I recently read the book Crazy Busy by Dr. Hallowell. It’s a book that focuses primarily on disconnecting from technology to spend more time with yourself and those around you. It raised some very valid points about taking time back for yourself. Taking time to think. Taking time to be creating. Taking time to play.

The main thing that I took away from it, however, was a system for whether you should bother doing something or not. I have been using this system for the last few months since reading the book, and it works.

Think of the activity you need/want/should do. Not a “pay your bills” activity. Something like “go visit a relative”. First of all, assign a value from 1 to 5 for the amount of effort it will take, where the least amount of effort is a 5 and the most amount of effort is a 1. Then assign a value from 1 to 5 for how good it will make you feel. Either while you’re doing it, or aftwards having done it. 1 is that you’ll feel bad, and 5 is that you’ll feel great. Many warm and fuzzy moments. Then assign a value between 1 and 5 for the impact it will have on things other than you. Will it make your relative very happy if you go? Will it save a bag of kittens from inevitable doom? 1 is that it won’t make a difference to anyone or anything, and 5 that it’ll make a huge difference to someone.

Multiply these numbers together, and you’ll end up with a number between 1 and 125, and here’s the trick. You now need to set yourself a threshold for doing things. My threshold is quite low, I think, only needing a to be over 15 for me to think I should do it. And I should definitely do it if it scores higher than 25. Obviously these aren’t hard and fast rules, so keep it loose and go with the flow.

If something is moderately hard work, like a 2 on that inverted scale, and I’ll probably feel pretty good afterwards, so a 2 for that too, but the impact for those around me (say the person I visit) is really great, and scores a 5, then I should probably do that activity because it scores a 20. If it was easier to do, and scored a 3 for effort, then it’s suddenly a 30 and I should definitely do it.

Was writing this post difficult? No – 5 out of 5. Do I feel good now that I”m finished because I’ve done something creative? Definitely – 3. Will it help someone? Maybe – 2. It scores 30/125.