Choose the Right Direction for Your Time and Energy

Choose the Right Direction for Your Time and Energy

Each person uses their time and energy into several common hotspots. For example, health, mind, relationships, finances, emotions, fun to name a few. Your hotspots, the time spent and the activities you do, make up who you are. It is a very good way to monitor and classify how you spend time and energy. Properly allocating your time and energy is essential to better productivity in the long term. How do we pick the right hotspots? Read on.

Think of Your Hotspots as a Portfolio. Doing so would help you to manage risks. You might be over-investing in some areas and neglecting others. A portfolio should be a good presentation of yourself, accenting your strengths and showing a consistent picture of your skills and abilities. You will have to underline the areas you need improvement to create a good portfolio.
Investigate Further and Name the Outcomes You Want. Just saying that something is important to you might not be well-grounded. Nothing can motivate you more than writing down a list of outcomes you want from a hotspot.
Identify Which Hotspots are the Most Important. The prioritisation of hotspots will help you to direct your resources accordingly.

How to Actually Invest Time and Energy into Hotspots. Let’s assume you have done the first part and have listed and prioritized your hotspots. This is still quite high level overview. What to do next?

Create a List of Hotspots Which Could be Handled. The list of hotspots should be simple and easy get at a glance. Further down, each hotspot has a list of items related to it. It has to be structured, simple and manageable. Here we have an example of the ‘Body’ hotspot sub-list:

Put a Lookup in the List of Hotspots in Your Schedule. Making a list and never going back to it won’t help you much. Schedule time on a weekly or a daily basis to look at it and assess your progress. You would need to review the list of hotspots to set priorities, write ideas and plan ahead.

Identify Threats and Opportunities for Each Hotspot. An important aspect of your review is to identify threats and opportunities in a hotspot. Be aware of factors that negatively impact you and think of how to deal with such factors. At the same time, there are things which may add value or improve your life in certain hotspots. Be aware, mind such opportunities and make the best out of them.

Timebox the Hotspots. Once done with the prioritization, de-limit that further down to time boundaries. Set limits for minimum and maximum time you spend on each activity. An example on how to do that:

The purpose of “minimums” is to push you not to neglect some of the hotspots. “Maximums” force you to better use your time and to prevent over-investing in some areas.

How Do We Assess the Results? Focus on your results:

Work hard within the maximums and minimums you have set.
Scan your hotspots, check if you are neglecting something.
Review the list of hotspots weekly. Prioritize and identify threats and opportunities.
Be aware of the long-term benefits you want to achieve.

Summing it Up. The ‘Hotspots’ model is a powerful way to see the big picture of your life. It is very helpful to determine what is important to you. Working with you hotspots involves knowledge about your priorities and skills on how to manage your time and activities. In order to get results, one must break down the abstract concepts and goals to tangible and timeboxed tasks. One also has to set expectations for minimum and maximum results and to be able to estimate how much time each of the small activities would take. It is a constantly evolving process which requires also analysis of threats and opportunities for each hotspot.