Seven modes

Recovery Mode. This is the mode where we are burned out, tired, over-stimulated, under-nourished, and basically useless. This Chaos Monkey has hit us and we are down. The goal of this mode is to get out of it. The way to get out of it is to focus on the basics: sleep, water, sunshine, vegetables, exercise, stretching, meditation, nature, comfort of friends, walks, and good books and other entertainment. Trying to be productive is pointless. Productivity happens in other modes… so work on moving out of this mode, slowly, patiently, without beating yourself up.

Novelty Mode. This mode has a slightly higher energy level than Recovery Mode but not quite enough energy to focus on a specific thing. The key here is to channel the desire for distraction into seeking novelty. Meeting new people, trying new restaurants, going new places, learning about something new. It’s also a great place to think about the people that are important to you, reaching out to important people that you haven’t connected with in a while, restarting hobbies that have fallen by the wayside, and revisiting things that you don’t like to see if maybe there’s something new there that changes things.

Work Mode. This mode is about the same energy level as Novelty Mode but is handy when there’s a big backlog of things that need to get done that have been weighing on you. Things that don’t require much creativity or thought to do, but which just need to be banged out. Fixing things, cleaning things, maintaining things, organizing things, etc. When done in the right mode, this kind of slogging work can actually be very satisfying.

Self Mode. This mode is all about reconnecting with yourself. Making sure that you know what your needs are, and are able to take the steps to make sure that they’re met. This mode benefits from the progress of having your basics covered (sleep, nutrition, exercise) as well as having some outlet for the crazy energy that can only be taken care of by exploration and grunt work. Once in this mode, you’re ready to calm down, think about your values and beliefs, think about your interests and important people, and make decisions that are in your best long-term interest even if they’re difficult in the short term. Get your own head screwed on right.

Flow Mode. This is a higher energy mode than Novelty, Work, and Self Mode, and requires that you’ve got at least one known interest that you’re ready to pour your soul into. A life project. It takes a lot of energy and time to get into the flow and have quality time with a deep interest, but once there it is one of the most fulfilling modes to be in. Put in quality time towards something bigger than you, something you love.

People Mode. Quality time with people you love is probably the most rewarding experience we can have on this planet. The list is short of people that fit this category, and these are the people that are most easy to take for granted. Also, some relationships might need repair or re-connection before quality time is possible. Being in this mode is all about doing the work that sets you up for quality time, and making sure you have a chance to connect in a real way with the people that mean the most to you, as often as possible, while we can. Life is long, but not forever long.

Gold Mode. This mode is much like Recovery Mode, except where your beliefs, relationships, interests, work, and sense of self are all lined up and working together. Where the first six modes require energy, this mythical seventh mode floats above them all. Honestly, I don’t know much about this mode, and have only experienced it in short bursts of tranquility, but I keep it here as a landmark for a way of living that is proactive, whole-hearted, and utterly unconflicted for sustained periods of time.

Buster Benson, Live like a hydra