Alright, world. New year, new language.
I usually have a variety of projects I want to get done, from cleaning the house to writing involved games or programs. It is often frustrating when I don't seem to be able to make as much progress as I'd like.
Usually, when talking about this, I, and others I know, will refer to not having enough time. This often bugs me largely because I know that it's wrong. I have plenty of time, I just can't work up the energy to direct it towards something useful, or I'm not staying focused long enough to put other things aside and really make progress. It also leads to working on the wrong things. If I keep repeating to myself that I don't have enough time, I'll look for ways to free up more time. But that means canceling other plans and often finding that I really do have sufficient time, it's something else that is missing. That makes using "time" in this way harmfully inaccurate.
Thus, in the interest of accuracy, and also in being more mindful of what's going on, I introduce "TEF."
TEF is an acronym standing for "Time, Energy, and Focus," which I think are usually the three elements I need to make progress on anything:
- Time refers to unallocated time (or at least not over-allocated). For me, at least, it is actually usually reasonably plentiful, except when I go several days in a row with activities going on all evening.
- Energy is that abstract "mental energy" that is needed to get over the inertia of getting started, and to sustain you while working. Some days I have a full evening, and even am focused on what I'd like to be doing, but just can't work up the motivation to get started. That's Energy.
- Focus is the ability to devote the amount of thought that's necessary. It's very fluid for a given task. I can walk around the house, cleaning by picking up something here and there, with very little focus, so that's not a big part of the TEF requirement for cleaning. On the other hand, writing a program requires pretty high Focus, and usually but not always Energy. There are connections (I tend to lose Focus when I'm suitably tired, which would indicate low Energy), but they're independent enough that it's worth separating out.
So, this allows me to say, at least to myself, "I'd work on [task], but I don't have enough TEF," or I can say "I'll write that when I next have the TEF."
I have no idea whether this will actually be usable outside my own head, but it's an interesting topic for me to think about, at least. And if it does get used, then I'm sure the precise usage will vary over time like all language. I don't think TEF can or should become a verb, though.
who was there when I talked this out.)