is getting into Flow as fast as possible.”