Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Time/Energy/Motivation Quotient

Even though I’ve talked about “having time” - I’m realizing how much it is about having energy.  I did have time for myself before…but not always energy during that time. I was often brain-drained during the week from the multi-tasking, detail-oriented, and just demanding nature of the work. Saturated. Too many synapses firing. (Did I mention that I did conflict resolution/collaboration for environmental issues where federal agencies were involved? Enough said about the “demanding” part). And I was generally tired - worn down - from repetitive, unresolved work-place aspects that didn’t work for me.  
That mental burnt-out created a physical drag. I was tired from keeping up. (And I’m single, no kids. I have NO idea how most others do it. I’m in awe of them - you?). So, I “wasted” a lot of time on weekends recuperating.

I also traveled quite a bit (for work and a couple personal trips a year) and that probably contributed. Almost always running up to a trip or re-grouping after - including a couple days of a little jet lag. Hard to settle, have a routine for any length of time. I probably was a little disconnected a good bit of the time.   

Before, I kept up with priorities: work, travel, friends, family, a little exercise and household stuff like bill paying, grocery shopping and laundry. In the last couple weeks after retiring, when I have had nothing but time,  I reconnected with many friends, slept, read, but got little else done because of  low energy from the need to de-compress and recuperate.

And there is motivation to factor in. Seems as though I could – and still can – muster up the energy when I WANT to do whatever (or need to, because there are deadlines - with consequences -  that make me “want to”.)

I’m sure there is a formula that could conjugate the Time/Energy/Motivation quotient for a given task or event or lifestyle or ... whatever.  It would go something like this:

Before retiring:

Some time + stress/burn-out = low energy - motivation + disconnectedness = the essentials get done and a lot of time is “wasted” recuperating

Shortly after retiring:

A lot of time - energy - motivation =  a lot of reading, resting and socializing

What’s beginning to happen now (three weeks out):

  • A lot of time - energy + motivation  =  energy kicks in and some things get done
  • Little time (a deadline) = motivation = energy = essential tasks are slowly getting done
  • A lot of motivation = energy = things get done no matter how much time there is.
I wish I was good at math so I could get all clever and create a formula that pulls these all together. But suffice it to say that having a balanced, meaningful and happy life is not all about “having time”. And then there is attitude to factor in.

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