Sitting Idle - Deepstash

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How busyness leads to bad decisions

Sitting Idle

People love being busy and cannot sit idle. A study found people preferred giving themselves electric shocks rather than sitting idly all day.

Smoking, for example, is habit-forming due to the same reason, having something to do, instead of being idle.

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Busyness is a myth

Although people feel much busier with work these days, the total time people are working – whether paid or otherwise – has not increased in Europe or North America in recent decades.

The illusion of busyness is caused by:
  • Economies grow and time is more valuable: Any given hour is worth more, so we experience more pressure to squeeze in more work.
  • The type of work we do has changed: We live in an “infinite world" - more incoming emails, meetings, things to read, more ideas to follow up – and digital technology means you can easily crank through them. The result, inevitably, is feeling overwhelmed.
Busyness has become the indicator of status

Though historically, the ultimate symbol of wealth, achievement and social superiority was the freedom not to work. Now we measure our worth not by the results we achieve, but by how much of our time we spend doing things. 

Busy with meaningless stuff

We can all feel very busy, but despite all this bustle, we often don’t feel particularly productive from day to day and often let the "big stuff" go unattended.

If we want to take back contro...

What you're currently doing

The act of becoming aware of where your attention is focused helps you to direct your attention where you want it to be - on creating something significant.

Setting time aside

To learn to control your attention, set aside at least one time period per day to focus without interruption. Let it be no more than 90 minutes at a time. Do something important but not urgent.

Ask yourself: Are you scheduling time daily to focus without interruption?

To-Do Lists

Your to-do list can be a tool that guides you through your work, or it can be a big fat pillar of undone time bombs taunting you and your unproductive inadequacy.

If the instructions are c...

The two modes
At any point during the workday, you are in one of these modes:
  • When a project or task comes up, the steps you need to take start to form in your mind. Now you're in thinking/Boss mode. 
  • Your to-do list is a collection of those orders, which your Assistant personality will later pick up and do.
Write down the instructions in such a way that your Assistant self can just do them without having to think - or stress. 
Put Items That You're Definitely Doing

Instead of letting tasks you're not quite committed to loiter on your to-do list until you're sick of looking at them, move them off to a separate list, a holding area for Someday/Maybe items. 

Only concrete actions you're committed to completing should live on your to-do list.