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How To Be Efficient: Dan Ariely's 6 New Secrets To Managing Your Time

Write everything down

We all know how fallible our brains can be yet we routinely trust ourselves to remember and follow through on things.

If it’s important, write it down. Reminders, post-its, and calendars are all good tools.

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How To Be Efficient: Dan Ariely's 6 New Secrets To Managing Your Time

How To Be Efficient: Dan Ariely's 6 New Secrets To Managing Your Time

https://www.bakadesuyo.com/2014/10/how-to-be-efficient/

bakadesuyo.com

6

Key Ideas

Not having a plan

We are spending more of our time in environments that have their own agendas. Most of the entities in our lives really want us to make mistakes in their favor.

Not having a plan, goals or a system in today’s world is dangerous because the default isn’t neutral.

Control your environment

... or it will control you. We can’t control our environment everywhere we go, but we have more control than we usually choose to exercise.

If you banish distractions and control your calendar you can make sure your environment is ripe for productivity.

Write everything down

We all know how fallible our brains can be yet we routinely trust ourselves to remember and follow through on things.

If it’s important, write it down. Reminders, post-its, and calendars are all good tools.

Peak productivity

You have a window of 2-2.5 hours of peak productivity per day, usually starting a couple of hours after waking.

Those are the hours when you should be working on your most cognitively demanding tasks. The big projects. The stuff that really moves the needle.

The biggest time wasters

  • Meetings: Schedule your work time on your calendar.
  • Email: Most people simply spend too much time in their inboxes to accomplish anything of substance.
  • Multitasking

    It lowers productivity.

  • “Structured Procrastination”: Doing little things that give us the feeling of progress instead of deep work that really makes progress.

Email breaks

You don't need an email break. It won't refresh you.

Getting your head into and out of your work takes time. Switching tasks has cognitive costs that reduce efficiency.

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By scheduling every minute of your day you not only guard against distraction but also multiply your focus.

Also, focusing on one task at a time can make you up to 80% more productive than splitting your attention across multiple tasks.

Cons of the time blocking practice
  • It takes a lot of time and effort.
  • Few of us (if any) have the same schedule every day.
  • We’re bad at estimating how long tasks will take to do.
  • Constant interruptions and “urgent” tasks can destroy your system.
  • Flexibility is key in most workplaces.
  • You can lose sight of the bigger picture if you focus just on each day.

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Stop Reacting

Don’t check your email or anything else that is going to dictate your behavior.

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The Things That Matter Most

Most of us get 80% of results from 20% of the work we do. So focus on that 20%.

Don’t be vague. Specify what you need to get done - research shows that having concrete goals is correlated with huge increases in confidence and feelings of control.

Use Your “Magic Hours” Wisely

You have 2-2.5 hours of peak productivity every day. You may actually be 30% more effective at that time. For most of us, this happens in the morning.

Those are the hours when you should be working on your main goals. Why would you want to waste that on a conference call or a staff meeting?

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These models represent collections of individual people described by computer algorithms that capture a specific set of traits, such as a tendency to cooperate or not.

  • You can give them new personalities to see how they would behave.
  • You can observe social processes in action.
  • You can observe time scales, from seconds to generations.
  • You can watch the spread of certain behaviors throughout a population and you can see how certain behaviors influence other behaviors.

The patterns that emerge can tell you things about large-scale social interaction that lab experiments and real people never could.

The human instinct to cooperate

There seems to be evolutionary logic to the human ability to cooperate but adjust if necessary. To trust, but verify. 

We generally collaborate with other people because it benefits us. Our rational minds let us work out when we might occasionally gain by acting selfishly instead.

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