How Should You Spend Your Time and Energy?

Time and EnergyMusings of Dr. Jamie C. Hsu

If you observe carefully, you will see that people spend their time and energy differently. As depicted in the chart, there are the “Ordinary People” who often spend time in the Yellow Concern Zone, the “Leaders” who spend their energy in the Red Influence Circle, and the “Gurus” who rise above the fray and stay in the Green Calm Land, unbothered by the chaos around them.

Of course, this is an oversimplification of how we spend our time and energy. We all move from one type to the other — sometimes we worry, sometimes we take charge, and sometimes we just don’t care. The key is to be aware of your mental state and try to manage it so your time and energy will be used most productively and beneficially.

Let me give a simple example: If you are waiting in a long queue of a check-out cashier line in a department store, what would you do? You can worry about how long it will take, complain about people in front of you asking too many questions, or be mad at the store. You are in the Yellow Zone. Or maybe you are oblivious to the long line and just enjoying the conversation with your family, or concentrating on reading texts on your phone. You are in the Green Land of tranquility. Furthermore, you may decide to take charge and ask the store manager to open up more cashier lines to speed up the process. You have assumed a leadership role to increase your influence and to solve a problem. This is the Red Circle of Influence.

You can find many similar situations where you have three choices about how to react. It is essential to first be aware if you are in the Yellow Zone of concern and worry. This type of victim’s mentality will increase your stress and not solve any problem or improve the situation. Move your mental energy into the Green Land or the Red Circle. The Green Land of no concern will allow you to ignore the chaos or unpleasant surroundings and give you peace of mind and tranquility. The Red Circle of taking action will energize you and give you a sense of accomplishment.

Please be aware and careful about how you are spending your energy in your daily routines and encounters.