First Published: October 10, 2021 | Last Updated: October 10, 2021

The gist: In this post, we’ll walk through my new “Energy Menu” and talk about how to create your own!

If there are two things Work Brighter does well, it’s Notion and energy management. And I might have found my favorite way to combine the two.

In this post, we’ll walk through my new “Energy Menu” and talk about how to create your own!

The Backstory

Ever since seeing Jessica McCabe’s How to ADHD video on creating a dopamenu, I’ve wanted to create my own dopamenu, or at least my version of one.

Since I have a slew of other “brain things” going on in addition to ADHD, I wanted to expand it from just a menu for my dopamine to a menu for everything that impacts my energy and mood!

But because those decisions, things like “do admin when you have productive energy but not enough for deep work,” were things that I already knew, I took my sweet time actually making the menu.

Cut to last week, when I was going through a course I’m taking, Linking Your Thinking. It’s basically showing me how to structure my digital workspace to think better and more clearly.

And one of the exercises was to create an “I want to…” note.

The course explains it as a note in your knowledge management system (like Notion) that helps you quickly navigate to areas of thinking you want to encourage yourself to think about.

This felt like a dopamenu or energy menu, so I used the time I set aside to do course homework for building it out.

It only took about 5 minutes, but I was excited enough about the new addition that I tweeted out a quick screenshot and description.

Then I went back to work, got tired, went to bed…generally went about my business.

When I finally checked Twitter again (I needed time away from Bad Art Friend discourse lol), it had over 200 likes and a dozen replies and quote tweets LOVING the idea.

Clearly, the idea is a needed one, so I figured I’d share a more permanent walkthrough of it here. 😀

What is an Energy Menu?

An Energy Menu is a list that helps you spend your time and energy as intentionally and mindfully as possible.

Because even if you know that energy management is more important than time management, it is more difficult to practice.

To help you use what you know about your own energy levels and patterns (for example, what you learned about yourself in The Energy Effect), an energy menu lists out:

  • The different feelings, moods, and energy levels you frequently experience (for example, creative, overwhelmed, fatigued, etc.)
  • Optional: other kinds of situations like “when you have 10 minutes to kill before a meeting starts”
  • The “best” ways for you to spend your time in those different situations (best is subjective and personal, of course)

Then you “match” the different situations to the ideal activities for them.

Here’s what mine looks like:

notion energy menu

How to Make an Energy Menu in Notion

You can make your energy menu with any tool. I always say the best productivity tool is the one you’ll actually use.

HOWEVER…

The awesome thing about putting your Energy Menu in Notion or another PKM system is that you can link to the pages in your workspace that go with each activity.

For example, the menu doesn’t just tell me to work on my content calendar when I’m feeling creative. It links to a specific view in my content calendar dashboard.

Every item on the energy menu doesn’t just tell me how to spend my time, it also gently guides me there like a nice friend. 🙂

Banish energy hangovers with energy management

Tracking and managing your energy can straight-up change your life, without having to change much at all (no ridiculous productivity hacks needed!)

By better understanding your natural energy, peak hours, and existing habits, you can take advantage of it all to unlock new levels of productivity. 

Get started today with my free energy management tracker! 

How You Can Use Your Energy Menu

So, how and when can you actually use an energy menu once you create it? I know it can be hard to see the practical applications of personal energy management, so here are a few examples:

  • Instead of getting lost in a time black hole where you just sit and wonder what to do for so long that you end up doing nothing...you can check the "low energy" menu section.
  • Instead of letting yourself scroll infinity pool apps like social media and email more than you want to, you can scroll curated content or your past notes.
  • Instead of constantly getting energy and productivity hangovers from overexerting yourself with work, you can make sure your day pulls from a variety of energy menu sections.
  • Instead of killing the 10 minutes before a Zoom meeting starts reading news that enrages you, you can check the "time confetti" area of the energy menu.

Cool, right?

Build Your Own Energy Menu

If you're ready to set up your own, the Work Brighter with Notion Toolkit can help you build out different areas of your workspace so you have stuff to link to.

Of course, you can also keep in simple and use whatever productivity tool you're using!

If you decide to build one, share it with us by tagging us at @workbrighterco on Twitter or @workbrighter on Instagram.