Learn how to decide the best next task based on two powerful productivity principles. Understanding the conepts of Time and Energy (on Hightrack)
One of the key pieces of smart work is choosing the right time to start your next action. Most people choose depending on what the list says (“next task on the list must be this one”) or depending on the level of external pressure (“I have to do this now!”).
Choosing one of the two is a very traditional way of working: work hard, finish fast, and run to your next task. But deep down, that is not productivity or smart work. That is running with your tongue out.
In most cases, the right answer to the question “which task should I do next” is behind two concepts of Personal Productivity: Time and Energy. Let us tell you what are they about, so you undestand but time and energu stand for, and how they can help you work better.
At the end of the day, every task you finish requires a certain amount of Time and Energy. Time is the amount of minutes something takes up, nothing to explain here. But, what about Energy? In personal Productivity, Energy is the level of attention, mental agility, capacity and creativity that you have at a certain point.
Sometimes you are on top of your game, alert and fresh. Sometimes you are so, so. And sometimes you are tired, or even absent-minded. So when you want to choose the right task for now, you have to take into account your current level of Energy.
Now here comes the golden question, or even the “conversation” that you can have with yourself at any given point in your work day: “given the time that I have now, and given my current stamina levels, which task should I carry out now?”
To visualize all this clearly, let us tell you two different stories:
1. Situation 1: it is midmorning, and after having a coffee you realize that you have 25 minutes before a meeting. “Which task should I/ could I do now?”
2. Situation 2: your work day is finishing at last, and, even if you are tired, you still have things to do. “Which task should I/ could I do now?”
Hightrack allows you to set the Time and Energy for each task, just when you are capturing (or editing) a task. You will just see the fields there to add that information. But, what can you gain if you add that? Is it worth it to add those fields?
Hightrack includes a Focus track that allows you to work depending on the amount of Time and Energy of a given moment. And to be able to use that track, you have to add that information in your tasks.
Let us go back for a while to the two scenarios we had before, to see how Hightrack and Focus can help you decide:
1. Situation 1: go to Tracks → Focus → Time. Then choose tasks that require 5 minutes. That way you will be able to finish 4-5 things before going to your meeting.
2. Situation 2: go to Tracks → Focus → Energy. Choose the option “low energy” tasks. You could complete 3-4 of those before going home.
Spending some time to include Time and Energy in all (or most) tasks may sound excessive at first, but it is really worth it. Because in real life, this afternoon, or tomorrow morning, this information will allow you to work in a smart way. And that is exactly what we want.