Be more Productive – Balance your Time Energy and Attention
Being productive means balancing your time, energy and attention. Hitting a limit in any one of these three resources will impact your overall productivity.
Time, Energy and Attention are limited in different ways. Knowing how these limits affect you will help you keep the balance.
Let’s break this down into two steps:
1 – Know how you’re limited and where to start
2 – Honour the balance of time energy and attention
Step 1 – Know how you’re limited and where to start
We speak a lot about time management, but what about attention management or energy management? Knowing your limits will help you know where you have work to do.
We’re often told to ‘make’ time for something. But we cannot really make time – we can use it, invest in it, waste it but we cannot make it.
We have 24 hours in the day, 7 days in the week and about 365 days in the year. That’s it…
What other limits are there to your time?
Energy varies depending on a variety of factors – like what you’re doing, how you slept the night before, what you’ve eaten or how healthy you feel.
Certain activities increase your energy while others deplete it. You can fill your tank to a certain extent… but once it’s used up you can’t take further action…
What do you do to re-energise? What drains your energy?
Attention can be limited both in quantity and quality.
You may reach a point where you just can’t pay attention any more. Consider for example when you’ve studied or when you’ve been very focussed on a particular task.
What often happens thought is that you place your attention on a task and for a while that’s where your time and energy flow… then you attention is interrupted and it shifts. Your time and energy shift with it…
The impact of distraction
Consider when you’re working on something and your phone rings… Distraction shifts your attention and takes your time and energy away from what you set out to do.
We’re surrounded by distraction and it’s expected that you should be able to ‘multi-task’… but what does that say about the quality of your attention?
How do you work with distraction? Bring quality to your attention?
Step 2 – Honour the balance of time energy and attention
To be most effective you need to keep your time energy and attention in balance.
Balance is not a destination you arrive at. Balancing is a dynamic activity. Like when you stand on one leg.
Your time, energy and attention levels will differ on different days and require different approaches to maintain the balance.
It’s important to recognise what helps you stay balanced and what knocks you over.
Notice the changing limits
Ever woken up full of energy with the whole day ahead of you… and then at the end of the day wondered what you’ve accomplished? What happened to your attention?
And what about the days where you don’t feel well? What is your energy like on those days?
Give time to activities that will help your overall productivity
Notice that giving time and attention to activities that help you keep your energy up may on the surface appear to take your time but actually help you to be more effective overall.
Remember that the next time you decide to skimp on a good night’s sleep or you push yourself when you feel ill. The same holds for eating healthily and regularly, keeping hydrated or going to the gym. Whatever works for you to help you feel energised has a massive impact on your overall productivity.
Honouring the balance of time, energy and attention will help you maximise your overall productivity.
Understanding the limits of time, energy and attention and balancing these resources allows you to improve your overall productivity.