Time Management

92 STASHED IDEAS

  1. Prioritize rest and manage your energy levels by taking naps when required.
  2. Remove clutter and create clear work zones, helping you stabilize your focus.
  3. Combine boring tasks with something you enjoy doing, like listening to your favourite Spotify playlist while doing laundry.
  4. Do the hard stuff early on so that it does not get pushed up to the next day.
Ethan O. (@ethho518) - Profile Photo

@ethho518

Time Management

Procrastination boils down to how motivated we are to complete a task. The motivation to complete a certain task consists of four elements: Expectancy, Value, Impulsiveness and Delay.

  1. Expectancy: If we expect to succeed in the task, it would motivate us.
  2. Value: We sometimes constantly avoid work-related tasks as it sucks our energy and does not provide any value to us or the organization.
  3. Impulsiveness: When we act on temporary emotions, we often make impulsive decisions we regret later. We need to develop awareness to focus on the key tasks that help us in the future.
  4. Delay: A long gap between completing a task and getting rewarded for it makes us highly demotivated to complete the same. Mindfulness can help us stay grounded and patient, relishing the experience of waiting.

“Don’t let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game.”

Procrastination: Why It Happens

Procrastination is when we avoid the tasks in our list, feeling the pressure to complete them and going through various emotions like blame, anger, frustration and anxiety. The reason we procrastinate is because we value the now and instinctively prefer to procure and enjoy our rewards sooner rather than later.

It is easier and rewarding to relax, grab a beer and watch an episode of our favourite show rather than tackling a work assignment, which would not give any rewards in the now.

Scheduling office hours will allow messages to be received and be responded to on a schedule. By asking the other party to wait, you are giving them the chance to come up with an answer on their own, because if it's actually difficult, it's better handled in person than over email in order to avoid misunderstandings.

Asking people to discuss complex matters during regular office hours leads to better communication and fewer emails.

We tend to receive tons of emails from old newsletters we've signed up for, but are now just taking up space. To resolve this, you can just unsubscribe to the ones you no longer find useful or set up a black hole program where you won't be able to hear from that specific sender ever again.

Managing unwanted emails take time, but it's worthwhile.

Do you open an email just to read it and close it afterward to send a reply a little bit later? It's actually a huge waste of your time if you habitually recheck your emails.

Learn how to tag your emails into categories in order for you to prioritize what is needed that day and what you can handle on different days. Allocating time to tag emails correctly will help organize your emails and lessen the time you use for email checking.

Learn how to set delayed email deliveries

There is no rule stating that every email reply must be sent immediately after being written unless it's urgent. Many email programs support a delayed delivery system where you can schedule when your reply or email will be sent.

If you're fond of clearing out emails on a Friday afternoon, delaying email responses until Monday will lessen stress on both yourself and your coworkers and you can both enjoy your weekends.

During the work-from-home period, demands on our time have gotten higher. Parents have to manage Zoom school, scramble to pay the bills with a second job, or they simply allow their regular working hours at home to extend passed office hours.

On top of that, we're lonely. It is then no surprise that we are trying to take back control. Scrolling late into the night allows us to imagine alternatives of things we could be doing.

People who experience this phenomenon often feel that they didn't have much control over their daytime life, so they're picking times they can really cater to themselves, usually at night.

Many will scroll on their phones until deep into the night, perhaps because they unconsciously try to avoid their uncomfortable or heavy thoughts or feelings. But the constant avoidance enters them into a cycle of late-night anxiety.

Feeling that you have a bit of free time is very important for well-being. Often when we do get free time, we use watching TV or scroll through social media.
We would feel more satisfied if we spent some time on leisure activities that give us a sense of flow.

  • Diarise your breaks while it's still light outside.
  • Practice not being afraid of your thoughts.
  • Meditate, even if it is for 5 minutes.
  • Actively stop throughout the day to find out how you're doing.
Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

It is where you stubbornly stay up late at night because you feel like you didn't get any time to yourself.

You barely had time for dinner and a shower after work. Maybe you watched a few episodes of a show or read a book. Now you're in bed, but you are not ready for sleep. You keep on scrolling because you feel unsatisfied in some way.

Feeling overwhelmed by unfinished tasks

We often feel overwhelmed when we have too many tasks floating around in our heads. One way to calm that feeling of anxiety is to follow productivity guru David Allen's advice: You really should capture your open loops.

An open loop is any kind of commitment or task that's hanging around your life, but you haven't been able to deal with it. The birthday gift you need to send, that idea you had about a community garden, your desire to visit the pyramids.

Open loops act as a drag on your attention. It pops up at the wrong time, or leave you worried that there's something you're forgetting.

If you store them somewhere else, then your brain can stop struggling to keep them, and you'll find yourself more focused and relaxed, even if you have not finished any of the tasks.

Select an app, or open a text file, or use a physical notebook, and dump every open loop that you can think of in one place, not in multiple apps. Add new items as soon as they float into your mind.

The payoff is that you won't have to obtain all your peace of mind from completing every item on the list, as the list is certainly too much for one person to handle. Faithfully capturing open loops will bring an instant dose of relief.

We tend to choose a smaller, immediate reward over a larger reward in the future. For example, playing video games is more enjoyable than writing or coding or designing.

What you can do about it:

  • Help your future self. Automate your savings; lock yourself out of your social media apps and websites at certain times of the day.
  • Find ways to make the "right" thing more pleasant. Do exercise you actually enjoy; find healthy recipes that are also delicious.
  • Reframe how you think. Enjoy the process rather than only focusing on the rewards. Instead of running to lose weight, focus on the satisfaction you get after running a mile.
  • Imagine your future self to help motivate you to choose longer-term payoffs.

We tend to underestimate the time it will take to complete a future task despite knowing that previous tasks have taken longer.

What you can do about it:

  • Break projects down into smaller parts and estimate how long each will take.
  • Add 20% to your project timeline. Finishing earlier than expected is better than being surprised by it.
  • Use historical data to make better predictions.
  • Limit the scope of the work. It means leaving off some things for a later stage.
  • When you're going to miss a deadline, communicate that early and often.

We quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite positive or negative external events. We pursue a promotion and believe it will make us happy. When we get it, we are temporarily happier, only to get back to our baseline levels the next week.

How to overcome it:

  • Set many smaller goals instead of one big one that can only give you a one-time bump in happiness.
  • Enjoy the process, not just the outcome. If you're trying to lose weight, savour the satisfaction of feeling fitter, not just hitting your ideal weight.
  • The outcome won't make you happier, but the act of showing up regularly can.
  • Pursue strong social connections. Studies find that it is the strongest predictor of long-term happiness.

We are inclined to believe that complex solutions and explanations are better than simple ones. The perception of complexity often leads to avoidance.

What you can do about it:

  • Instead of seeking to understand a concept fully, opt for action. Try things, see how they work, then slowly improve over time.
  • Choose the system you'll stick with long-term. Look for strategies that will work with your natural ability, even if they are not the most effective.
  • Apply Occam's Razor to counterbalance the complexity bias. When faced with two possible explanations for the same evidence, the one with the fewest assumptions is likely true.
We All Tend To Make The Same Mental Mistakes

Economists used to believe that people will always choose the option that maximizes their well-being. But people act against their rational self-interest all the time.

We procrastinate and eat junk food and say yes to the things we don't have time for. Two Israeli psychologists found that we predictably make the same mental mistakes that can be avoided if we are aware of them.

We want to finish what we've started because of previously invested resources, even if it is better to quit and use our limited resources elsewhere for better returns.

What you can do about it:

  • Every decision has two costs. The first is the actual amount of money, time, or energy, and the second is the benefit you would have gotten from the next best alternative.
  • Do a quarterly inventory of your commitments. Decide if continuing a goal or commitment is worth it.
  • Ask yourself if you were just starting this endeavour today, would you still do it?

This bias addresses why we do unimportant tasks we think are time-sensitive over tasks that are not time-sensitive, even if the non-time-sensitive tasks provide greater rewards.

How to overcome this bias:

  • Use the Eisenhower Matrix. It will reveal the urgent/not urgent and important/not important tasks.
  • Block off on your calendar the most productive 2-4 hours each day for your most important work.
  • Only answer emails at specific times. Don't allow email to bleed into other time.
  • Give your important tasks a deadline and find a way to commit to it.

This effect describes our tendency to remember incomplete or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks. Each unfinished task takes up some of your attention, splitting your focus. It also interferes with your sleep.

What you can do about it:

  • Write your tasks down as soon as they come to you.
  • Have a system in place for organizing and regularly reviewing your tasks.
  • Have an end of work shutdown ritual, so your unfinished tasks don't stay in your mind after-hours.
  • Take a small step to help you get started. The act of starting can help you keep going to the end.
  • Don't forget to review your completed tasks and celebrate what you've already accomplished.

© Brainstash, Inc

AboutCuratorsJobsPress KitTopicsTerms of ServicePrivacy PolicySitemap