Productivity Isn't About Time Management. It's About 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.
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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.
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, 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.
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.
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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.
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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Time is our precious resource. It is perishable, it is irreplaceable, and it cannot be saved. It can only be reallocated from activities of lower value to activities of higher value.
Your “frog” is your most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it.
If you have two important tasks, start your day with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first. Focus on completing it before you go to the next one.
We tend to confuse activity with accomplishment: we attend endless meetings and make plans, but at the end of the day, no one does the job and gets the results required.
“Failure to execute” is among the biggest problems in organizations today.
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Switching between tasks can have damaging costs to our work and productivity.
Develop the habit of single-tasking by forcing your brain to concentrate on one task and one task only. Put your phone away, close all the browser windows and apps that you don’t need. Immerse yourself in this task. Only move to the next one when you’re done.
“Time management is not a peripheral activity or skill. It is the core skill upon which everything else in life depends.”
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