Time Management

103 SAVED IDEAS

"We entertain ourselves to death with social media instead of putting our minds to work and doing what's important."

@rafjj355

Time Management

Deep Work's Core Message

In Cal Newport's book, Deep Work, the concept of having full concentration and focus on a single task is heavily emphasized, and that the ability to do so has become inexplicably rare that those who cultivate this skill are those who thrive in life.

In order to achieve the goals we desire or to do more than we want to is to rid ourselves of distractions like social media among other things.

Making Deep Work Possible
  1. We must set aside time with our projects where we aren't going to be distracted. Let everyone know that you are not to be disturbed during a certain time;
  2. Allow yourself to embrace boredom and stop checking your social media - or you can choose to delete it entirely. Social media is heavily distracting and don't provide much value;
  3. Remove the things in your list that don't generate as many results, and instead focus on the things that will help achieve your desired goals.
Messy's Core Message
  • "Not every mess is good, but there can be a certain magic in mess."
  • Tim Harford, the author of Messy, believes that we can find great inspiration within our messes. How we express ourselves in a creative manner isn't always through a pristine desk, some of the most productive people have multiple projects going and messy desks.
  • We always look and reach for the tidy answers, only to find out that they're not as useful when things get messy.
Overarching Lessons Between Deep Work and Messy
  1. If we don't produce anything, we won't be of any value to the economy. Technology is rapidly evolving and staying as we are is not going to cut it. Push yourself to try new things.
  2. Autonomy is the key to getting work done. It is important to have a workspace where you have control over and choose to focus and shut out distractions.
  3. Set quality goals and hold yourself accountable for them. Choose to do things that you have clarity upon whether it may advance your career or change your life.
Boredom: Our Old Friend

In most of the ancient literature and philosophy, boredom is considered a personal, social and moral weakness.

Philosophers talk about boredom as proof that life is essentially meaningless, and that boredom hovers around any secure life like a shadow.

Boredom is a signal to your body that the current activity is not meaningful and we should be doing something else, or be somewhere else. Many recent studies have associated boredom with the urge to flaunt social distancing rules and quarantine regulations.

Boredom by itself is a neutral signal but can affect a person in varied ways depending on his life situation and the current environment.

Boredom by itself does not feel great, but just like pain, it is a body’s emotional call to action. It nudges us to look for an alternate set of behaviours and try to add more significance to our activities.

We normally try to balance paying attention and finding meaning, wanting to do something but not wanting to do anything in particular.

Boredom was called acedia in the Middle Ages and was considered a vice, something that happens to those who neglect their religious duties.

In the last two centuries, boredom has been tagged as an ailment, something which happened due to industrialization or capitalism.

Boredom isn’t about not having something fun to do, but about not wanting to do the activities which are at one’s disposal.

Boredom by itself isn’t a desire, but a desire for a desire to arise. Man cannot sit quietly in a room and do nothing, and that inability to be meditatively still may be the root cause of all problems.

The awareness of boredom is a pathway towards meeting with oneself, and one is much better off being busy in an activity than to get acquainted with oneself.

  • Perfectionists weigh all the factors in their quest to do the best thing, or to do anything in the best way, and eventually feel more boredom.
  • The people who try to minimize pain are coming up with excuses to not do a certain activity.
  • Those who want to maximize pleasure are not concerned with the adjacent pain.

Both extremes lead to boredom.

Studies on human behaviour showed that some people would prefer to give themselves electric shocks than to sit quietly in a room alone.

If people are placed in environments that lack meaning or are having less of a social-ecological diversity, they are more likely to be bored and take that boredom as a call to action towards harmful activities like drugs, violence and alcohol abuse.

Many people have been successfully able to optimize and cultivate their boredom into something productive, even leading to self-improvement and growth.

Boredom by itself is not bad, but the negative reactions that follow are the real culprit. Writing, playing an instrument, listening to music and other hobbies are available to a bored person, in most cases.

In the end, it is how society provides basic upbringing to an individual. In most cases, it focuses on maximum productivity, utility and time management, converting time into money-making or pleasure-seeking, rather than just living through time, not doing anything.

People have a lot of time, but they are spending it playing video games, watching television or streaming services, or being on social media. The constant stimulation and the need to be entertained is the root cause of boredom.

  • We have long forgotten the big stretches of time when we have nothing to do, as we are never disengaged from entertainment, work, or any kind of frenetic activity.
  • Having nothing to do is an unfamiliar state to many and is associated with being bored. One does not have to be afraid of having absolutely nothing to do.
  • One needs to calm down and try to practice mindfulness. It also helps to be less judgemental and more patient when boredom hits.
Having no to-do list, just a calendar

Instead of relying on Post-its or productivity apps, the idea is that you use your digital calendar to organize your time. Estimate how long every task will take to get done and block that period off in advance.

The method is good for people who like structure and planning ahead and are not afraid of a crowded calendar.

When we have more than seven things to choose from, our brains get overwhelmed. The core concept of the "do one thing" method is to keep your to-do list, but use it only as a reference. When you want to tackle a task, write it down on a Post-It and stick it up while hiding your full list. Once the task is done, cross it off your list, and go again.

This method is good for daydreamers, multitaskers, or easily distracted people. Seeing only one task helps to bring your focus back each time your thoughts wander.

First, you enter every task you can think off, and sort them into groups. Then you prioritise the most immediate projects and schedule tasks that you can do at a later date.

This method is good for techies: people who love using phones and have many tasks to organise or work on a variety of projects.

We usually have more tasks on our to-do list than we ever can complete. This causes us to get caught up in a never-ending cycle of doing the easiest and most urgent tasks first and putting off the harder ones that are most important.

Instead of working off of one long list, keep three lists.

  • List #1 is for important, non-time-sensitive tasks.
  • List #2 is for tasks you need to do today.
  • List #3 is for tasks that have been on your to-do list forever, but you never get to it.

Start with list #2. Schedule the tasks you need to get done today. Then take list #1 and schedule those tasks for future dates. By doing this, you're likely to complete meaningful work and throw away work that doesn't need to be done.

Busy Being Busy

We are far too busy in ways not imagined before, though productivity hasn't increased proportionally. Studies show we have more leisure time than before but have become overwhelmed with an infinite number of options.

Reclaim your time and your sanity instead of being busy all the time.

Accept Defeat

Time and resources are limited but 'everything that is to be done' is always unlimited, so there is bound to be a compromise, a trade-off.

Something will always be neglected or deprioritized, no matter what you do.

Respect your rhythms and body clocks

Humans are not a machine or a piece of equipment, that can be made to work overtime and show more productivity.

We don't work like a machine, and working more hours does not mean more actual work. If we respect our body clock and work with it, we can be more productive.

Strategic  Incompetence

At your workplace, if it is accepted by you and declared to your peers that you are not good at doing a certain job or task, you will not be assigned that type of job. This way you can be less busy doing mundane time-consuming work.

Build Buffers in Time Allocations

A task normally takes longer than the time allotted, so it is a good idea to allow buffer time around tasks so that any unexpected work or meeting does not delay the planned completion time.

Pre-crastination

Doing tasks too early, the opposite of procrastination is also a cause of being avoidably busy.

We end up doing trivial tasks that are not required or not that urgent, at the expense of our real work.

Don't Hoard Your Time

We normally safeguard and 'hoard' our limited time.

If you feel you have no time, just do something opposite: give away some time, so that you can feel its abundance.

Work Creates More Work

Some work (like answering all your emails to clear your inbox) creates more work, and while completing that work may seem like being productive, it is, in fact, adding to your workload by generating further tasks.

Slow Down

We live in an urgency-addicted world, fueled by technology.

While it may seem counterintuitive, it is a good idea to slow down during pressing urgencies.

Limit Your To-Dos

Just have a 5 item limit on your daily to-do list instead of an endless and overwhelming list of work to be done, staring at you all day.

Being "Very Busy"
To keep complaining to others about how busy you are is useless and it makes others anxious around you.
It also shows you may not be really busy otherwise you would be working instead of talking about the work you have to do.
Hooked To Technology
  • Most of us check email too often, almost like a compulsive disorder. Just like any habit, there are internal cues, triggers and impulses that make us behave in a certain way with no conscious thought.
  • We are using technology as a suppressant to our inner restlessness.
  • Any uncertainty, uncomfortable emotion or situation can act as internal triggers, pushing us towards the bouquet of digital distractions.

A simple acknowledgement of the trigger sensation in our minds can be the first step to be aware and in control of the internal triggers.

Put your mind at ease by burying all the triggers that hijack your attention and keep you away from concentrating on your work.

  1. The first thing is to turn off all the external triggers like your phone notifications, chimes, reminders or icons that rob us of our attention. For persistent apps, you can hide the icon in some folder.
  2. Use online tools like vacation responders and email filters.
  3. Use online calendars that let people schedule time for a meeting.

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