Time well spent

A reflection on our aims for how we manage our time and energy.

I enjoy the regular updates on Nicholas Bate’s blog. They’re often short and snappy, perhaps more like Tweets than anything else. Many are additions to ongoing series on themes like productivity, communication and living well. This week he posted Productivity Reminder 55:

Your goal is 8/8/8. of work, of sleep, of play.

I visualise that as a bar chart with even columns for each activity:

Nicholas Bate's productivity reminder 55: 8 hours each of work, play and sleep.

The focus here is on time. But what about how we manage our energy? When I drew this out, it reminded me of the concept of the Good Life Buckets created by Jonathan Fields. He suggests we think of our lives as three buckets labelled:

  • Vitality — to represent the state of our mind and body
  • Connection — to represent our relationships
  • Contribution — to represent how we show up in the world
Jonathan Fields concept of The Good Life Buckets: connection, contribution and vitality.

When these buckets are all full we’re living well, but if a bucket becomes empty it drains on the other buckets and things start to falter. For both our time and energy it’s understanding this interconnection that’s important — if we pour too much of ourselves into one area, we begin to neglect something else and this can have consequences.

My latest newsletter article and February’s link round-up, will tell you that I’ve been reading and thinking a lot lately about how we manage our time and energy.

Whatever ideal we have for how we spend our time and manage our energy (the goal of 8/8/8 might not be right for everyone) we first need to reflect on what the current situation is.

Once we’ve got a clear idea of how we’re currently spending our time and energy, we can look to see what change is needed to bring us closer towards our ideal.

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