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Productivity Isn't About Time Management. It's About Attention Management.

Time Management Is Not A Solution

Time Management Is Not A Solution

Most people want more done during the course of the day, feeling productive if they have checked more boxes out of their to-do list. Time management has been a fad for a long time, equating productivity with the number of hours spent working.

The way we approach time management is proving to be a vicious circle of wasting time managing time, turning it into a problem rather than a solution towards productivity.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Productivity Isn't About Time Management. It's About Attention Management.

Productivity Isn't About Time Management. It's About Attention Management.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/28/smarter-living/productivity-isnt-about-time-management-its-about-attention-management.html

nytimes.com

5

Key Ideas

Attention Management

Shifting our focus towards people and projects, rather than the time it takes for us to work on something is referred to as Attention Management.

Productivity is not a virtue, but just a means to an end, and it means nothing if the end is not worthy. Paying attention to your intrinsic motivation, on why you are excited about the project will make you push yourself naturally and achieve the goal.

Lack Of Distractions Promotes Productivity

Many studies show that bad weather days when it is too cold or rainy, keeps the working people glued to their work, being more productive as they are less distracted by the thought of going outside.

Contrasting Effects: Attention Residue

Contrasting effects, which compare your mundane task to the more enticing and juicy alternatives, make the task even more escuricating and dull. This Attention Residue happens because our mind keeps wandering to a more interesting task, making the timing of the various tasks at hand something to consider.

Example: Eating a sweet dessert makes your sour vegetable taste even more yuckier.

Maker And Manager Days

Based on the kind of work and energy levels, one can plan the days or weeks into different kinds of work zones, where there are clear demarcations on the kind of work you plan to do.

  • Maker Days: Days or times of the day where we enter the flow mode of creativity with no distractions.
  • Manager Days: when we answer emails, make calls and hold our meetings.

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There isn’t enough time
Complaining that you don’t have enough time is not getting to the root problem. It may be that you’re lousy at time management. Admit to yourself that there is enough time -- you just don’t know how t...
A one size fits all solution

Instead of relying on a tool with all the bells and whistles, find out where you’re struggling and what’s essential for you. 

For example, if scheduling is taking you away from product development, then you could use a scheduling tool that uses machine learning to automate most of your scheduling needs. If you’re wasting too much time on email, then consider using a tool to help tame your inbox.

Less anxiety

Time management is only useful when you’re aware of your limitations and don't let the system dictate your entire life. 

In other words, when you don’t tread lightly (especially at first), time management can add more stress to your life.

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Switching between tasks

Most of us spend our days jumping between tasks and tools.

In fact, most people average only 3 minutes on any given task before switching to something else (and only 2 minutes on a di...

Task switching and focus

Taking on additional tasks simultaneously can destroy up to 80% of your productive time:

  • Focusing on one task at a time = 100% of your productive time available.
  • Juggling two tasks at a time = 40% of your productive time for each and 20% lost to context switching.
  • Juggling three tasks at a time = 20% of your productive time for each and 40% lost to context switching.
A schedule for sustained attention
It includes:
  • Large chunks of focused “flow” time for more demanding projects.
  • “Themed” days to reduce the need to recalibrate between different tasks.
  • Advanced planning so you can prioritize meaningful work.
  • Realistic time set aside for admin, communication, and meetings.
  • Clear expectations for your teammates so they know when not to interrupt you.

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Managing Time
The problem about time management is that it’s not about time at all.

Time cannot and will not be managed, and you will never get more of it. The problem is rooted in the choices you are m...

Smart Choices

How we choose to respond to others and to our work also determine our ultimate outcomes

Next time: choose to walk away from that complaining coworker, choose your lunch break instead of your work, choose to focus on you work instead of the ‘ping’ of someone’s red-flagged email, and choose to stand up for yourself and say “NO” when you are asked to do more than you are able.

Get Real

Get really honest with yourself, your work situation, and your surroundings.

Look around at your office and figure out if the set up or schedule works at all for what you are trying to achieve. For example, if you are a person that needs quiet to concentrate but are surrounded by chaos, what can you do to alter your environment, schedule or set-up to give you some quiet?

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