All energy tends to spread, to become dispersed, if not hindered from doing so.
In physics, the scientific measure of physical energy flow from being concentrated to being spread out is known as “Entropy.” We can use it as an analogy in business and life.
In fact, our lives are based on energy dispersal.
Since energy always flows from being concentrated to less concentrated, we face a constant battle to do concentrated-energy tasks, tasks that require intense focus.
So what can we do to combat energy spreading to non-important activities?
Well, the first thing to understand is that energy dispersal doesn't happen by itself. A small push is required to start a reaction.
Therefore, the easiest thing to do to limit energy dispersal from important tasks to un-important tasks is to take away those things that could cause a reaction.
As an example, if you want to focus on a particular area of work, or a particular line of business, or a particular subject matter, utilise a filter to flush out the unimportant. If someone presents you with a work opportunity and it doesn’t pass your filter, leave it, no matter how interesting it is.
Or if you are working on a project and need to focus your energy, schedule in areas of time for this activity only. During this time, take away any thing that may lead to energy dispersal, to your attention being led astray and therefore your project suffering. That means turning off email, being away from TV, turning off your phone, et cetera.
So by applying a filter and changing your environment, reducing those things that can cause your energy to disperse into less concentrated areas, you will already better perform on the task that you wish to focus on.
Energy dispersal can be delayed, however it is inevitable.
What does this mean for you?
Well, for example, it takes oxygen and moisture (small push required to start a reaction) for iron to rust. We all know what a rusty gate looks like! However, you can paint over iron to keep oxygen away, so that a reaction can’t happen.
So, by using filters and changing your environment, you can focus on concentrated tasks and limit dispersal. Being well fed (therefore having energy stores) will pro-long this. But eventually you will need to break. You will need to take some time out, eat some food, do some less concentrated activity, and gather energy stores to do it all over again.
This is effectively an energy barbell: Intense concentration & down time / relaxation.
Don’t take the analogy of energy dispersal or entropy too seriously. It explains every spontaneous physical or chemical event in our lives, including chemicals in our body converted within us from food we eat and oxygen we breathe keeping our hearts beating.
We can argue that the act of concentrating on one topic can be analogous to energy dispersal, in the form of utilising food for energy to create output and heat.
The point is, energy tends to flow from concentrated to less concentrated areas. So, to do an important task well, we need to limit the flow of energy to less concentrated areas. We can do this by applying filters, taking away tempting distractions, and scheduling time for breaks and replenishment.
Without a system for containing energy, it will spread everywhere. It will spread into useless projects, it will spread into procrastination, into multiple tasks that produce zero outcomes.
You have finite energy resources, spend them wisely.