Valuing intensity of effort over quantity of effort

We all want to get important work done. So we need to just sit down and work more, right? Well not exactly. Many hours of work do not necessarily equate to more output.

How working less to get more done actually works

For a long time I have wondered how it is possible to get more done in less time. Here is a visual that explains it all:

Our attention is like a gas.

If you have a small container you can compress it.

If you have a big container it spreads and it is difficult to hold together.

On the left side you see someone working for many hours. The amount of hours someone works can only be spread so far, there are only 24 hours a day for all of us. Our day cannot be extended.

On the right side you see someone working for a much shorter time but with a very high intensity. It is much easier to work with a high focus for short periods of time. Essentially you can even get more done.

What it means

We need to pay more intentionality behind choosing a small container of time and really filling it up with our effort. The question is not so much how long you are going to work, but how long it takes you to get started and how attentive you can keep your mind to the task. And the good news is that this intensity and focus can be trained.

Training plan

Focus can be trained. Especially in the morning when the attention is still fresh. We could take 25 minutes each morning to work on this. Choose a first action and time yourself how fast you can get yourself to start. Once you get started you are likely to continue. When we get momentum, everything gets easier. Momentum is the antidote to procrastination.

It is amazing what we can get done in a short amount of focused time. And it is equally amazing how large chunks of time can be easily lost to distraction.

The choice is yours. What do you choose and why? You can let me know in the comments below.

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