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Alex Mathers

Alex Mathers

1 year ago

8 guidelines to help you achieve your objectives 5x fast

More on Productivity

Jano le Roux

Jano le Roux

1 year ago

Never Heard Of: The Apple Of Email Marketing Tools

Unlimited everything for $19 monthly!?

Flodesk

Even with pretty words, no one wants to read an ugly email.

  • Not Gen Z

  • Not Millennials

  • Not Gen X

  • Not Boomers

I am a minimalist.

I like Mozart. I like avos. I love Apple.

When I hear seamlessly, effortlessly, or Apple's new adverb fluidly, my toes curl.

No email marketing tool gave me that feeling.

As a marketing consultant helping high-growth brands create marketing that doesn't feel like marketing, I've worked with every email marketing platform imaginable, including that naughty monkey and the expensive platform whose sales teams don't stop calling.

Most email marketing platforms are flawed.

  1. They are overpriced.

  2. They use dreadful templates.

  3. They employ a poor visual designer.

  4. The user experience there is awful.

  5. Too many useless buttons are present. (Similar to the TV remote!)

I may have finally found the perfect email marketing tool. It creates strong flows. It helps me focus on storytelling.

It’s called Flodesk.

It’s effortless. It’s seamless. It’s fluid.

Here’s why it excites me.

Unlimited everything for $19 per month

Sends unlimited. Emails unlimited. Signups unlimited.

Most email platforms penalize success.

Pay for performance?

  • $87 for 10k contacts

  • $605 for 100K contacts

  • $1,300+ for 200K contacts

In the 1990s, this made sense, but not now. It reminds me of when ISPs capped internet usage at 5 GB per month.

Flodesk made unlimited email for a low price a reality. Affordable, attractive email marketing isn't just for big companies.

Flodesk doesn't penalize you for growing your list. Price stays the same as lists grow.

Flodesk plans cost $38 per month, but I'll give you a 30-day trial for $19.

Amazingly strong flows

Foster different people's flows.

Email marketing isn't one-size-fits-all.

Different times require different emails.

People don't open emails because they're irrelevant, in my experience. A colder audience needs a nurturing sequence.

Flodesk automates your email funnels so top-funnel prospects fall in love with your brand and values before mid- and bottom-funnel email flows nudge them to take action.

I wish I could save more custom audience fields to further customize the experience.

Dynamic editor

Easy. Effortless.

Flodesk's editor is Apple-like.

You understand how it works almost instantly.

Like many Apple products, it's intentionally limited. No distractions. You can focus on emotional email writing.

Flodesk

Flodesk's inability to add inline HTML to emails is my biggest issue with larger projects. I wish I could upload HTML emails.

Simple sign-up procedures

Dream up joining.

I like how easy it is to create conversion-focused landing pages. Linkly lets you easily create 5 landing pages and A/B test messaging.

Flodesk

I like that you can use signup forms to ask people what they're interested in so they get relevant emails instead of mindless mass emails nobody opens.

Flodesk

I love how easy it is to embed in-line on a website.

Wonderful designer templates

Beautiful, connecting emails.

Flodesk has calm email templates. My designer's eye felt at rest when I received plain text emails with big impacts.

Flodesk

As a typography nerd, I love Flodesk's handpicked designer fonts. It gives emails a designer feel that is hard to replicate on other platforms without coding and custom font licenses.

Small adjustments can have a big impact

Details matter.

Flodesk remembers your brand colors. Flodesk automatically adds your logo and social handles to emails after signup.

Flodesk uses Zapier. This lets you send emails based on a user's action.

A bad live chat can trigger a series of emails to win back a customer.

Flodesk isn't for everyone.

Flodesk is great for Apple users like me.

wordsmithwriter

wordsmithwriter

1 year ago

2023 Will Be the Year of Evernote and Craft Notetaking Apps.

Note-taking is a vital skill. But it's mostly learned.

Photo by PNW Production: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-wooden-pencil-beside-a-mechanical-pencil-8250935/

Recently, innovative note-taking apps have flooded the market.

In the next few years, Evernote and Craft will be important digital note-taking companies.

Evernote is a 2008 note-taking program. It can capture ideas, track tasks, and organize information on numerous platforms.

It's one of the only note-taking app that lets users input text, audio, photos, and videos. It's great for collecting research notes, brainstorming, and remaining organized.

Craft is a popular note-taking app.

Craft is a more concentrated note-taking application than Evernote. It organizes notes into subjects, tags, and relationships, making it ideal for technical or research notes.

Craft's search engine makes it easy to find what you need.

Both Evernote and Craft are likely to be the major players in digital note-taking in the years to come.

Their concentration on gathering and organizing information lets users generate notes quickly and simply. Multimedia elements and a strong search engine make them the note-taking apps of the future.

Evernote and Craft are great note-taking tools for staying organized and tracking ideas and projects.

With their focus on acquiring and organizing information, they'll dominate digital note-taking in 2023.

Pros

  • Concentrate on gathering and compiling information

  • special features including a strong search engine and multimedia components

  • Possibility of subject, tag, and relationship structuring

  • enables users to incorporate multimedia elements

  • Excellent tool for maintaining organization, arranging research notes, and brainstorming

Cons

  • Software may be difficult for folks who are not tech-savvy to utilize.

  • Limited assistance for hardware running an outdated operating system

  • Subscriptions could be pricey.

  • Data loss risk because of security issues

Evernote and Craft both have downsides.

  1. The risk of data loss as a result of security flaws and software defects comes first.

  2. Additionally, their subscription fees could be high, and they might restrict support for hardware that isn't running the newest operating systems.

  3. Finally, folks who need to be tech-savvy may find the software difficult.

Evernote versus. Productivity Titans Evernote will make Notion more useful. medium.com

David G Chen

David G Chen

1 year ago

If you want to earn money, stop writing for entertainment.

When you stop blogging for a few weeks, your views and profits plummet.

Because you're writing fascinating posts for others. Everyone's done ithat…

My medium stats for May-June

If I keep writing, the graph should maintain velocity, you could say. If I wrote more, it could rise.

However, entertaining pieces still tend to roller coaster and jump.

this type of writing is like a candle. They burn out and must be replaced. You must continuously light new ones to maintain the illumination.

When you quit writing, your income stops.

A substitute

Instead of producing amusing articles, try solving people's issues. You should answer their search questions.

Here's what happens when you answer their searches.

Website stats by pageviews per day

My website's Google analytics. As a dentist, I answer oral health questions.

This chart vs. Medium is pretty glaring, right?

As of yesterday, it was averaging 15k page views each day.

How much would you make on Medium with 15k daily views?

Evergreen materials

In SEO, this is called evergreen content.

Your content is like a lush, evergreen forest, and by green I mean Benjamins.

Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash

Do you have knowledge that you can leverage? Why not help your neighbors and the world?

Answer search inquiries and help others. You'll be well rewarded.

This is better than crafting candle-like content that fizzles out quickly.

Is beauty really ephemeral like how flowers bloom? Nah, I prefer watching forests grow instead (:

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Farhan Ali Khan

Farhan Ali Khan

1 year ago

Introduction to Zero-Knowledge Proofs: The Art of Proving Without Revealing

Zero-Knowledge Proofs for Beginners

Published here originally.

Introduction

I Spy—did you play as a kid? One person chose a room object, and the other had to guess it by answering yes or no questions. I Spy was entertaining, but did you know it could teach you cryptography?

Zero Knowledge Proofs let you show your pal you know what they picked without exposing how. Math replaces electronics in this secret spy mission. Zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs) are sophisticated cryptographic tools that allow one party to prove they have particular knowledge without revealing it. This proves identification and ownership, secures financial transactions, and more. This article explains zero-knowledge proofs and provides examples to help you comprehend this powerful technology.

What is a Proof of Zero Knowledge?

Zero-knowledge proofs prove a proposition is true without revealing any other information. This lets the prover show the verifier that they know a fact without revealing it. So, a zero-knowledge proof is like a magician's trick: the prover proves they know something without revealing how or what. Complex mathematical procedures create a proof the verifier can verify.

Want to find an easy way to test it out? Try out with tis awesome example! ZK Crush

Describe it as if I'm 5

Alex and Jack found a cave with a center entrance that only opens when someone knows the secret. Alex knows how to open the cave door and wants to show Jack without telling him.

Alex and Jack name both pathways (let’s call them paths A and B).

  1. In the first phase, Alex is already inside the cave and is free to select either path, in this case A or B.

  2. As Alex made his decision, Jack entered the cave and asked him to exit from the B path.

  3. Jack can confirm that Alex really does know the key to open the door because he came out for the B path and used it.

To conclude, Alex and Jack repeat:

  1. Alex walks into the cave.

  2. Alex follows a random route.

  3. Jack walks into the cave.

  4. Alex is asked to follow a random route by Jack.

  5. Alex follows Jack's advice and heads back that way.

What is a Zero Knowledge Proof?

At a high level, the aim is to construct a secure and confidential conversation between the prover and the verifier, where the prover convinces the verifier that they have the requisite information without disclosing it. The prover and verifier exchange messages and calculate in each round of the dialogue.

The prover uses their knowledge to prove they have the information the verifier wants during these rounds. The verifier can verify the prover's truthfulness without learning more by checking the proof's mathematical statement or computation.

Zero knowledge proofs use advanced mathematical procedures and cryptography methods to secure communication. These methods ensure the evidence is authentic while preventing the prover from creating a phony proof or the verifier from extracting unnecessary information.

ZK proofs require examples to grasp. Before the examples, there are some preconditions.

Criteria for Proofs of Zero Knowledge

  1. Completeness: If the proposition being proved is true, then an honest prover will persuade an honest verifier that it is true.

  2. Soundness: If the proposition being proved is untrue, no dishonest prover can persuade a sincere verifier that it is true.

  3. Zero-knowledge: The verifier only realizes that the proposition being proved is true. In other words, the proof only establishes the veracity of the proposition being supported and nothing more.

The zero-knowledge condition is crucial. Zero-knowledge proofs show only the secret's veracity. The verifier shouldn't know the secret's value or other details.

Example after example after example

To illustrate, take a zero-knowledge proof with several examples:

Initial Password Verification Example

You want to confirm you know a password or secret phrase without revealing it.

Use a zero-knowledge proof:

  1. You and the verifier settle on a mathematical conundrum or issue, such as figuring out a big number's components.

  2. The puzzle or problem is then solved using the hidden knowledge that you have learned. You may, for instance, utilize your understanding of the password to determine the components of a particular number.

  3. You provide your answer to the verifier, who can assess its accuracy without knowing anything about your private data.

  4. You go through this process several times with various riddles or issues to persuade the verifier that you actually are aware of the secret knowledge.

You solved the mathematical puzzles or problems, proving to the verifier that you know the hidden information. The proof is zero-knowledge since the verifier only sees puzzle solutions, not the secret information.

In this scenario, the mathematical challenge or problem represents the secret, and solving it proves you know it. The evidence does not expose the secret, and the verifier just learns that you know it.

My simple example meets the zero-knowledge proof conditions:

  1. Completeness: If you actually know the hidden information, you will be able to solve the mathematical puzzles or problems, hence the proof is conclusive.

  2. Soundness: The proof is sound because the verifier can use a publicly known algorithm to confirm that your answer to the mathematical conundrum or difficulty is accurate.

  3. Zero-knowledge: The proof is zero-knowledge because all the verifier learns is that you are aware of the confidential information. Beyond the fact that you are aware of it, the verifier does not learn anything about the secret information itself, such as the password or the factors of the number. As a result, the proof does not provide any new insights into the secret.

Explanation #2: Toss a coin.

One coin is biased to come up heads more often than tails, while the other is fair (i.e., comes up heads and tails with equal probability). You know which coin is which, but you want to show a friend you can tell them apart without telling them.

Use a zero-knowledge proof:

  1. One of the two coins is chosen at random, and you secretly flip it more than once.

  2. You show your pal the following series of coin flips without revealing which coin you actually flipped.

  3. Next, as one of the two coins is flipped in front of you, your friend asks you to tell which one it is.

  4. Then, without revealing which coin is which, you can use your understanding of the secret order of coin flips to determine which coin your friend flipped.

  5. To persuade your friend that you can actually differentiate between the coins, you repeat this process multiple times using various secret coin-flipping sequences.

In this example, the series of coin flips represents the knowledge of biased and fair coins. You can prove you know which coin is which without revealing which is biased or fair by employing a different secret sequence of coin flips for each round.

The evidence is zero-knowledge since your friend does not learn anything about which coin is biased and which is fair other than that you can tell them differently. The proof does not indicate which coin you flipped or how many times you flipped it.

The coin-flipping example meets zero-knowledge proof requirements:

  1. Completeness: If you actually know which coin is biased and which is fair, you should be able to distinguish between them based on the order of coin flips, and your friend should be persuaded that you can.

  2. Soundness: Your friend may confirm that you are correctly recognizing the coins by flipping one of them in front of you and validating your answer, thus the proof is sound in that regard. Because of this, your acquaintance can be sure that you are not just speculating or picking a coin at random.

  3. Zero-knowledge: The argument is that your friend has no idea which coin is biased and which is fair beyond your ability to distinguish between them. Your friend is not made aware of the coin you used to make your decision or the order in which you flipped the coins. Consequently, except from letting you know which coin is biased and which is fair, the proof does not give any additional information about the coins themselves.

Figure out the prime number in Example #3.

You want to prove to a friend that you know their product n=pq without revealing p and q. Zero-knowledge proof?

Use a variant of the RSA algorithm. Method:

  1. You determine a new number s = r2 mod n by computing a random number r.

  2. You email your friend s and a declaration that you are aware of the values of p and q necessary for n to equal pq.

  3. A random number (either 0 or 1) is selected by your friend and sent to you.

  4. You send your friend r as evidence that you are aware of the values of p and q if e=0. You calculate and communicate your friend's s/r if e=1.

  5. Without knowing the values of p and q, your friend can confirm that you know p and q (in the case where e=0) or that s/r is a legitimate square root of s mod n (in the situation where e=1).

This is a zero-knowledge proof since your friend learns nothing about p and q other than their product is n and your ability to verify it without exposing any other information. You can prove that you know p and q by sending r or by computing s/r and sending that instead (if e=1), and your friend can verify that you know p and q or that s/r is a valid square root of s mod n without learning anything else about their values. This meets the conditions of completeness, soundness, and zero-knowledge.

Zero-knowledge proofs satisfy the following:

  1. Completeness: The prover can demonstrate this to the verifier by computing q = n/p and sending both p and q to the verifier. The prover also knows a prime number p and a factorization of n as p*q.

  2. Soundness: Since it is impossible to identify any pair of numbers that correctly factorize n without being aware of its prime factors, the prover is unable to demonstrate knowledge of any p and q that do not do so.

  3. Zero knowledge: The prover only admits that they are aware of a prime number p and its associated factor q, which is already known to the verifier. This is the extent of their knowledge of the prime factors of n. As a result, the prover does not provide any new details regarding n's prime factors.

Types of Proofs of Zero Knowledge

Each zero-knowledge proof has pros and cons. Most zero-knowledge proofs are:

  1. Interactive Zero Knowledge Proofs: The prover and the verifier work together to establish the proof in this sort of zero-knowledge proof. The verifier disputes the prover's assertions after receiving a sequence of messages from the prover. When the evidence has been established, the prover will employ these new problems to generate additional responses.

  2. Non-Interactive Zero Knowledge Proofs: For this kind of zero-knowledge proof, the prover and verifier just need to exchange a single message. Without further interaction between the two parties, the proof is established.

  3. A statistical zero-knowledge proof is one in which the conclusion is reached with a high degree of probability but not with certainty. This indicates that there is a remote possibility that the proof is false, but that this possibility is so remote as to be unimportant.

  4. Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge (SNARKs): SNARKs are an extremely effective and scalable form of zero-knowledge proof. They are utilized in many different applications, such as machine learning, blockchain technology, and more. Similar to other zero-knowledge proof techniques, SNARKs enable one party—the prover—to demonstrate to another—the verifier—that they are aware of a specific piece of information without disclosing any more information about that information.

  5. The main characteristic of SNARKs is their succinctness, which refers to the fact that the size of the proof is substantially smaller than the amount of the original data being proved. Because to its high efficiency and scalability, SNARKs can be used in a wide range of applications, such as machine learning, blockchain technology, and more.

Uses for Zero Knowledge Proofs

ZKP applications include:

  1. Verifying Identity ZKPs can be used to verify your identity without disclosing any personal information. This has uses in access control, digital signatures, and online authentication.

  2. Proof of Ownership ZKPs can be used to demonstrate ownership of a certain asset without divulging any details about the asset itself. This has uses for protecting intellectual property, managing supply chains, and owning digital assets.

  3. Financial Exchanges Without disclosing any details about the transaction itself, ZKPs can be used to validate financial transactions. Cryptocurrency, internet payments, and other digital financial transactions can all use this.

  4. By enabling parties to make calculations on the data without disclosing the data itself, Data Privacy ZKPs can be used to preserve the privacy of sensitive data. Applications for this can be found in the financial, healthcare, and other sectors that handle sensitive data.

  5. By enabling voters to confirm that their vote was counted without disclosing how they voted, elections ZKPs can be used to ensure the integrity of elections. This is applicable to electronic voting, including internet voting.

  6. Cryptography Modern cryptography's ZKPs are a potent instrument that enable secure communication and authentication. This can be used for encrypted messaging and other purposes in the business sector as well as for military and intelligence operations.

Proofs of Zero Knowledge and Compliance

Kubernetes and regulatory compliance use ZKPs in many ways. Examples:

  1. Security for Kubernetes ZKPs offer a mechanism to authenticate nodes without disclosing any sensitive information, enhancing the security of Kubernetes clusters. ZKPs, for instance, can be used to verify, without disclosing the specifics of the program, that the nodes in a Kubernetes cluster are running permitted software.

  2. Compliance Inspection Without disclosing any sensitive information, ZKPs can be used to demonstrate compliance with rules like the GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS. ZKPs, for instance, can be used to demonstrate that data has been encrypted and stored securely without divulging the specifics of the mechanism employed for either encryption or storage.

  3. Access Management Without disclosing any private data, ZKPs can be used to offer safe access control to Kubernetes resources. ZKPs can be used, for instance, to demonstrate that a user has the necessary permissions to access a particular Kubernetes resource without disclosing the details of those permissions.

  4. Safe Data Exchange Without disclosing any sensitive information, ZKPs can be used to securely transmit data between Kubernetes clusters or between several businesses. ZKPs, for instance, can be used to demonstrate the sharing of a specific piece of data between two parties without disclosing the details of the data itself.

  5. Kubernetes deployments audited Without disclosing the specifics of the deployment or the data being processed, ZKPs can be used to demonstrate that Kubernetes deployments are working as planned. This can be helpful for auditing purposes and for ensuring that Kubernetes deployments are operating as planned.

ZKPs preserve data and maintain regulatory compliance by letting parties prove things without revealing sensitive information. ZKPs will be used more in Kubernetes as it grows.

Matthew Royse

Matthew Royse

1 year ago

5 Tips for Concise Writing

Here's how to be clear.

I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” — French mathematician, physicist, inventor, philosopher, and writer Blaise Pascal

Concise.

People want this. We tend to repeat ourselves and use unnecessary words.

Being vague frustrates readers. It focuses their limited attention span on figuring out what you're saying rather than your message.

Edit carefully.

Examine every word you put on paper. You’ll find a surprising number that don’t serve any purpose.” — American writer, editor, literary critic, and teacher William Zinsser

How do you write succinctly?

Here are three ways to polish your writing.

1. Delete

Your readers will appreciate it if you delete unnecessary words. If a word or phrase is essential, keep it. Don't force it.

Many readers dislike bloated sentences. Ask yourself if cutting a word or phrase will change the meaning or dilute your message.

For example, you could say, “It’s absolutely essential that I attend this meeting today, so I know the final outcome.” It’s better to say, “It’s critical I attend the meeting today, so I know the results.”

Key takeaway

Delete actually, completely, just, full, kind of, really, and totally. Keep the necessary words, cut the rest.

2. Just Do It

Don't tell readers your plans. Your readers don't need to know your plans. Who are you?

Don't say, "I want to highlight our marketing's problems." Our marketing issues are A, B, and C. This cuts 5–7 words per sentence.

Keep your reader's attention on the essentials, not the fluff. What are you doing? You won't lose readers because you get to the point quickly and don't build up.

Key takeaway

Delete words that don't add to your message. Do something, don't tell readers you will.

3. Cut Overlap

You probably repeat yourself unintentionally. You may add redundant sentences when brainstorming. Read aloud to detect overlap.

Remove repetition from your writing. It's important to edit our writing and thinking to avoid repetition.

Key Takeaway

If you're repeating yourself, combine sentences to avoid overlap.

4. Simplify

Write as you would to family or friends. Communicate clearly. Don't use jargon. These words confuse readers.

Readers want specifics, not jargon. Write simply. Done.

Most adults read at 8th-grade level. Jargon and buzzwords make speech fluffy. This confuses readers who want simple language.

Key takeaway

Ensure all audiences can understand you. USA Today's 5th-grade reading level is intentional. They want everyone to understand.

5. Active voice

Subjects perform actions in active voice. When you write in passive voice, the subject receives the action.

For example, “the board of directors decided to vote on the topic” is an active voice, while “a decision to vote on the topic was made by the board of directors” is a passive voice.

Key takeaway

Active voice clarifies sentences. Active voice is simple and concise.

Bringing It All Together

Five tips help you write clearly. Delete, just do it, cut overlap, use simple language, and write in an active voice.

Clear writing is effective. It's okay to occasionally use unnecessary words or phrases. Realizing it is key. Check your writing.

Adding words costs.

Write more concisely. People will appreciate it and read your future articles, emails, and messages. Spending extra time will increase trust and influence.

Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.” — Naturalist, essayist, poet, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau

Sara_Mednick

Sara_Mednick

1 year ago

Since I'm a scientist, I oppose biohacking

Understanding your own energy depletion and restoration is how to truly optimize

Photo: Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash

Hack has meant many bad things for centuries. In the 1800s, a hack was a meager horse used to transport goods.

Modern usage describes a butcher or ax murderer's cleaver chop. The 1980s programming boom distinguished elegant code from "hacks". Both got you to your goal, but the latter made any programmer cringe and mutter about changing the code. From this emerged the hacker trope, the friendless anti-villain living in a murky hovel lit by the computer monitor, eating junk food and breaking into databases to highlight security system failures or steal hotdog money.

Remember the 1995 movie, Hackers, in which a bunch of super cool programmers (said no one ever) get caught up in a plot to destroy the world and only teenybopper Angelina Jolie and her punk rock gang of nerd-bots can use their lightening quick typing skills to save the world? Remember public phones?

Now, start-a-billion-dollar-business-from-your-garage types have shifted their sights from app development to DIY biology, coining the term "bio-hack". This is a required keyword and meta tag for every fitness-related podcast, book, conference, app, or device.

Bio-hacking involves bypassing your body and mind's security systems to achieve a goal. Many biohackers' initial goals were reasonable, like lowering blood pressure and weight. Encouraged by their own progress, self-determination, and seemingly exquisite control of their biology, they aimed to outsmart aging and death to live 180 to 1000 years (summarized well in this vox.com article).

With this grandiose north star, the hunt for novel supplements and genetic engineering began.

Companies selling do-it-yourself biological manipulations cite lab studies in mice as proof of their safety and success in reversing age-related diseases or promoting longevity in humans (the goal changes depending on whether a company is talking to the federal government or private donors).

The FDA is slower than science, they say. Why not alter your biochemistry by buying pills online, editing your DNA with a CRISPR kit, or using a sauna delivered to your home? How about a microchip or electrical stimulator?

What could go wrong?


I'm not the neo-police, making citizen's arrests every time someone introduces a new plumbing gadget or extrapolates from animal research on resveratrol or catechins that we should drink more red wine or eat more chocolate. As a scientist who's spent her career asking, "Can we get better?" I've come to view bio-hacking as misguided, profit-driven, and counterproductive to its followers' goals.

We're creatures of nature. Despite all the new gadgets and bio-hacks, we still use Roman plumbing technology, and the best way to stay fit, sharp, and happy is to follow a recipe passed down since the beginning of time. Bacteria, plants, and all natural beings are rhythmic, with alternating periods of high activity and dormancy, whether measured in seconds, hours, days, or seasons. Nature repeats successful patterns.

During the Upstate, every cell in your body is naturally primed and pumped full of glycogen and ATP (your cells' energy currencies), as well as cortisol, which supports your muscles, heart, metabolism, cognitive prowess, emotional regulation, and general "get 'er done" attitude. This big energy release depletes your batteries and requires the Downstate, when your subsystems recharge at the cellular level.

Downstates are when you give your heart a break from pumping nutrient-rich blood through your body; when you give your metabolism a break from inflammation, oxidative stress, and sympathetic arousal caused by eating fast food — or just eating too fast; or when you give your mind a chance to wander, think bigger thoughts, and come up with new creative solutions. When you're responding to notifications, emails, and fires, you can't relax.

Every biological plant and animal is regulated by rhythms of energy-depleting Upstate and energy-restoring Downstates.

Downstates aren't just for consistently recharging your battery. By spending time in the Downstate, your body and brain get extra energy and nutrients, allowing you to grow smarter, faster, stronger, and more self-regulated. This state supports half-marathon training, exam prep, and mediation. As we age, spending more time in the Downstate is key to mental and physical health, well-being, and longevity.

When you prioritize energy-demanding activities during Upstate periods and energy-replenishing activities during Downstate periods, all your subsystems, including cardiovascular, metabolic, muscular, cognitive, and emotional, hum along at their optimal settings. When you synchronize the Upstates and Downstates of these individual rhythms, their functioning improves. A hard workout causes autonomic stress, which triggers Downstate recovery.

This zig-zag trajectory of performance improvement illustrates that getting better at anything in life isn’t a straight shot. The close-up box shows how prioritizing Downstate recovery after an Upstate exertion (e.g., hard workout) leads to RECOVERYPLUS. Image from The Power of the Downstate by Sara C. Mednick PhD.

By choosing the right timing and type of exercise during the day, you can ensure a deeper recovery and greater readiness for the next workout by working with your natural rhythms and strengthening your autonomic and sleep Downstates.

Morning cardio workouts increase deep sleep compared to afternoon workouts. Timing and type of meals determine when your sleep hormone melatonin is released, ushering in sleep.

Rhythm isn't a hack. It's not a way to cheat the system or the boss. Nature has honed its optimization wisdom over trillions of days and nights. Stop looking for quick fixes. You're a whole system made of smaller subsystems that must work together to function well. No one pill or subsystem will make it all work. Understanding and coordinating your rhythms is free, easy, and only benefits you.

Dr. Sara C. Mednick is a cognitive neuroscientist at UC Irvine and author of The Power of the Downstate (HachetteGO)