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Single-Tasking

We all have heard of multi-tasking, but new research shows focused hours are 500 percent more productive. Focusing on a single task and completing it is a time-asset superpower (it builds more time into your day).

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Time Debt

The choices we make to ‘borrow’ our personal time to get work done works against us in the long run, just like the money borrowed from a credit card has to be paid back with interest in the future. This means more work or expenditure of resources in the future to get things back on track.

**Time debt has to be paid back, and the interest paid is focus and attention, which has been robbed from us with the time we have loaned out to other tasks.

You need to find out just where your time is going currently. You can use a pen and paper, a spreadsheet, or an app to visualize where you spend most of the hours in your day.

  • Block your time for specific types of work, not individual tasks.
  • Block your time for core work like coding, designing or writing, for shallow work like daily tasks and maintenance, for meetings and emails, and fill it with frequent breaks to replenish yourself.
  • Give yourself space between blocks so that you can decompress and keep your energy levels high.

It states that we are overly optimistic about what we can hypothetically get done in a given day. So we overschedule and create further time debt.

Start filling your schedule with the really important tasks, and take care not to put all the time-debt activities back in. Sometimes the seemingly urgent work isn’t important, but we do it, because it is in front of us.

Stop doing everything except mission-critical tasks that cannot be avoided at any cost. If you have ten tasks in your priority list, only do the top few, and see if anything is broken.

Your ability to use your time depends on you being healthy, stress-free and happy. If you aren’t at your best, your entire life ecosystem will fall like a house of cards.

You need to rest, recharge, recover, and also pursue a work-life balance.

Incomplete and pending tasks take up space inside our minds.

This may include our unfulfilled desires and dreams, conversations that we haven’t had, projects that need to be wrapped up. We can help ourselves with this by writing down the draining and incomplete tasks, crossing off things you cannot control and creating an action plan for the doable stuff.

We need to be open and transparent to our peers and bosses, and refuse certain tasks that seem to take us away from our core priorities and seem obligatory or repetitive.

We can also defer them or try to postpone them, examining the true urgency or importance of the request.

Certain habits are time-multipliers. They are simple tools, hacks and work-flows that optimize your work environment and get more things done in less time.
This includes prioritizing your to do list geographically, clubbing of errands and routines, and ensuring your main task is done with full focus, achieving a state of ‘flow’.

Delegating tasks is a hidden hack that, if used can free you up with loads of free time. Studies show that many knowledge workers spend 41 percent of their time on tasks that can be easily delegated to others.

The 30X rule says that even if the time taken for you to train someone and delegate the task is increased by 30 times, it still eventually gives you a 733 percent increase in free time.

  • Sending and replying to email feels like work, but in reality, it is pseudo-work. Do not be available on email and chat all the time, setting aside time-blocks in a day.
  • To get into the ‘flow’ mode, you have to prioritize focus, blocking all outside distractions, by silencing your phone, and disabling those annoying notifications from apps that were never meant to send you any in the first place.

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Conquering Every Day with Time Logs

A time log is a producitivity-inducing tool that helps us keep track of the things we dedicate our time with. It provides a comprehensive overview of how our time is being spent.

Since the goal of the time log is to boost our productivity and efficiency, it does that by showing us how much time we really waste by not keeping track of time.

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  • Marketers capitalize on the emotional component of any purchase while working hard towards ensuring consumers make ‘impulse’ purchases both online and offline.
  • Many people purchase due to their need for emotional fulfilment, indulging in shopping therapy and incurring credit card debt.
  • This leads to random, unused stuff lying in the house, which is not really needed.
Caring for your Future Self

Acting upon the reality of who you are now versus who you want to become is an important part of caring for your future self.

Consider these questions: Is who you are now the type of person you are happy with? Are you content with yourself and the environment that you're in? If not, then it's time to act upon who you want to be and make it into a reality.

Our brains aren't designed to see the future but we worry about what might happen to us in the future. Your present is what determines your future.