The urgency bias

We usually give priority to unimportant tasks when there is a sense of urgency around them.

We’re actually psychologically wired to put aside important tasks in favor of tasks that feel more urgent. But spending our time taking care of urgent tasks can leave us feeling exhausted and unaccomplished.

@kal_iuu20

Time Management

A few explanations as to why it’s so hard to reject urgent tasks:

  • The completion bias. Our brains crave the reward we get from checking off small to-dos from our list.
  • Tunnel vision: When we get overwhelmed by the things we have to do, we choose to act on those most available to us; these are usually emails, calls, meetings, and other low-friction tasks.

The problem is that we’re continually bombarded with urgent work: emails, meetings, calls, and instead of being in control of our time and attention, we respond and act on someone else’s priorities.

  • Deep attention means putting our focus on one task for a long period of time and putting aside other external interruptions.
  • Hyper attention is turning our focus swiftly between different tasks, opting for diverse information streams, and looking for a constant high-level of stimulation.
  • Break your big projects down into simple manageable steps and then set a short deadline for each.
  • Switch from “task urgency” to “time urgency” , to choose what really deserves your attention.
  • Don’t let urgent tasks control the first hour of your day. Set aside blocks of time for emails and meetings so they don’t sneak into your focused time.

Instead of allowing them to take over your time, make a plan for how you’ll deal with them.

Begin by defining the tasks that demand 100% of your focus and the ones that can be dealt with while being interrupted. You want to give your most focused hours to your most important tasks.

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'Eat the Frog' is an excellent productivity method for putting your highlight into action early.

It is often the task we most want to avoid (therefore, eating the frog). It could be a task that feels too big or makes us uncomfortable. During your planning session, put your "frog" at the top of your to-do list and assign a time. Then add your other tasks below.

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IDEAS

  1. Having separate work and home profile on laptop can work wonders. Preferably logout and login and switch modes.
  2. No trespassing of data. No personal logins on work and vice versa.

How to identify high yield tasks. Make lists. Top 3 are the high yield tasks. Preferably make them at night before sleeping. Don’t remember it. Just jot it down. Keep your brain cells free.

Delegate better. Enable people to take decision on their own.

Resist the urge to do it yourself. Lot of us see things in immediate landscape. “If I explain this will take me an hour, If I do this may be 15 min”. This kind of situation will lead you to experience “ Déjà vu ”. Thinking long-term helps a lot here. 1 hour today save future x iterations. Saving is not only those interactions but longer uninterrupted focus time plus teaching is the best form of understanding.

  • Identify your hardest, most important task for the day.
  • Do your most important task first thing in the morning. Don't put it off for later.

This productivity system is known as Eat the Frog. Using this method will enable you to prioritize the important every day and build momentum for the hours ahead.

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