70% capacity

Published on
May 25, 2015
Chris Taylor
"Ideas are only valuable when applied."
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Last week I wrote about the risk of being totally tapped out (timewise), and a couple strategies I’ve visited lately around getting back into a place of balance between efficiency and creativity. The point about striving for “70% capacity” seemed to resonate.

The interesting part about being 70% booked is in the actual breakdown of that. Lets assume that I have 3 priorities this month, and that I work 200 hours this month. Those priorities, in my experience, typically require 1-2 days of dedicated work. In other words, if I had everything I needed at my fingertips, I could complete each priority in an average of 12 hours per. (Still with me?)

Of course, I don’t have everything I need at my fingertips (team members need to weigh in on things, I’ll have to wait while others complete their components. So it’s not practical to try to block 2 straight days to work on a single task. (It’s also challenging to block 2 days x 3 projects each month as well, of course). But the math works.

3 priorities x 12 hours (average) each = 36 hours. 36 hours / 200 hours = 18% of my time. Let’s get crazy and bump that to 30%. Ample time allocation to the priority projects… and still only at 30% capacity. That still gives us a lot of buffer to take on the additional “it’s in the job description” tasks that are expected of us, and leave some gaps in the calendar for creative flexibility, as well.

Bottom line? My ideal split is:

  • 30% for priority projects
  • 40% for work that needs to get done
  • 30% for open creativity and spontaneous work (or life) projects.

Hit that and I believe you’ll be humming. But I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks to Seth for putting this concept in my head with his post from last year.