TEA - Productivity triad that increase potential by 100 times to make life successful
The most important contribution management needs to make in the 21st century is similarly to increase the productivity of knowledge work and knowledge workers. - Peter Drucker
Whether you're a CEO or an entrepreneur, comfortable working from home or moving up the corporate ladder, it doesn't matter. We all desire to realize our full potential in some deep way. The issue is that there are countless possible routes there, and no two people are alike. Whether you are just beginning your hunt for productivity spirit or have been at it for some time, the question of how to discern what will actually work for your situation persists. Which "life hack" ought to be used first? Should you establish better habits or try a different task manager? Should you strive to do more in-depth work or eat healthier?
In this post, I am going to introduce you to a simple framework which will cut through the noise. Understanding the TEA framework will provide the greatest return on investment our physical, mental, and emotional resources so you can overcome the resistance that is keeping you from your ideal and sustainable future.
Hitting that sweet spot doesn’t happen accidentally or automatically (if it did, you wouldn’t be reading this right now). You need a framework which puts you in a position to toward achieving your goals and creating your ideal future.
TEA - Productivity Triad
Time, Energy, and Attention are the three mental resources you MUST master if you want to reach your full potential. Just like a stool, you must have all 3 three legs to offer proper support. If even one of these is a little bit wobbly, you’re in danger of falling on your face. In other words, Time, Energy, and Attention are the 3 facets of Productivity.
Based on my professional experience to solve productivity problems and achieve full potential, I recognized most of the obstacle’s face can be broken down into three simple categories:
As I worked with people to craft solutions to their productivity problems, the light bulb went on as we began to see how these three areas fit together. All of the systems, habits, mindsets, and ideas fit nicely into this simple framework.
When you have all three of these working for you, it’s easy to be productive. If you’re struggling, you need to figure out where the disconnect is and take steps to address the problem.
Let’s break these down one by one.
The first facet of productivity is Time. This is where most people start on their productivity journey because it’s one of the most obvious signs that something is wrong (“I don’t have enough time”). Time is about creating margin by manipulating the systems in your life to make them as efficient as possible.
There are 3 components to time: Systems, Strategies, and People.
“Time is the ultimate currency.” - Elon Musk
“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” -William Penn
“Every man is a creature of the age in which he lives and few are able to raise themselves above the ideas of the time.” - Voltaire
The second facet of productivity is Energy. You may have the time to do your work, but if you don’t have energy then you won’t be able to follow through and take action on your important projects. Energy is about managing and increasing your energy so that you can overcome procrastination and achieve your goals with consistent action.
There are 3 components to energy: Sleep, Rituals, and Motivation.
“Do not use your energy to worry. Use your energy to believe, to create, to learn, to think and to grow.” - Richard Feynman
“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” - Benjamin Franklin
The third facet of productivity is Attention. If you set aside time to work on your important project and have the energy to do so, you still won’t get much done if you don’t manage your attention and are constantly being distracted. You must be able to not only select the right tasks to work on, but also eliminate distractions and interruption so you can get them done. Attention is about working on what matters and staying on course as you create your ideal future.
There are 3 components to attention: Focus, Goals, and Mindsets.
“Intelligence is the ability to find relevant material in memory and to deploy attention when needed.” - Anonymous
“Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are.” - José Ortega y Gasset
“You become what you give your attention to.” - Epictetus
EXAMPLES WHERE ONE IS NEGLECTED
Let me give you a couple of examples:
Energy & Attention, but no Time
When you have no time, you usually feel trapped or stuck. You might say things like:
“I wish there were more hours in a day”
“I don’t have time to do X”
“I have a lot to do but not enough time to complete it.”
You might have the energy to work on your essential project and the concentration to give it your full attention, but you just don't have enough time in the day to do it.
Here are some examples of people who have Energy & Attention, but no Time:
The overworked corporate worker that wakes up at 7am and doesn’t come home until 10pm
The overcommitted individual whose schedule is crammed with commitments, meetings, and events with no downtime
The crazy-busy parent is who is constantly running kids back and forth from school to soccer practice and never has time for him or herself
The word to describe the person who has Energy and Attention, but no Time is overwhelmed.
For example, someone who wants to write a book. The person who is struggling with time is motivated to publish a book but is too busy to even write one chapter, let alone write drafts. They just have too much to do every day.
Here are some simple strategies they can use to create more time:
Scheduling time to write every day and putting it on the calendar
Having someone help with writing/editing
Freeing up time elsewhere (delegating other tasks)
Optimizing other things or systems to create time to write
Time & Attention, but no Energy
When you have no energy, you usually feel frustrated because you know what to do and you have time to do it, but you can’t follow through. You find creative ways to procrastinate even though in the back of your head you’re saying to yourself, “I know I should be doing X.”
You might have time to work on your important project and you’re focused on getting it done, but you can’t even get started because you just don’t have enough energy to overcome the resistance and get started.
Here are some examples of people who have Time & Attention, but no Energy:
The one-time A-player in your organization that you just can’t count on anymore
The person who has everything they need to succeed but still doesn’t get things done
The person at work you never ask for help because you don’t know if they can handle one more thing
The word to describe the person who has Time and Attention, but no Energy is exhausted.
For the person who wants to write a book, maybe they lack the motivation to sit down and write. They lay in bed on a Sunday morning, even though they have a whole day dedicated on their calendar to write. They know it’s important, but they just can’t face a blank page to actually start.
Here are some simple strategies they can use to create more energy:
Go to bed earlier instead of watching Youtube so they have more energy in the morning
Start working out regularly so they feel energized and excited when they sit down to write
Time & Energy, but no Attention
When you have no attention, you easily feel overwhelmed by everything you “need” to do. You have trouble focusing on one thing for any length of time or even selecting the right task to work on. You might say things like:
“I have so much to do, I don’t know where to start”
“I’d like to close my email client, but I can’t”
“Where did my time go?”
You have time to work on your important project and energy to take action, but you still don’t make any progress because you are constantly being distracted by things that really aren’t that important.
Here are some examples of people who have Time & Energy, but no Attention:
The high-achieving salesperson that limits their earning potential by spending most of his/her time doing non-sales work
A stay-at-home parent who doesn’t actually get to spend much quality time with their kids
The person who is always talking about their great ideas but never actually does anything
The word to describe the person who has Time and Energy, but no Attention is distracted.
For the person who wants to write a book, they may wake up fully refreshed on a Sunday fully intending to write but end up doing house chores and running errands instead. They get distracted by busywork and never end up writing.
Here are some simple strategies they can use to create more attention:
Turn on Do Not Disturb when you sit down to write so you’re not interrupted by notifications
Clean your desk the day before so you there are no distractions when you sit down to write
HOW YOU CAN IMPROVE THESE THREE FACETS
1# MAKE BETTER USE OF TIME
There are only 4,000 weeks in your life. Put them to good use. The adage "Time is money" is frequently used, however it ignores the fact that time is by far the most valuable resource.
Compared to a time-valuing perspective, a money-centric mindset can be damaging to your happiness. To become more "time-affluent," identify your primary values and use your money to facilitate the pursuits and experiences that support them.
Four thousand weeks is the average lifespan of a person living in the modern world. With exercise and healthy living, you may push that number out a couple of months. Then again a disease or accident may just as easily cut it short. Give or take, 4,000 weeks is all the time you have to build the life you want.
Admittedly, such framing is stark, but it’s something we all understand on a gut level: Our time is limited, and that makes it the most precious resource we have. Yet when it comes to how we use our time, it’s often in service of money.
The only activity we engage in more frequently than paid labour is sleep, which accounts for more than 500 weeks of a person's 4,000 hours per year. And that sum simply takes into account money earned. Budgeting, spending, investing, and worrying about money all eat up time that was set aside for unpaid work or "leisure" pursuits.
Our lives are quietly passing throughout this time.
Money is obviously necessary. You need it to do a long list of daily tasks, including buying food, paying bills, saving for retirement, and many more.But according to research, adopting a money-centric perspective may be harmful to your subjective well-being after your income rises above the subsistence level.
To build happier, more meaningful lives, you shouldn’t disburse your time in the pursuit of money; you should use your money to better facilitate your time.
Time is more scarce than money
The adage "time is money" accurately captures the money-obsessed mentality. People adore this kind of advise not because it has been shown to be accurate or valuable but rather because it exudes an air of exceptional authority. This is particularly true in the United States, where Benjamin Franklin is frequently cited as the source.
According to one interpretation, time and money are interchangeable. For the latter, you had to spend the former. According to another, the best return on your time is money. Any time not used to generate income is time wasted. Of fact, the "time value of money" is the foundation of the entire subject of finance.
But when put under close examination, this cliche falls apart like so many others. Money and time are not the same thing as resources. Time should be far more valued if we judge a resource's worth based on its scarcity because you can always make more money.
You earn more money by negotiating raises, earning promotions, or changing professions. You can sell products for more than their costs, save money to spend when it is more advantageous, or invest your money to create capital to draw from later. Heck, you can even steal it.
Time cannot be compared in the same way. You can never get back the time you invest in one activity and swap it for another. You cannot spend your time to produce more later or save it for a more advantageous season. And while there are many benefits to time spent, like education, health, and money, those benefits cannot be turned back into time.
Time is more valuable than money
Research shows that people who value time over money enjoy greater subjective well-being. They also have better social connections, healthier family relationships, and greater job satisfaction.
And this isn't because time-rich individuals take on less work. They put in nearly the same amount of labor as their counterparts who prioritize money, claims a survey. The difference is that time-valuing participants preferred "intrinsically gratifying activities," indicating that their value as workers extended beyond monetary compensation. Reversing the ingrained belief that time is money is necessary for nothing less than our health and pleasure.
How to spend your money
But how does anyone become time-rich if we all have the same 4,000 weeks? You cannot acquire or earn time. Everyone has the time they have. Nothing more or less.
The answer is that having a lot of time doesn't really matter when it comes to time. How you spend it matters. Money plays a significant part in this situation. You can get more meaning and subjective well-being out of the same amount of hours and weeks by carefully choosing how you spend your money.
They add: “Money is an opportunity for happiness, but it is an opportunity that people routinely squander because the things they think will make them happy often don’t.”
According to their research, when people think about how money can support happiness, they typically make two fundamental errors. First, their predictions are almost always off, and second, they fail to realize that the context in which they are making these predictions is not the same as the actual experience.
For instance, some people might believe that purchasing a new 8K TV will make them extremely happy. However, the hookups and accessories actually cause them to spend more money. They underestimate how long the initial setup and ongoing maintenance will take. And after a brief period of awe at the image quality, they quickly become used to the excessive pixel count. It turns into yet another TV after a month.
So while the purchase did bring happiness, it proves significantly less than imagined, especially compared to the costs in both time and money.
The trio argues that this is the reason why treating yourself doesn't make you happy or last as long as we expect. Instead, spending money on experiences, helping others, or indulging in tiny pleasures makes us happier. We shouldn't waste time on comparison shopping, and we should consider how our purchases can reduce the stress in our daily lives rather than make it worse. In other words, rather of being centered on money, you should consider how your time and money may support your beliefs, foster connections, and enable you to carry out the activities that are meaningful to you. Any amount of money won't make a difference in terms of happiness or life satisfaction if it can't handle that.
Time is money plus values
It’s one thing to say we should buy experiences and use our money to do the things we find meaningful. But it’s another to figure out which experiences and pursuits will meet that goal and shift our mindset to be more time-affluent.
The first step is recognizing that you cannot afford or do everything. As she said in an interview: “You just can’t have an endless series of ‘ands.’ You might not be able to have that thing and something else and something else and something else.”
After that, she recommends a first-principles exercise to clarify your core values and how they can shape your spending habits. Start by writing down the components of your life (such as family, health, career, self-worth, etc.) Then for each vertical, write down all the things you might want to accomplish by the end of your life. Remember, you have less than 4,000 weeks, so be realistic.
After that, go over your lists and highlight the achievements that are most significant to you. You ought to devote the majority of your time, effort, and resources to pursuing these.
“That’s a very difficult exercise because oftentimes in each of those verticals, it’s hard to pick just one, but then you’ll know what’s most important across that top horizontal span,” Pant said.
She also advises going through the list to remember the "core experiences" that are important to you. This is due to the possibility that what seems to be two values on our lists may just be one. You can have two distinct objectives, such as spending more time with your family and seeing the globe. However, if your family is the group you want to travel the world with, then both of those objectives are linked to the fundamental activity of relationship-building.
Once you’ve budgeted enough money to pay the bills and feed the family, you should consider how you can save and spend your money to best facilitate the experiences and time you need to live those values in your life.
“And that doesn’t just apply to your money,” Pant notes. “That applies to your time, your focus, your energy, your attention — any limited resource. And life is the ultimate limited resource. So, when you practice being better at managing your money, you practice being better at managing your life.”
2# MAKE BETTER USE OF ENERGY
The energy in your body works like a muscle. To increase your maximum capacity, you must push the muscle slightly past its limits, keep it there for a short while until it is exhausted and then rest it up completely.
The more often you do this process the more the muscle will grow.
Most people struggle with their energy levels because they do not know the details of this process. They think energy is just mental or physical, rarely take full rests, and almost never push their muscles to the limits or recharge them enough.
If you want to improve your energy levels you must learn the following things
To gain more energy you must push one of these 4 to the limit. You know how to do this with your physical energy but have likely abandoned the other 3. To push the limits in any of these you must become exhausted in that energy.
Recovery is necessary. Without it you will not allow the muscle to grow and instead tear it apart.
Improving Your Energy Is A Continual Process - It is a constant up and down, a constant exertion and recovery, that is ever-going. Physical trainers know this. Those who work out cannot miss more than a few weeks or lose all progress. The same is true for your other energies as well.
Mental Energy is your brain power.
This energy is used by…
Being consciously creative.
It can be recharged by…
Relaxation, such as meditation.
Being in Nature.
Physical Energy is your bodily energy.
This energy is used by…
Sitting/Bed rest for prolonged periods of time without stretching.
Regular Activities in a long day.
It can be recharged by…
Relaxing or Resting.
Emotional Energy is your internal well-being.
This energy is used by…
Strong Emotions, both positive and negative.
Prolonged exposure to strong Emotions., both positive and negative.
Emotional Entertainment, such as exceptionally intense movies.
Lack of Movement.
It can be recharged by…
Exposure to positive Emotions.
Calming influences, such as Nature, Meditation or relaxing activities.
Increasing your Spiritual Energy.
Purposefully getting excited, like children on Christmas day.
Spiritual Energy is your purpose or calling.
This energy is used by…
Feeling lost or without purpose.
Having no bigger goal.
Getting lost in detail.
It can be recharged by…
Connecting to a bigger purpose.
Re-affirming Beliefs and Values.
The above are merely guidelines for what you can do, although there are a lot more ways. The important part is that you treat each energy like a muscle that you wish to train. Follow the process above as often as you can for each energy, and you will increase your capacity.
Just remember to rest adequately, for that is what most forget.
3# IMPROVE ATTENTION
Our everyday activities are dominated by logging on and off of our computers and mobile devices. WhatsApp, email, Telegram, and the half-dozen other applications that are supposedly essential to our profession constantly flood us with messages. In order to do our everyday tasks or find solutions to our difficulties, we look for knowledge continually.
Constant interruptions reduce productivity. The work takes longer to complete. We are not as attentive. With our spouse or with coworkers, we don't grasp things as well, which leads to misunderstanding, misinterpretation, and conflict. Memory is impacted. Our personal lives and professional reputation are impacted when we forget things or have trouble recalling knowledge quickly.
Practice mindfulness and meditation.
Get more sleep.
Choose to focus on the moment.
Take a short break.
Connect with nature.
Train your brain.
Use a timer.
Thanks for reading and before you go…
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