Unfinished business. Open loops. Running Apps. Depleted energy. Less productivity. Divided attention. Ugh. It’s downright overwhelming when you take a moment to realize how many tasks are competing for your time and focus every minute of every day. Ironically, ignoring them only creates more stress, and tackling them all at once creates overwhelm.
So how are you like your smartphone?
- You’re Multi-Talented – After all, we are the creators of phones and apps. You can manage your homefront, a job and freelance work, your own business, self care, social commitments, romantic curiosities, attend that class at the gym, and learn an instrument in one fell swoop.
- You’re Uber Productive – You can do laundry while listening to a podcast and writing a blog, calling your mother, emailing your boss, launching your project, walking the dog, and leaping tall buildings in a single bound. Well, maybe not the last part.
- Your Battery Power (Energy) is Limited – Regretfully, you can run out of juice. 🙁 Welcome to the downside of your multi-talented, uber-productive self. Keep reading for tips on preserving your energy so you can take on the world.
According to David Allen (my new hero), author of Getting Things Done, every undone thing depletes your energy. Even when your attention is not focused on those open loops or unfinished business, it continues to live in the back of your mind draining your psychic battery. This is your subconscious mind continuously poking you. “Hey! What about that thing you you started? And that idea you had?”.
Think about that smartphone. What happens to the battery when multiple apps are running in the background? Yeah, the ones you forgot about when something more urgent popped into your conscience. That’s right. Your phone slowly but surely loses power, dies, and then you panic. The same thing happens to your energy.
If you’re like me, during the course of your day, you’re constantly multi-tasking. It seems like you’re uber-effective and staying atop the task mountain. But, in reality research shows that you lose at least 20% of your productivity when your attention is divided between multiple tasks.
Finish what you’ve started. Close the metaphorical mental Apps. Here’s how:
- Take an inventory of your unfinished business. Brain dump it onto paper.
- Decide if it’s actionable, can be filed for another day, or trashed. Do it.
- Consider how much time each actionable item requires. Be realistic.
- Open your calendar. Designate uninterrupted blocks of time.
- Schedule it. Commit.
This might take an entire day, several days, or a portion of a few days to check them off your list and clear them from your subconscious mind. But when done, you’ll have a full bar of battery power.
Check your smart phone apps right now. Count the open apps – email, facebook, instagram, pinterest, safari, evernote, twitter, Game of War… they’re draining your battery. If this analogy mirrors your state of mind, then close the apps. Take a moment to pause and choose one thing to focus on. See it through. Enjoy a renewed clarity and actual sense of accomplishment. Now you can get started on the next item.
Photos courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by nenetus, nokhoog buchachon, artur84.