The focus factor

If any of you are familiar with Agile development, you’ve probably heard of the focus factor (or productivity factor).  It’s used for planning to help determine how many “real hours” you have to work on something.  It’s the difference between “real hours” and “ideal hours.”

While I’m not in a position where I have to calculate hours spent on a task, I was thinking about how the eating disorder would affect my focus factor.  It’s kind of scary (and pathetic) when you really think about how much of your time the eating disorder can consume.  Obsessing about your weight, what you’re going to eat, what you already ate (etc) is really distracting.

I tried to break down the components of my focus factor, and came up with the following pie chart:

Eating disorder-wise, this isn’t really current for me.  I’d say the numbers are accurate for when I’m struggling moderately — not at my best or my worst.  When you add it all up, I’m really only focused on work for 1/3rd of the time I should be working (this isn’t including the rest of the non-work day).

One time when I was struggling, I cut back my work hours to do day treatment.  I fussed about what a disaster it was going to be to not be getting work done.  I was afraid I’d be letting my coworkers done and hurting the overall quality of my team’s work.  As it turned out though, by getting more treatment I drastically reduced the amount of time I spent on all those ED thoughts and ended up being MORE productive.  Go figure.

My therapist still loves to bring it up, in some kind of “remember how you are actually more productive and successful when you make treatment a priority?” comment.  While it’s definitely true, I knew I shouldn’t have admitted it…

2 thoughts on “The focus factor

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by greythinking and sidonio brenes jr, Virginia Franklin. Virginia Franklin said: RT @greythinking: New Grey Thinking blog post: The focus factor […]

  2. This graph is really interesting. I wonder how we would be able to measure this time accurately over the course of 24 hours… and that 5% for “beating myself up for not being productive”? It’s more like 20% for me. But I guess that’s 20% of my time wasted, right? Better to contribute that to working or being productive… but not to perfectionistically productive. (Don’t push yourself to be “productive” every single waking moment.)


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