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How to Be More Productive by Hacking Your Perception of Time

The inner tyrant

When a time constraint is placed on you, it will play on repeat in your head: “Get to work!”. If a task takes longer than expected, thoughts like “What is taking so long?" might appear. And at the end of a chaotic day, you might find yourself thinking “You have done nothing today!”.

But you can overthrow this tyrant.

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How to Be More Productive by Hacking Your Perception of Time

How to Be More Productive by Hacking Your Perception of Time

https://dradambell.com/how-to-be-more-productive-by-hacking-your-perception-of-time/

dradambell.com

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Key Ideas

Evolution of time management in 5 stages

  1. The Clock-Slave: you are either begging for the clock to speed up or slow down.
  2. The Time Tracker: some find it an excellent way of ensuring they stay on track. But when combined with excessive time pressure, it becomes unhealthy.
  3. The Smart Breaker: you use like the Pomodoro technique or the Ultradian rhythms.
  4. The Free Spirit: you opt for a more spontaneous and free life, and avoid keeping a rigid schedule at all costs.
  5. The Enlightened One: you understand that scarcity of time is an illusion. That enemy does not exist.

The scarcity spiral

When you are time-pressured, you see time as a precious and scarce resource. This triggers a stress response, which can improve motivation in the short term, but often at the expense of morale in the long term. And an unhappy worker is a less productive worker. With lower productivity, there is even more time pressure to get things done.

And on goes the cycle.

The inner tyrant

When a time constraint is placed on you, it will play on repeat in your head: “Get to work!”. If a task takes longer than expected, thoughts like “What is taking so long?" might appear. And at the end of a chaotic day, you might find yourself thinking “You have done nothing today!”.

But you can overthrow this tyrant.

The abundance spiral

Without the time pressure, you view time from an hourglass half-full perspective.

This perceived abundance of time improves wellbeing, which in turn increases productivity. When productivity is high, there is less time pressure, and time feels even more abundant.

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Productivity is a deeply personal thing
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So developing personal rituals to get your own snowball rolling downhill is far more important than what yerba mate supplements to take, or what yoga mat to sit on in the morning. 
Work as a linear function

We assume that the amount of productive output we create is directly proportional to the number of hours we input. But the truth is that most thoughtful, brain-intensive work does not unfold like this. The only work that is linear is really basic, repetitive stuff.

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Time management is not a peripheral activity or skill. It is the core skill upon which everything else in life de..."

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Work Around Your Energy Levels

Productivity is directly related to your energy level.

Find your most productive hours — the time of your peak energy — and schedule Deep Work for those periods. Do low-value and low-energy tasks (also known as shallow work), such as responding to emails or unimportant meetings, in between those hours.

Plan Your Day the Night Before

Before going to bed, spend 5 minutes writing your to-do list for the next day. These tasks should help you move towards your professional and personal goals.

You’ll be better prepared mentally for the challenges ahead before waking up and there won’t be any room for procrastination in the morning. As a result, you’ll work faster and smoother than ever before.

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Clean up your workspaces

End the workday by taking a minute to tidy your desk, save everything you’re working on, and close of all your tabs and windows. Make sure your work app notifications are automatically snoozed outs...

Review your "to-done’s"

Boost your mood and motivation by taking the time to review your completed tasks at the end of each day.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to stay motivated and build momentum at work is to celebrate your progress.

The procrastination “doom loop”

Confront the things you’ve been putting off. If you keep putting things off, you'll feel guilty and that makes you want to avoid them even more. You will get stuck in the “doom loop” of anxiety and avoidance.
Break this loop by identifying the tasks that you’ve been avoiding, break them down into smaller tasks and schedule the next step for the following day.

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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. 

The Planning Fallacy

We all have busy schedules, but we are incorrectly planning our day around the time we have, not around priorities.

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The 4 Kinds of Priorities

The Decision Matrix on how to approach tasks has 4 quadrants:

  • Quadrant 1: The Urgent Problems which are important.
  • Quadrant 2: Not Urgent but important tasks
  • Quadrant 3: Urgent but not really important
  • Quadrant  4: Distractions and time-wasting tasks. 

Prioritize the important (Quadrant 2) to attain maximum benefit from your work.

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Uncritical Productivity

Pursuing productivity for its own sake is counter-productive. 

Most people feel able to complete more tasks when they start using time-management tools, but they don’t bear in mind that they can’t keep increasing their productivity forever, and they commit to more and more. In a few weeks, they are more productive but still frustrated. 

Balancing act

Back when more people worked in factories, laborers did not have to deal with time management. At the assembly line, time was managed for you.

Freedom comes with responsibility: you have to think a lot more about how you manage your time.

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Setting your own deadlines

Create artificial deadlines for yourself. Understand that you can save yourself a load of stress by acting as if something is due earlier than it actually is.

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Leveraging help

If you are worried others will view you as inept if you ask for help, you most likely will procrastinate, and even more pressure will build up, as the deadline rapidly approaches. 

You can reduce this by leaving your ego at the door and simply asking others for help. Another way to get help from others is to ask for an extension - it can make a world of difference in the way you feel. But don't abuse this. 

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Show appreciation

Creating motivation and making your team feel appreciated is a critical part of long-term productivity.

Encourage your team to keep gratitude journals - writing down a couple of sentences about what you are currently grateful for a couple of times a week. This practice improves productivity by increasing happiness.

Create some privacy

If people can't focus on their work, they are less effective in areas like collaboration and learning, and they are less likely to be satisfied with their jobs.

Workplaces with a balance between individual focus and collaboration are more innovative, creative and encouraging.

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Get The Most Out Of Your Time

It starts with knowing what your time is worth. For instance:

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Monetary Value of Time

We all have some idea of how much our time is worth. On extreme ends, it is easy to know if a task is worth your time. For instance, if someone offers you $0.07 per hour and another $7,000 per hour, you would have no problem to decide.
However, in the middle of the time-value spectrum, it is less clear if a particular task is worth your time. While everyone has an hourly value, few people know the exact amount.

The Real Worth Of Your Time

Use the Realized Income Methods to calculate the value of your time. It is based on the income you received and will help you make better decisions on how to spend money day-by-day. You need two numbers for your calculations.

  1. How much time you spend to earn money.
  2. How much you earn during that time.

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Doing Everything

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Always On Work

The ‘Always-On-Work’ culture makes the people's identity tied to their job and there is an unspoken belief that every minute of one’s lives must be commodified and turned into profit or self-improvement. 

Most youngsters carry this impulse to optimize every minute of their lives. There is a tendency to keep ‘doing’ stuff, instead of just ‘being’.

We All Are In A Spot

One has to realize that all kinds of people, upper-middle-class, middle or working class, have their job and livelihood at stake right now.

It is best to be compassionate and grateful and not let the feelings of fear, panic or stress creep into the mind. Keep yourself cheered up with small pleasures and endure this ‘At Home’ time.