94 SAVED IDEAS
The practice of mindfulness and savouring every moment will help us counter the speed of life.
Many people wonder how a desk job can be so mentally tiring. The ego-depletion theory states that there is a limited amount of mental energy which we consume while sitting and working, just like a gas tank guzzles up all the gas till it’s empty.
This theory is being challenged, as we may be wrong on how our brains and bodies consume energy.
It turns out that the things that we aren’t motivated to do, and yet have to do (like going on a sales call, or making a report) will tire us out quickly, but the things that we love to do, or are doing on our own accord (like scrolling through Instagram) do not cause any psychological fatigue.
The Planning Fallacy is a prediction error that one repeatedly makes, misestimating the time it takes to complete a certain task.
This usually happens when trying to complete an unpleasant or stressful task, leading to postponement, procrastination and eventually missed deadlines.
We assume we have more time than we really do, and we will get the job done quickly. Tasks like filing one’s tax return, catching a plane, investing in one’s health and other life demands become difficult with this basic assumption.
The planning fallacy affects our work satisfaction and health, leading to stress and burnout.
Things usually do not happen as we expect them to be. Our inner view of things (our cognitive bias) is shattered with unexpected obstacles, delays and interruptions.
Instead of relying on your own subjectivity and frame of reference, check out your previous experiences and take an external view of things, which may be more realistic.
"What can go wrong, will go wrong".— Murphy’s Law
Applying a pessimistic approach to work makes us curb our enthusiasm and work more realistically. We will ditch the cheery outlook and work on meeting the deadlines, prioritizing what’s important while leaving out the fluff.
If we can avoid the urgent tasks and focus on important ones, we can take care of our long-term goals.
Many small, mindless, menial tasks seem important and urgent to us, as they provide us with a rush of accomplishment. Answering a phone call or an email demand quick and immediate action and provide an illusion of urgency, even though they may be trivial.
Time isn’t our enemy and we can work with time to maximize our productivity. The Pomodoro technique teaches us to work in short focused time slots of 20 to 40 minutes, and then give yourself a break.
You can chop long and complex tasks into manageable chunks of activity, and keep yourself away from urgent but unimportant tasks.
People around us want our time and attention, which is increasingly precious and scarce.
Gossiping or unwanted chatting eats away from our work without us even realizing it. If we say ‘no’ to the time bullies that surround us, people may not like it initially but will learn to respect your time.
Our original plans and goals sometimes become the cognitive biases that do not let us work on a daily basis. They anchor themselves in our brain from the time we decided to set the goal. Our initial predictions, expectations or assessments may not be accurate and may need major or minor tweaks.
We need to focus on the current situation in a realistic manner and understand that every day is new.
The workplace is a competitive zone, and enthusiastic workers take an unfair lead even though their plans are unrealistic and overly optimistic.
You don’t need to succumb to the pressure, once you understand how the planning fallacy works. The outcome will provide clarity to all.
Asking for an opinion from someone who is not neck-deep in cognitive biases due to being too close to the subject matter may be an eye opener.
Asking for open and honest feedback will provide you with valuable insights and direction.
A lot of people make the mistake of turning down important work due to urgent work that comes up suddenly.
A task requiring immediate attention is an urgent task, whereas important tasks are those that when they're done, they will add value to the organization.
Some tasks are neither urgent nor important, but as these time-wasting tasks are in front of us, we end up consuming our time with them. These include:
Urgent tasks are the ones that are not adding any value but come up to be done at that moment. The right approach is to avoid the urgent and focus on the important.
Example: Answering a phone call can seem urgent, due to its ringing, but it may not be that important.
Many tasks fall into the urgent and important category and have to be prioritized in your to-do list as critical.
Focus on completing these tasks first.
Tasks that are important but not urgent are the most neglected. These include researching, documenting, planning and organizing.
Set aside time for important tasks, even though they don't appear urgent.