Time, productivity and other tales!
It’s a common observation for any one into productivity that our work hours effect our efficiency. I was not into this world of productivity until a few months ago. I was one of those people who considered time as an unlimited resource. Thanks to a friend who agreed to mentor me over the next year I realized the value of my time more than ever.
Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
— Parkinson’s Law
Parkinson’s law is the tendency for the amount of work required for something to increase so that it consumes any amount of time that may be allotted to it. This is something I have experienced personally over the last few years of my life.
I have spent a lot of hours on a work that would have been done in a lot lesser time. This took a toll on my work, life and health. As the time required for the work increased then(psychologically speaking) the task increased in complexity and became more daunting. It did not even fill the extra time with more work, but just stress and tension about having to get it done.
As luck would have it, I found a right mentor who helped me wade this waters. Here a few steps that helped me become better at managing my time and work:
Respect your time
It took me a while to fully understand that time is the most precious resource that one owns. Once you start respecting your time on this earth a lot of things fall into place and your perspective of live would change for better.
Fun experiment, try time as the metric to measure everything you do for a day. An iPhone can be worth the next 60 work hours or a book of Harry Potter can be equal to 6 hours, 30 e-mails are worth 2 hours of your time.
I always saw time as a faceless opponent whom you can never outrun only to realize later that it can run only as fast as you do. By assigning the right amount of time to a task, we gain back more time and the task will reduce in complexity to its natural state.
Work smarter, not just harder
I believe that working harder is a by-product of our culture, thanks to the limiting belief that working harder is somehow better than working smarter and faster.
Compete with yourself !
Competition fuels us to become better every single day. That’s how we are designed to be. We survived the harshest of the weather, worst of epidemics and every single nightmare out there to become what we are today.
Here is a challenge that I have read somewhere before taking it up.
Instead of doing the leisurely 20–30 minute morning email check, give yourself five minutes. If you’re up for a challenge, go one better and give yourself two minutes.
The 80–20 rule
The 80–20 rule is a rule of thumb that states that 80% of outcomes can be attributed to 20% of all causes for a given event. I love the concept of the 80–20 rule although it is a very generalized statement and there are scientific works that explain a lot better. It’s pretty much relevant in our discussion here too.
Find all the tasks that are eating into your time everyday and allot them only a bare minimum time.
Keep experimenting with all of these. Push yourself to tighter deadlines, keep all the unnecessary work to a bare minimum. It’s not going to be a easy ride but it would be a ride worthy your time here.
Straight roads do not make skilful drivers!
Ciao for now!