It’s still lockdown mode in many parts of the world, and most people are stuck at home, pretty much doing nothing. But for me, even if there’s no COVID-19 taking over the world, I’m still going to be staying at home almost all the time. The problem is that for a long time I’ve been wondering, how the hell 24 hours has never been enough to get me through the day? It seemed like I always need 30 hours or even more to do just about everything.
Whether it’s work or study, people always want to get their stuff done … to do this as well as to do that, trying this and also learning that. We all want to enjoy our lives, right? Well, it took me literally a few years to figure out a few steps and keys to get efficient with my time.
Henlo frens 👋🏽 welcome back to another blog post!
In this one, I want to share with you my way out of having so little time to do anything. I’m writing this for whoever you are who want to go to the gym but doesn’t get enough time, or want to learn how to play guitar but realizes that you don’t have enough time, or want to start a certain hobby but thinks twice and decides it’s better to rest now rather than to do anything. In any case, I hope these tips I will give you can get you to better use of your time, to live more efficiently and effectively, so you can do anything you want in your life.
So, let us get straight into the meat, starting with the first bang.
■ Time and distractions.
The first step to negotiating yourself with time is to acknowledge that you have a competitor. In fact, a lot of competitors in the form of distractions. They will consume and seize the time from you, and all of your time will be gone if you don’t get your relationship straight. It is the question of productive time, or distractions … choose wisely which one you will get hold of.
Dr. Gloria Mark, Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine, says that distractions such as checking emails and reading Twitter comments are both stressful and costly. She found that it takes an average of 23 minutes for a person to fully regain his or her focus on a task after being distracted.
For many people, sending and replying to emails is actually PSEUDO-work, which means it’s not actually a real work. And for these people, it’s better to not be available on email and chat interfaces all the time, and setting aside time-blocks in a day sounds for me like a great step to overcome these types of distractions.
Plus, to step into the zone (or you might more familiar with the term “the flow”), you must prioritize focus, blocking all the distractions outside. One of the ways to do that is to silencing your phone, and disabling those annoying notifications from apps that were never meant to send you any in the first place.
The Overload Research Group, which is a collection of academic and corporate researchers dedicated to reducing the amount of information that general people have to deal with, has found that workers in the United States waste about 25 percent of their time dealing with an incessant stream of data, losing their employers a staggering $997 billion a year.
Crazy, right? It seems to me that Benjamin Franklin has been in the right all this time, that time is money. So again, between TIME and DISTRACTIONS, I want you to choose wisely which one you will get hold of, because no one can get hold of both of them at the same time.
■ 30x rule.
This second item for our tips and tricks is for those people who are working hard 💪🏽 out there, or maybe for you too as a hard worker in your own future.
So, it says that prioritization and delegation are the keys to making sure you’re getting the most out of your time. But unfortunately, studies show that most knowledge workers spend 41% of their time on tasks they could easily pass off to others. The issue is that while we’re aware we could hand off work, the thought of training someone to do it is daunting.
However, there’s a quote that I’d like to share from the famous American author, speaker, and pastor who has written many books, primarily focusing on leadership.
“If something can be done 80% as well by someone else, delegate!”
— American author, John C. Maxwell.
And there’s also Rory Vaden, who in his book titled Procrastinate on Purpose proposes us to allocate 30x the time that takes us to complete a task to train someone else to do it. Okay, here I will explain how he came to that number …
Well, says you have a task that takes five minutes a day to do, you should budget 30x that time, which is 150 minutes, to train someone else to do it for you for the next time. That might seem like a huge waste of time right away, but multiply that five minutes a day across the 250 annual working days, and you would personally be spending staggering 1250 minutes on that task.
Basically, delegating tasks is a hidden hack that if used properly, can free you up with loads of free time. And if the math in the book is correct, this hidden life hack theorizes that even if the time to train someone and delegate your task took you 30 more times than the base theory, this 30x rule will still eventually give you a whopping 733 percent increase in free time in your future.
Not only is multitasking more stressful and less productive than single-tasking, but technically it’s NOT even possible. What feels like doing multiple tasks at a time is actually your brain desperately switching back and forth. That being said, if you want to get tasks done at a higher quality and in less time, it pays dividends to focus on one at a time.
An awesome guy called Jason Fitzpatrick wrote in Lifehacker, that Most of us didn’t fall into the habit of multitasking strictly out of fear for our jobs, but instead, we fell into the habit because of the allure of getting more done is too strong to pass up. He then explains that we all are working with the same number of minutes in a day, and —in theory— the people who can somehow squeeze in even five percent more work into the time they’ve got come out ahead, right?
By the way, if you want to read fully, you may want to read his article that obviously explains better about this main reason why we’re so drawn to the idea of multitasking, even when we know it isn’t good for us.
In a study done in 2010, Harvard psychologists Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert found that people spend almost 47 percent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re currently doing … and that has its own associated cost. They explain that the ability to think about what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost.
And yet, the allure of multitasking goes beyond just keeping up with college schedules or workplace pressure. Long stretches of focused time are difficult and take serious levels of concentration, whereas bouncing between tasks keeps things fresh and exciting … to even more likely to give us the hit of dopamine, which is the ‘reward chemical’ in our brain.
So, despite knowing multitasking does nothing good for us, its hold on us comes from our natural aversion to boredom and anxiety. Adam Gazzaley of the University of California explains it better as a neuroscientist, and he says that it will always feel fun to multitask even if it’s draining our cognitive reserves.
▬ Therefore, here I want to tell you about the benefits of doing single-tasking.
- Single-tasking workflow rebuilds your focus by forcing you to sit and work through complex problems;
- It’s also a path to the less stressful way of getting anything done;
- And in the end, you’ll get more done with less time;
- Focusing on one thing at a time can also make you more creative!
- … and a lot more benefits, most probably —I dunno.
Also, it seems that an hour of doing a focused task can be 500 percent more productive than hours when your attention is split. That being said, learning how to focus intensely on a single task at a time is a time-asset superpower! 🦸♀️
■ Time multipliers.
Certain to-dos are time-multipliers. These are simple tools and workflows that should give you a compound return on your time invested. Some examples include properly prioritizing your to-do list geographically; getting rapid feedback on errands, habits, and routines; to even optimizing your work environment and step into the zone, and stay there for as long as you can be.
So, what are these “time multipliers” that I’m proposing? Well, in the most basic sense of the word, that term can represent a person, a tool, strategies, or basically anything that creates a disproportionate result compared to the investment; anything that can amplify your effort to produce more output than your input time. We all love the idea of getting something done for almost nothing, so I’m here happy to tell you that you can do the same with your time.
Also, by the way, to understand better about this input-output thingy, you might want to watch this fun video by Ali Abdaal where he talks about his productivity equation.
▬ When you’re designing your to-do list or your daily planning, there are four questions that you could ask yourself: …
- Can you eliminate this task?
Efficiency only matters if you’re doing the right things. As the author of the book Atomic Habits, James Clear explains that one of the most powerful ways to make more time is to learn how to say No (which we will discuss later). For him, saying No is his way to eliminate ONE option from his schedule, but on the contrary, saying Yes meaning that he is eliminating every other option he might have to do at a later time.
- In case you can’t eliminate it, can you automate it?
Habits and motivations are two different things. To build a routine, you have to find a way to automate ineffective tasks, so then you can free up space for focused work. Automation is definitely one of the approaches to the theory of time multiplier, but there are three criteria that your tasks or workflows need to meet in order to be good candidates for automation: …
/ a. The task doesn’t need your full attention in getting it done (e.g. washing dishes);
/ b. It is time-consuming, or at least annoying (e.g. tidying up desk or room);
/ c. The process doesn’t require too much of personalization and finesse (e.g. doing laundry).
- Can this be delegated?
As we’ve discussed before, the 30x rule is a powerful hack to get stuff done for almost no effort!
- Does this task need to be done NOW?
In case you’re unsure of how to handle a task, you might want to ask yourself if it’s urgent enough that it needs your attention now or today. In his book, Rory Vaden explains that this is a way for us to differentiate, the waiting to do something that we know we should be doing, and the waiting to do something BECAUSE we’ve decided that now is not the right time to be doing it.
■ Learn to say No.
The last item in our tips and tricks in this first part of two, is for you to learn how to say No.
Let’s say that you’re working under someone else, from now on you’re going to be open and completely transparent to your peers and bosses. This is so you can refuse certain tasks that seem able to take you away from your core priorities, and maybe also tasks that seem obligatory or repetitive. Examining the true urgency and importance of the request is a very important step you should not miss. Therefore, taking from what we’ve learned so far, you can defer them or try to postpone them.
Imagine this: a No is a decision to make, which sounds heavy, I know; but saying Yes meaning that you’re giving yourself more responsibility, which for me it sounds a lot heavier. Don’t you think?
Saying No is a way for you to keep your system in check. Maybe for starter, you have to practice saying the word in front of a mirror before saying it to your boss and coworkers, and there’s also a lot of mental strategies that you can apply to your meeting routine. But unfortunately, I don’t have many experiences in this field yet, so I recommend you to learn from the best: Google and YouTube. 😁
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Thank you for reading my long-winded scribbling! 😇
Hello everyone, my name is nesha, and thank you for checking out my personal blog! It means a lot to me. I am so grateful to have almost 100 followers … turned out you guys not only interested in my thought about some anime and Japanese related content, and that’s awesome.
If you’ve checked out my blog post from last week on my basic strategies to get away from distraction, and get productive, I just wanted to say thank you for the like, the read, and the comment … they all have been really supportive, and they do help me grow a lot as a writer. If you haven’t, then it’s gonna be somewhere around this blog, or you can use the link above to read the thing.
I don’t want to promise anything, but I’ll continue writing about the second part of this series of tips to beat time, which I should be able to post it next week, if anything goes according to plan. So, if you have a chance to read that one as well, then I’ll look forward to sharing it with you.
Really tho, I’m so happy that I decided to create a personal blog. I can’t even believe that I’m giving people inspiration about stuff that I even dread, which are work and study. And not gonna lie, I feel like I’m an awesome blogger now that I’m writing this kind of stuff. So here too, please leave a comment, leave a like, leave a question and anything like that 🌱 I really appreciate all of that!
So, umm … have a great week, and I’ll see you soon!
P.S. Featured image credited to 𝙀𝙇𝙇𝙄𝙀 🍀
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“Time waits for no one.”
— Folklore, Rolling Stones, to even that girl who leapt through time.