If you’re going through a big transition or simply feeling drained, it can help to go into “low power mode.” I heard this tip on the podcast “Happier With Gretchen Rubin” while I was on maternity leave, and immediately felt comforted. Low power mode — yes. During this period, you’re able to perform only the most critical functions, while postponing everything else until you’re back on full power. You’re conserving your energy so that you don’t have to shut down completely. (The term refers to the iPhone’s battery-saving mode, for the non-Apple people.)
The battery analogy just makes sense. If you’re on low power mode and lost in a snowstorm, would you read the Wikipedia summary of the season finale of True Detective? Would you take a quiz to find out which Taylor Swift video you are? Would you suddenly remember your printer is out of toner and order some on Amazon with same-day shipping? You would not. You would simply call for help, and try to keep yourself warm. In life — say if you’re getting adjusted to a brand new job — you might go into low power mode at home. You’ll keep up with laundry and dishes, but Kondo-ing your junk drawer will have to wait.
It helps to announce you’re in low power mode to those close to you. On the podcast, Rubin explains that one of her team members told her she’ll be in low power mode in the weeks after having a baby. Rubin understood what that meant — she would be reachable, but on a limited basis. Of course, there are times that you may want to disengage completely, and that’s OK, too. But as Rubin explains, going entirely off the grid can make things more stressful for some people. The low power mode visual can help you remember that reducing your intensity is sometimes necessary, and that the setting is temporary.