Limiting Factors: Biology Enters Time Management

What? Biology and time management? Limiting factors? Okay, take it easy. First, let's read this Wikipedia entry:
A limiting factor or limiting resource is a factor that controls a process, such as organism growth or species population, size, or distribution. The availability of food, predation pressure, or availability of shelter are examples of factors that could be limiting for an organism. An example of a limiting factor is sunlight in the rainforest, where growth is limited to all plants in the understory unless more light becomes available.
Yes, I know. You are wondering what this has to do with time management, or maybe what the heck is that for that matter. In biology, a limiting factor is something that keeps some species from growing without stop. As a simple example, the mould growing over your piece of stale cheese has a limiting factor of water, at first (it starts growing where moistness is at its highest) and if you let it run all over the cheese, will have food supply as a limiting factor.

Ok, now we have an idea of what a limiting factor is. And it has something to do with limiting growth. Again, what does this have to do with time management? Keep on reading!

For this example, I am assuming you are either working from home or with a flexible enough schedule to work whatever hours you want in every project. This may also apply to cubicle dwellers who are also used to doing whatever they want, but lets keep assuming flexible schedule.

Now, assume you have something you love more than working, for example, writing your novel. You would do that all day long (more on that in a next article about finding your passion), but your work needs to be done or you won't get paid. What could you do?

This is where limiting factors enter the play. Pair these two tasks: you won't write your book if you do not work. Add a factor: for every working hour, half an hour of writing. Apply it. How? Now comes an example.

Example: Let's say you get up at 6 and write in your novel from 6 to 7:30. That is 1.5 hours, thus now you need to work today 3 hours. This example looks like there is no limitation, but the idea comes in reverse: if today you work 6 hours, you have put a limit of writing at 3 hours.

How can this help your overall productivity?

Of course, the first step is commitment. You have to follow through with your set limits and times. If you don't, this will not help your productivity, it will just give you some warm sense of well-being while wasting your hours.

Once you are committed, you will be playing with balance. You will be balancing how much time you can spend in good leisure (writing your novel) and good work (your work time). As much as you spend in one will limit how much you have to spend (or still have to devote) in the other.

When these two tasks are balanced throughout your week, you can expand the system to all your tasks. Pair home management with TV viewing, for example, or going to the gym with reading. Of course, in the best case you can pair two tasks you love and which are also good for you: this is a win-win scenario in which you can work endlessly.

Have you tried this technique? Are you willing to try it? Share your thoughts below in the comments section! Also, please feel free to contact me through twitter if you have any question!

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Written by Ruben Berenguel