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How To Be More Productive by Working Less

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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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How To Be More Productive by Working Less

How To Be More Productive by Working Less

https://markmanson.net/how-to-be-more-productive

markmanson.net

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Key Ideas

Productivity is a deeply personal thing

We all have different brains and, therefore, different preferences, perspectives, and situations where we feel most effective. In order to find what works, you have to understand your own psychology.

Action has momentum

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. 

"The 'work as a linear function' is where all the religion of 'Bro, you’ve just gotta hustle' comes from."

"The 'work as a linear function' is where all the religion of 'Bro, you’ve just gotta hustle' comes from."

Your brain tires out

If you’re exercising your brain by doing any sort of problem-solving, or important decision-making, then you’re limited in how much you can effectively accomplish in a day.

Finding the leverage point

Accomplishing some aspects of your job well can make everything else that much easier or that much harder. Every job has a leverage point that makes everything else you do more effective.

Importance of free time

Leisure time makes your brain far more effective upon returning to work. Weekends and vacations really do exist for a reason. 

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Feeling like you’re doing busywork is often the result of saying yes too often.  We have to let go of this idea of doing everything and pleasing everyone and being everywhere at once.

Properly manage your yeses.  So stop saying “yes” when you want to say “no.” Sometimes you have to set clear boundaries.

3 Core things

Focus on no more than three core things every day. 

Wake up every morning and figure out what the most important two or three things are for the day, and cut out the rest. Give each some allotted time instead of switching tasks.

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Taking breaks is key to better productivity
Taking breaks is key to better productivity

The harder and longer you work, the less productive overall you'll be. Research confirms that taking breaks before you're mentally exhausted is essential for productivity.

Setting healthy boundaries

Set your personal boundaries, so you have dedicated time to take care of yourself, your family or household, and your professional responsibilities. You won't be any good to your family if you regularly jump up to respond to work.

The key to success is deciding on expectations, then communicating those to others. You need to get clear in your mind what hours you will be attending to your work. Perhaps dedicate a space in your home as the "office," letting everyone know that you need privacy. Decide when you are "on" and when you are "off."

Technology and productivity

We all have tools in our pockets to help us.

  • For example, consider using your phone's built-in alarm for taking breaks, or giving yourself a reminder to eat lunch, or taking a screen break to reduce eyestrain.
  • If you find it challenging to work, consider a productivity method like the Pomodoro technique, where you work deeply for about 25 minutes, then take a short break. Repeat four of the cycles, then take a 30-minute break before starting again. There are many Pomodoro apps to help you.
  • Don't forget to use the same technology to turn off notifications and distractions while you're working.

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