Your time, energy and attention are precious! The Resource Tank sketch can help you and your team take stock of where they’re going, and how you can get some time, energy and resources back.
I’m sure you know the feeling. That feeling of being absolutely overwhelmed. You’ve got so many things going on in your head, and then one extra simple thing comes along, and you’re just flummoxed. Stressed. Jammed.
Welcome to cognitive overload.
Not fun, is it? But hey, aren’t you glad there’s a sketch you can try, to visualise all those things, and then work out how to make sense of it all? I know, right?
The Resource Tank sketch
I’d like to introduce you to my friend the Resource Tank sketch, and it basically looks like this:
You draw a tank, with a wavy line to show that it’s full of liquid, and then some straws coming out of it, going to various things that are drawing on that resource. The resource itself can be different things, like fuel, or time, or attention, or patience, or money.
When we run into a problem, or have to make a decision, it draws from our ‘cognitive fuel tank’. A few things or a few decisions are okay, but when there are more and more, it can drain us dry. Visualising it on paper (or on a whiteboard) like this is a great way to bring all those unseen things out of the fog of your mind and into the light, and then think about what we can do about them. But wait, there’s more:
By putting levels in your ‘tank’, and straws that go to different depths, you can also explore how different things can drain more of the resource, whether we want them to or not. This is a really neat visual metaphor that you can adapt and use in a variety of ways, e.g.:
- My ‘attention map’ – what are the things that matter the most to you? There should always be ‘fuel’ for those things, which is why they get the deepest straw. There are things that matter a lot less, so we should only let them have a shallow straw.
- Budget and expenses comparison – what would it look like if you compared what your budget expenditure should be, to what it actually is? Are there types of expenses that are crowding out other types, draining resources away from the things that matter?
- Team resources and expenditure comparison – What would the fuel tank look like if it were your team? Say you manage a support team; are you leaving enough fuel in the tank for your premium clients? Or is energy being sapped by lots of seemingly urgent and important tasks?
These are just a few examples of how you can use the Resource Tank sketch, and I’m sure that if you applied it to your own situation, you could probably think of (and sketch!) some more. Whatever happens, we all want to move away from this situation (below)!
So have a go, and have a think about how deep all of those straws are sinking into your valuable energy and attention, and then have a think about what changes you could make to set those straws at more – ahem – fuel efficient levels!