How to choose the key aspects of life in order to invest energy and time in them

Original author: Chris Bailey
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We continue to acquaint you with translations of Chris Bailey's articles, where he shares tips he learned during the “a Year of Productivity” project. Previously, we published articles by this author, they are available on our blog in the section "personal productivity" .

So, give the floor to Chris!

Clarify for yourself the key components of your life.

Every week, perhaps without even thinking, you spend your time and energy on many elements similar to the following:


One of the books that I am currently reading in the framework of the Year of Productivity project - Getting Results the agile way(Fast achievement of results) Meyer. The book describes a time and energy management system. It also pays a lot of attention to the various key elements of life, namely those that are given above. It should be noted that there are actually much more such elements (for example, social and spiritual), but Meyer takes as a basis those in which the average person invests most of his time.

The components of your life, if summarized and compared, characterize you as a person, and at an elementary level, they can be used to determine how you distribute your time and energy. From the moment I learned about the idea of ​​key elements, I did not live a day without thinking about how to apply it to achieve a high level of personal effectiveness.

A person feels great when he literally immediately achieves effectiveness, but it seems to me that it is much more important to keep it for a long time. For this, it is necessary to choose the right elements of life to invest their resources in: time and effort.

How to choose the key aspects of life in order to invest time and energy in them.

Not all aspects of life constantly remain relevant. To correctly choose the main and most relevant of them for the subsequent expenditure of time and energy, Meyer recommends the following:

  1. Think of aspects of life as a set of projects. “Looking and understanding your results in this context will help you manage your risks. In some areas, it may require significantly greater resource costs, while others will be somewhat ignored. ” Working with your set of projects will inevitably contain certain “interruptions”, but the idea of ​​key aspects will allow you to identify areas that require maximum attention and find enough time for them. ”
  2. Go ahead and describe the results that you would like to achieve for each key aspect in the long term. Just talking about the importance of this or that sphere of your life is one thing, and quite another - to get inspiration from possible advantages in the future if you build your life correctly.
  3. Identify the most significant aspects of life for yourself. When this is finished, you will be able to direct the resources you have (time, energy, attention, and so on) according to your needs.

There is one more thing to keep in mind: the key elements are closely interconnected (for example, career and finances or emotions and entertainment). It would be nice to describe (and then implement what was written) possible prospects, killing, if possible, two birds with one stone.

The practical part: how to invest your time and energy in key aspects?

I hope that I was able to at least partially explain to you the meaning of the idea of ​​perceiving life through its key aspects. You have divided and determined the significance of your actions in relation to this or that element, what next?

Here are a few ways to integrate key ideas more deeply into life.

Create a list of key aspects of your life

На что он должен быть похож? По словам Мейера, список должен иметь максимально простую структуру и легко восприниматься визуально. Именно такой вид списка позволит вам понять, находитесь ли вы на правильном пути.

Если вы сделаете объемный список с многочисленными подпунктами для каждого аспекта, вы просто не будете на него смотреть. И напротив, короткий перечень пунктов позволит вам быстро просматривать элементы и концентрировать внимание на важном. Вот пример читабельного расширенного списка со всеми необходимыми подпунктами:


Внесите регулярные просмотры списка аспектов в свой график

Создавать список ключевых элементов бесполезно, если вы не собираетесь его регулярно просматривать.Make it a rule to return to it once every one to two weeks and choose priority aspects of life for the next time interval. Make sure you have a to-do list, as well as a diary. In it you will need to write down a million ideas and deeds that you must implement and a list of people you need to meet.

Identify for each key aspect of the threat and opportunity

Be sure to consider all the threats and opportunities that are relevant to the key aspects of your life. “Strictly speaking, threats are things that can negatively affect your mind, body, emotions, career, finances, relationships and leisure. And opportunities are what can help improve your life in these areas. ”

Limit the time allocated to each aspect

What does this subparagraph mean? Once you have determined the importance of each aspect, you can begin to act in accordance with the priorities by setting limits (maximums and minimums) for time spent on each of them. Here is an example of such a time limit, taken from the book Getting Results the Agile Way :


In order to effectively set time limits for each key aspect, define and record in your diary the maximum and minimum time for each of them (especially in cases where there is a lower time limit). According to Meyer, the meaning of these limits is to "maintain equilibrium and improve their results."

The minimums are designed to prevent you from completely ignoring some aspects while you are throwing your main efforts at others. Highs should help you spend time more efficiently - they force you to take time wisely.

Everything should work for the result.

It makes no sense to write lists of the main aspects of life, so as not to use them later.

Focus on the results. It means:

  • Strictly adhere to the established highs and lows.
  • View key aspects to understand if you are not ignoring any of them, making up your next to-do list.
  • To analyze the list of their key aspects every week in order to timely identify those that need special attention, as well as to identify potential threats and opportunities.
  • To determine for yourself what long-term positive effect you would like to achieve for each of them (key aspects are, ultimately, a very useful way to look at your life).

Summary The

key aspects of life are an incredibly effective way to look at your life from the side and set priorities. The bottom line is that, “looking at the most important thing from a bird's eye view,” “go down to the ground” and apply the knowledge gained to change your daily activities in order to optimize it. In practice, this means creating a list of your key aspects, setting time limits for each of them, adding scans of the list of elements to your schedule, and identifying threats with opportunities for each aspect.

PS from the translation editor: if you are interested in reading other articles by the author, we highly recommend studying “Why great achievements will not make you happier (and what to do about it!)” .

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