Jevons Paradox in Time Management

By Friday, December 23, 2011 0 Permalink

Inspired by the recent Time Management infograph in DOR Magazine (the infograph was made by but for some reason can’t be found on their website, so I’m afraid you’re going to have to buy the magazine :D) I set out to research a bit on Jevons’ Paradox.

Jevons’ Paradox :

- The more efficiently a resource is used, the more the demand for it will increase.

- Accept this: the more productive you will be and the better you use your time, the more your time will be needed.

(for the full infograph: “Tac-Tic”, page 14 DOR magazine, #7. )

Jevons Paradox is actually more than 150 years old. During the time of the Industrial Revolution, this guy called William Stanley Jevons discovered that actually the efficiency of coal as the new fuel energy resource made coal consumption rise even faster.

In short, the fact that coal was more efficient as a source of energy made the demand for coal rise even faster.

Let’s make a parallel with your time.

If you’re more efficient/productive with your time, naturally you’re the kind of person that:

- estimates quite well how long a task will take

- prioritizes often and well

- knows how to book time in the calendar for her tasks

…and tends to overwhelm her calendar because she knows she still has 10 minutes to call mother, check email, get dressed and do her hair.

Ironically enough, the more efficient you are, the more crowded your calendar can get.


What do you think about this paradox?

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