Untwist the Garden Hose
I had a great conversation with Tim Webster, the author of Technically Social blog and one of the owners of Ingenu, a company that develops Android products. Besides providing amazing customer service and freely sharing a broad collection of social media tips, he’s developing apps for Android devices, getting married soon, living his 9-5 full time job. The even more awesome thing about Tim is that he has found a new belief about his endeavors:
The more I do, the more I’m able to do
Have you ever noticed that the less you do, the less energy it feels like you have? The more you sit at the couch or stare at the computer, the more resistance you have to getting up and going out? “The more you do, the more you’re able to do” is real. There is no such thing as more time, there is only the efficiency and quality of the way you spend time.
There’s more to the efficiency of time than just using technology wisely or making sure you’re doing the right things. There’s realizing that your brain was not meant to handle focusing on one thing for 8 hours a day. As Tim puts it:
It’s like the building of pressure in a garden hose. When I focus on something too long, the pressure builds up, I start getting a headache and, by taking a step back and doing something else, I can come back with even better ideas than before.
There is only so long you can work on something before the efficiency of the moment starts to decline – the impact that you are making with more work decreases. You feel a loss in energy and your attention starts to wander. At some point, the ability to make larger leaps plateau and devoting more time doesn’t have help. That is why you want to have the flexibility of working on multiple projects, of stepping away and coming back more brilliant. So if you feel like you don’t have enough time to accomplish something, ask yourself instead, how much time do I spend on it and not make a measurable difference? Maybe adding something else to your plate is the answer – maybe something like taking care of yourself or giving yourself that mental break you deserve*.
Untwist the garden hose once in awhile – release the pressure that has been building up by putting so much focus on one place. Let the thoughts flow freely again and you’ll find as Tim and I have, the more you do, the more you’re able to do.
*Okay, but I do think some people do have way too much to do already and acknowledge that as well. In that case, perhaps the choice you do need to make is between dropping an item that you’re not able to devote quality time to anyway.
Your Coach Challenge: What’s a small, doable step you can take to starting something new?