What's More Productive: Counting Hours or Tasks Accomplished?
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If you make work a scarcer quantity, you’re more likely to use time wisely and get things done than if it feels like an endless to-do list.
And you cand do this by restricting your hours or restricting your workload.
The biggest advantage of constraining time is that it’s always unambiguous. If you decide to work for three hours and then stop, there’s no confusion there.
Disadvantage: time constraints can encourage a sloppier attitude towards work. For example, you might decide to spend all day studying in the library—but without tasks to constrain your productivity, you end up checking your phone.
The advantage of constraining tasks is that it focuses directly on the object of productivity: whatever you’re trying to accomplish: you can't fool yourself into believing you’re working hard but you’re not actually accomplishing much.
Disadvantage: tasks can often be ambiguous or hard to predict. If you fail to predict properly you might create to-do lists that are unachievable or those that are trivial.
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To-dos arrive from a variety of sources. Your boss sends you an email, you get a Slack message from IT, a bill arrives in the mail, or a coworker asks for a favor in the hallway.
In order to prioritize your task list efficiently, you need a master to-do list that contains all of the tasks you need to prioritize and complete from all of those sources.
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If the effort to keep remembering a task is more than just getting it out of the way now, then do it.
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Many people use to-do lists without considering the amount of time it takes to complete a task.
Practice "timeboxing" your schedule: assigning a maximum amount of time for an activity. It can help give context and limits to ambiguous tasks.
A simple way to accomplish this is to manage the notification settings on your smartphone.
Try turning off personal email notifications. Unless social media is part of your job, consider turning off notifications from apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter during work hours. Designate a specific time during your day to check personal communications.
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