My recent article Everyone finds time to do what they want to do I mentioned that (not surprisingly) everyone finds time to do the things they really want to do. Well, for some that same thing applies to energy and or resources.
But that brings up some questions. Surely someone would find the time to go mountain climbing, or dating to find that awesome someone right? Surely someone would find the time to get a better job, or to finish that book, or do that thing they always wanted to do? They definitely want to do those things, and in some cases more than anything else. So, that can’t be right, can it?
Well, yes, it’s still correct, and here’s why.
Remember that life is made of three things – time, energy and resources. That’s what’s in your flask. When you look at things as a whole, and you map things out (say, using the nifty Balance Sheet I created) you see that time is just one of the elements. That’s why it’s so important to look at all three and how they affect you. Let’s take a question and break it down:
If ‘everyone finds the time to do what they really want,’ why wouldn’t someone serious about meeting someone find the time to date?
They do. They find the time to date, and they try it, again and again. And then they find out just how draining online dating can be. So then they make a decision (consciously or unconsciously) that they just aren’t going to do it any more. Why? Because though they have the time, they don’t have the energy. In their mind they flag it. They look at the flask and see a liter of energy left, and know that this dating nonsense is going to take seven liters of energy. So they cross it off – nope, just can’t afford it. That’s what makes the Time/Energy/Resources perspective so valuable. It considers all of them.
The same can be said for all those really wonderful sounding activities like mountain climbing, participating in a marathon, launching a business or career, writing a book, etc. Time may not be the element.
Considering that, you must then think about the next question:
If time isn’t holding me back what is? What is, indeed. Let’s break it down into the three elements again, but first re-address time.
Time is holding you back because you just don’t have it in your schedule. The most common element; and the most fun to deal with. It’s fun because it is the element that comes as the biggest surprise to those I’ve worked with. People are absolutely convinced that they have no time to spare. I’m sure you’re one of them. Well, they don’t have any more time using their simple math: there are 24 hours in a day, seven days a week, etc.
They are wrong however, because they only are able to see how they currently do things. Once they understand there’s a different way, we recover time – sometimes a lot of it. Finding hours or more of time in a person’s week for those that were completely convinced they couldn’t spare a minute is fun and very rewarding. Not just for the subject but for me, selfishly. Sometimes we adjust how you do something, sometimes we do something less, and sometimes we change something entirely. You can see the article Balance and the sliding puzzle for a better understanding of that, or just fill out the balance sheet yourself.
If time is holding you back, then there are clever things you can do to gain more time; which includes doing something more efficiently, offloading something to someone else, and simply pulling back. That last one is the biggest surprise. There are things you can simply just spend less time on and there is no change in the effectiveness of them. An example is working out at the gym. There are multiple studies that show that the same workout can be had in 20 mins that can be had in an hour. Read The Four Hour Body for an in depth explanation of this.
This is the quiet hidden one. Resources is the shameful element that society happily assists us with hiding behind. It is the easily-justified reason for not doing that thing much, or at all. It’s the answer to why we don’t do the fun stuff. Resources may be the reason you don’t even start a project even though you may not need the resources until it’s finished. It’s very acceptable to not have the resources to do those things you really want to do. After all, you’re busy being a parent, saving for the future. You shouldn’t dump a bunch of money on going to Machu Picchu when you have to save for retirement.
Are resources standing in your way? Like time, it can be rearranged and re allocated. But unlike time, there isn’t a fixed amount. Not only can you recover resources, but you can produce more. No, I’m not saying you should magically produce a raise, or get a second job. Getting a second job would affect your time, and your energy – they are all connected. No, I’m realistically explaining that resources are more flexible and less limiting than time.
If resources are holding you back, then there are a number of things you can do:
- Gain more – It is possible to simply make more money by changing jobs, careers or promotions. Yes, I know, you are reacting strongly to this one. I would too. Good, your Creepometer™ is still functioning. This doesn’t apply to everyone, but what a cool solution if you really don’t like your current position anyway. Imagine a career change that not only makes a lot more money, but gives you a more fulfilling career and now allows you to do that thing. Remember, we consider the whole.
- Re allocate – Pulling back on something you want less in favor of something you want more is a viable solution. Sure, not buying Starbucks every day so you can afford that African Safari might not be viable, but other solutions may be. And you’d be surprised how things add up. Ask a former smoker.
- Purchase differently– Perhaps this thing you want can be gained differently than you are currently considering. There are numerous ways to cheat the system. Want that big expensive thing? Buy it used. Or, just rent it. There are ample stories about people who got into a sport competitively and had to borrow or rent their equipment. Your travel may be due to barter with someone who has points to spare on their time share. Etc. Taking classes or training on something can also sometimes be bartered for – you may have a skill that is equally valuable to the teacher/trainer. You may be able to help them with their resume, in exchange for those dance lessons. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
Kind of in the middle between Time and Resources, Energy is finite but expandable. We do have only so much energy, but so many of us are operating at a state that is much lower than we are capable of. There are many things we can do to gain more energy. A simple change in activities may cause a huge change in energy which will cause the surplus you need. How many times have you heard someone tell a story about how happy they are due to a career change or relationship change which in turn caused them to take up a hobby. That’s a perfect demonstration of energy standing in the way, and then removed as a block. I will delve into this more in an upcoming article titles Why energy is key.
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Mark Bradford developed a system to achieve goals, manage your energy and understand and strengthen your path – it’s Alchemy for Life.
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