Let’s assume that we are successful in getting additional hours by slowing the Earth’s spinning rate
What would have happened if we get 30 hours a day?
Where we are spending time? –
Where could have been additional time gone into?
But do you really need these extra 6 hours? - Symptoms of Poor Time Management
Read this one carefully, because if you don’t have any of these symptoms then feel free to close this tab and read some other posts of mine.
Congratulations you belong to 2% of the world population who are perfect time managers
- Doing stuff last minute
- Lot of emails
- Clutter everywhere
- No time for loved ones
- Constantly anxious & stresses
If you are reading then that means you are in 98%
Wait, we should always start with Why
Why do we need these extra 6 hours?
- To finish the tasks which we couldn’t do in regular 24 hours. Grace period of 25%
- To cover up for our guilt of wasting time
- To spend more time with our loved ones
- To have more of ‘Me’ time
- To boast to our alien friends of additional hours we have. Ok chuck this one
Ok let’s talk about real Why – Our Time-Wasting habits
- Multitasking – It slows you down, cause stupid errors and provides barely satisfactory output
- Procrastination – Well I’ll tell you about this later. Next week maybe
- Neglecting deadlines
- Always saying YES – Well it looks good for the movie and that too on Jim Carrey but for god sake learn to say NO. Success is not only focusing on the objective, it also means saying no to thousand other things
- Failing to prioritize – Always start with MIT (Most Important Task) of the day
Well I just checked and we won’t be able to push the Earth farther in the planetary system
Let’s become more productive
Let’s first understand the type of things we do and then we will see how to prioritize them
Type of tasks we do - Urgent vs. Important vs. All others
- Urgent tasks require immediate attention. They have a fast approaching deadlines with dire consequences. Ok maybe not dire but definitely unpleasant consequences. They put us in reactive mode. Defensive mode. We tend to think from narrowly-focused mindset
- Important tasks contribute to long term vision of ours. Can be personal or professional. We carry them in responsive mode and thus our process is detailed, rational, clear
- Everything else – Basically not important and not urgent (For some this post can be example of such – I feel good by seeing these pathetic stick figures)
Now there are various ways we can use to prioritize our tasks
· A daily list of things to do, numbered in the order of their importance, and done in that order one at a time until daily time allows
· Prioritize basis level of hardness - Eat that frog
- Management of the list can take over from implementing it
- Listing routine tasks wastes time
- To remain flexible, a task system must allow for disaster
- If some time is not regularly spent on achieving long-range goals, the individual may get stuck in a perpetual holding pattern on short-term plans
This is the idea 80% of tasks can be completed in 20% of the disposable time. The remaining 20% of tasks will take up 80% of the time. This principle is used to sort tasks into two parts. According to this form of Pareto analysis it is recommended that tasks that fall into the first category be assigned a higher priority.
The 80-20-rule can also be applied to increase productivity: it is assumed that 80% of the productivity can be achieved by doing 20% of the tasks. Similarly, 80% of results can be attributed to 20% of activity
You can read about it in detail here
Quadrant 1: Urgent and Important Tasks
Quadrant 1 tasks are both urgent and important. They’re tasks that require our immediate attention and also work towards fulfilling our long-term goals and missions in life.
Quadrant 1 tasks typically consist of crises, problems, or deadlines.
Here are a few specific examples of Urgent and Important tasks:
Term paper deadline
Wife in emergency room
Car engine goes out
You have a heart attack and end up in the hospital
You get a call from your kid’s principal saying you need to come in for a meeting about his behavior
Be proactive, regular maintenance, shifting certain things to Q2, eat that Frog
Quadrant 2: Not Urgent but Important Tasks
Quadrant 2 tasks are the activities that don’t have a pressing deadline, but nonetheless help you achieve your important personal, school, and work goals as well as help you fulfill your overall mission as a man.
Q2 tasks are typically centered around strengthening relationships, planning for the future, and improving yourself.
Here are some specific examples of Not Urgent but Important Tasks:
Reading life-enriching books
Taking a class to improve a skill
Spending time with a rewarding hobby
Creating a budget and savings plan
These tasks provide lasting happiness, long-term fulfillment & success
· You don’t know what’s truly important to you. If you don’t have any idea what values and goals matter most to you, you obviously won’t know what things you should be spending your time on to reach those aims!
· Present bias. As just discussed, we all have an inclination to focus on whatever is most pressing at the moment. Doing so is our default mode. It’s hard to get motivated to do something when there isn’t a deadline looming over our head.
Because Q2 activities aren’t pressing for our attention, we typically keep them forever on the backburner of our lives and tell ourselves, “I’ll get to those things ‘someday’ after I’ve taken care of this urgent stuff.”
Quadrant 3: Urgent and Not Important Tasks
Quadrant 3 tasks are activities that require our attention now (urgent), but don’t help us achieve our goals or fulfill our mission (not important). Most Q3 tasks are interruptions from other people and often involve helping them meet their own goals and fulfill their own priorities.
Here are some specific examples of Quadrant 3 activities:
Co-worker who comes by your desk during your prime working time to ask a favor
We spend most of our time on Q3 tasks, all the while thinking we’re working in Q1. Because Q3 tasks do help others out, they definitely feel important. Plus they’re also usually tangible tasks, the completion of which gives you that sense of satisfaction that comes from checking something off your list.
They can help you win the social popularity contest but won’t make you happy
If you are struck in this quadrant then become more assertive and start saying NO. Also, you can delegate some of the tasks
Quadrant 4: Not Urgent and Not Important Tasks
Quadrant 4 activities aren’t urgent and aren’t important. They’re primarily distractions but can be super helpful when stressed.
Specific examples of Not Urgent and Not Important Tasks include:
Mindlessly surfing the web
Playing video games
Scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
We spend an inordinate amount of time on Q4 activities. Though we don’t need to eliminate Q4 activities altogether from our life. After a particularly hectic and busy day, watching a favorite TV show decompress your brain.
Instead of aiming to completely rid yourself of Not Urgent and Not Important tasks, try to only spend a very limited amount of time on them.
GTD (Getting Things Done)
Getting Things Done was created by David Allen. The basic idea behind this method is to finish all the small tasks immediately and a big task is to be divided into smaller tasks to start completing now. The reasoning behind this is to avoid the information overload or "brain freeze" which is likely to occur when there are hundreds of tasks. The thrust of GTD is to encourage the user to get their tasks and ideas out and on paper and organized as quickly as possible so they're easy to manage and see
The "Pomodoro" is described as the fundamental metric of time within the technique and is traditionally defined as being 30 minutes long, consisting of 25 minutes of work and 5 minutes of break time
This concept is mainly used in journalism for story planning and newsroom organization through team collaboration to shape stories early before they are written. The central concept is trying to anticipate readers’ questions about news stories (“think like a reader”) and then answering those questions as quickly as possible through visual aspects with high-visibility points such as photos, headlines, captions and information graphics. It is a management technique to encourage collaboration across news departments and ensure that quality work in a story package comes not from the traditional method of an assembly line, but from teamwork and good time-management from all players working on the story
But wait your feelings are also responsible
It is a tendency to act on a whim, displaying behavior characterized by little or no forethought, reflection, or consideration of the consequences
Actions are typically "poorly conceived, prematurely expressed, unduly risky, or inappropriate to the situation that often result in undesirable consequences
Impulsivity is both a facet of personality and a major component of various disorders, including ADHD, substance use disorders, bipolar disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and borderline personality disorder
How to control such behavior
Identify Your Behavior and Triggers
Reduce Your Vulnerabilities
List the Consequences of The Problem Behavior
Skills Used and Required- Journal the skills you have already used and the additional skills that would be important for you to develop to help you utilize alternative strategies to the problematic behavior. Some skills include: mindfulness, emotion regulation skills, distress tolerance skills, thought regulation, interpersonal effectiveness skills, relaxation techniques, self-esteem development, assertiveness skills,
Working in Flow
Post lunch sluggishness can increase the time taken to complete the same task in morning.
Lack of energy means shifting our prioritization.
Also, sometimes we are unprepared or feel not so confident on our skill sets
Task management & Time management works in rhythm with how you feel.
What does Performing the task in Flow or in the Zone means?
It is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting loss in one's sense of space and time.
Flow theory postulates three conditions that have to be met to achieve a flow state:
One must be involved in an activity with a clear set of goals and progress. This adds direction and structure to the task
The task at hand must have clear and immediate feedback. This helps the person negotiate any changing demands and allows them to adjust their performance to maintain the flow state
One must have a good balance between the perceived challenges of the task at hand and their own perceived skills. One must have confidence in one's ability to complete the task at hand
Summarizing it up
How to increase the output of our original 24 hours
- Plan in 30 minute increments (Dominos effect) - Most people think of their day in hour long segments. The problem is that work always expands to fit the time allotted to it
- Plan around your energy - know when your energy and creativity levels are highest and lowest and when they should work on certain things. If your energy “hits the wall” at 2–3pm, that isn’t the time to schedule a brainstorming session or work on a difficult problem that requires creativity and focus
- Constantly experiment - There are hundreds of productivity systems, tools, and tricks available. Keep looking for different routines, hacks, tips and experiment with them to get the desired result
- Build and “stack” productive habits - We are the sum of our habits and choices. Good habits are essential, but they are even more powerful when they feed into other good and productive habits