To better track your productivity, focus on your bandwidth

A newly promoted client of mine was struggling with managing time and tasks. She felt like she could never get on top of her task list. She had missed several important deadlines that weren’t client-critical but caused issues for the rest of her team. She felt dejected and was concerned that she wouldn’t be able to get her arms around the new job. Upon looking deeper, though, we discovered that it wasn’t really about time management; it was her bandwidth.

If you think you have enough hours in the day to tackle everything on your to-do list, but you seem to consistently run out of the energy to do it all before the day is over, you may have a bandwidth issue. Think of bandwidth as your energy or mental capacity to handle something. Time management is how you allocate that energy to accomplish the myriad things you need to accomplish.

It’s not only how much you have on your plate, but also how much energy each of those tasks requires. This is what ultimately determines how much you can get done in a particular period. When your mental energy—or your bandwidth—is drained, it doesn’t matter if you have hours available because you won’t be very productive.


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