According to the Webster Dictionary, devotion is defined as:
1) Passionate, often selfless affection and dedication, as to a person or principle.
2) An act of religious observance or prayer, especially while in private.
Personally, I view devotion as the intersection of my intention and energy utilization throughout the day. Where are my thoughts pointed? How do my feelings drive my actions? How does my TODO list impact my ability to be interruptible?
A little while back I was given great words of advice from my dear friend and therapist, Suzy. She shared a mental exercise to help me become more aware of how I devote my energy each day and today I’d like to share it with you.
The Energy Unit Metaphor
Imagine you have 100 units of energy to spend in any given day.
Let’s say you wake up late — (boom 15 units off your day).
You find yourself running behind, skipping breakfast, and feeding your mind with fear based thoughts rather than oatmeal and a green smoothie (minus 10 units).
You hop into your car and race off to work (minus 10 units). While stopped at a red light, you check your email (I know YOU wouldn’t do this) and discover a nasty email from your boss (minus 20 units).
As you continue your commute you find yourself at a standstill on the highway (minus 20 units).
You decided to check Facebook “real quick” and reveal that your ex-girlfriend is “now in a relationship” with you old best friend (minus 30 units).
Before you’ve even arrived to the office, your already out of energy units! What happens next, seems to be the new norm.
You become “so busy” as your scurry throughout the remainder of the day. This results in a lack of margin to allow for the unexpected things that always seem to pop up (i.e. your child is sick at school, your friend needs a favor, etc.). Being low on energy units can zap your ability to be useful when responding to these spontaneous pokes for your attention. Richard Swenson, author of Margin has this to say:
Being useful to God and other people is a large part of what life is meant to be. And yet “usefulness is nine-tenths availability”. When others need help, they don’t need it two days from now. “We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.
Regardless of your religious affiliation, answer this question:
Are you interruptible?
How are you spending your interruptions?
I don’t know about you, but I’m most interrupted by the Internet, especially Facebook.
FACEBOOK TIME ALLOCATION
According to Neilson Research, the average Facebook user spends 8 hours a month (or 15 minutes a day) connected to Facebook. This number doubled from 2010. If the amount of time continues to grow, Facebook could consume 96 hours a month of one’s time and energy! Talk about devotion! This can really jeopardize your time alone and your ability to allocate time where you need to most.
“FACEBOOK IS LIKE A FRIDGE. YOU KNOW THERE’S NOTHING NEW INSIDE BUT YOU CHECK IT EVERY TEN MINUTES.”
Ignoring the extreme time projections above, let’s just look at the average user spending 15 mins a day. What else could you do with an extra 15 mins each day? Here are ten suggestions:
Let’s face it, these items yield more joy in life than a time spent allocated to Facebook.
WHAT ARE YOU DEVOTED TO?
Before you find yourself saying “I’m not devoted to Facebook”, ask yourself if you can relate to any of these other digital devotions:
Video Game Benders
Taking the Perfect Selfie
Chronic Pornography Use
Compulsive Phone Checking
Capturing every ‘moment’ through Instagram
The point is, our time is precious.
Where we devote our time often produces the sweetest fruits of our crop.
Bringing it back to the mental exercise on energy units, if you find yourself spending more units that you have, you’ll end up over drafting. This haphazard spending can put you in emotional, physical, and spiritual debt. Leaving you no time to devote toward rest and relaxation.
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Mark is on a mission to help professionals, teams, and leaders connect with themselves, each other, and their collective purpose by restoring energy to organizations battling modern life’s non-stop pace and growing sense of disconnection.