Time, Energy, and Effort

Do you need more time or more energy?

I talk to people a lot about managing their time but sometimes it isn’t time that’s the problem.

Imagine pushing an empty wheelbarrow up a hill.

Now imagine pushing a wheelbarrow full of bricks up the same hill.

You might be able to do it in the same time but it’ll take a lot more effort and you’ll use a lot more energy.

The time we spend doing something (duration) – and the energy we use to do it (effort) are not always the same…

Noticing the difference can be a game changer.

There are other things that affect the effort needed to get things done.


Estimating and focusing

Estimating the right amount of time and focusing on the task for that time is easy to say but not so easy to do. Every distraction requires effort to bring your mind back to what you were doing before you got distracted. Add in some self-recrimination and by the time you’ve finished beating yourself up you’ll feel exhausted.

Do you have the skills needed for the task or will you struggle? Do you need something from someone else? Do you need more information? These are the sorts of things that make duration longer than effort.

Compare this to being “in the flow” or “in the zone” where you do things without really noticing time passing and feel energised when you’re done and ready for the next task.

Prioritising and systemising

Instead of saying “I don’t have time to do this …”  say instead “I’m choosing not to make it a priority to do this …” and see how that makes you feel.

Don’t keep a to do list, book time in your schedule instead. If it’s not scheduled, it won’t get done. Lists without a schedule are useless and generally just stress people out.

The other angle is to  “leverage” or systemise things so that you get the same results with less effort.


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