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How to Be More Productive by Hacking Your Perception of Time

https://dradambell.com/how-to-be-more-productive-by-hacking-your-perception-of-time/

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How to Be More Productive by Hacking Your Perception of Time
The evolution of time management in 5 stages and 3 epiphanies

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Evolution of time management in 5 stages

Evolution of time management in 5 stages
  1. The Clock-Slave: you are either begging for the clock to speed up or slow down.
  2. The Time Tracker: some find it an excellent way of ensuring they stay on track. But when combined with excessive time pressure, it becomes unhealthy.
  3. The Smart Breaker: you use like the Pomodoro technique or the Ultradian rhythms.
  4. The Free Spirit: you opt for a more spontaneous and free life, and avoid keeping a rigid schedule at all costs.
  5. The Enlightened One: you understand that scarcity of time is an illusion. That enemy does not exist.

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The scarcity spiral

When you are time-pressured, you see time as a precious and scarce resource. This triggers a stress response, which can improve motivation in the short term, but often at the expense of morale in the long term. And an unhappy worker is a less productive worker. With lower productivity, there is even more time pressure to get things done.

And on goes the cycle.

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The inner tyrant

When a time constraint is placed on you, it will play on repeat in your head: “Get to work!”. If a task takes longer than expected, thoughts like “What is taking so long?" might appear. And at the end of a chaotic day, you might find yourself thinking “You have done nothing today!”.

But you can overthrow this tyrant.

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The abundance spiral

Without the time pressure, you view time from an hourglass half-full perspective.

This perceived abundance of time improves wellbeing, which in turn increases productivity. When productivity is high, there is less time pressure, and time feels even more abundant.

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Being purposeful with your day

Being purposeful with your day

Time management is about taking control of the time you do have available and using it optimally for productivity while creating balance.

How to plan your day

Much advice about time management is about creating a to-do list, reminding you what you want to do. However, it's more important to use a schedule, which tells you when you're going to do it.

  • Create "bookends" for each day. Consider your morning and evening routines, then "block" in time for your most important tasks. For example, a 2-hour writing-block every morning after breakfast.
  • Set aside time for your most important projects. The object is to be purposeful about what and when you're going to do something.
  • Schedule in breaks. A schedule has to be realistic. That means including time for breaks, food, exercise, social time, and other "non-school" tasks that keep you happy.

Be aware of how you’re spending your time

To build a better time management system, you need to know what you currently spend your time on. You need to know where you're losing time to the wrong things.

To track your time, spend a few days writing a "time log" to track how you spend your day.

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The Planning Fallacy

We all have busy schedules, but we are incorrectly planning our day around the time we have, not around priorities.

Our estimates on how long certain tasks will take are almost always ...

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower

“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important."

The 4 Kinds of Priorities

The Decision Matrix on how to approach tasks has 4 quadrants:

  • Quadrant 1: The Urgent Problems which are important.
  • Quadrant 2: Not Urgent but important tasks
  • Quadrant 3: Urgent but not really important
  • Quadrant  4: Distractions and time-wasting tasks. 

Prioritize the important (Quadrant 2) to attain maximum benefit from your work.

Productivity is a deeply personal thing

We all have different brains and, therefore, different preferences, perspectives, and situations where we feel most effective. In order to find what works, you have to understand your own psychology.

Action has momentum

So developing personal rituals to get your own snowball rolling downhill is far more important than what yerba mate supplements to take, or what yoga mat to sit on in the morning. 

Work as a linear function

We assume that the amount of productive output we create is directly proportional to the number of hours we input. But the truth is that most thoughtful, brain-intensive work does not unfold like this. The only work that is linear is really basic, repetitive stuff.