With the never ending stream of conscious things that our brain is subjected to, no wonder we feel overwhelmed and mentally exhausted by the end of the day. While some of us prefer to go with the flow and live our life without a craving for purpose and productivity, the rest of us value our very brief time on earth and live each day to its fullest potential. Which means, we have to understand how to utilize our time at its optimum, in order to make the most out of it.
This need to take on all of life’s chaos causes a mental stress on what needs to get done. It pressurizes us into swamping ourselves with tasks that are too big to take on or too many to to do at any one period of time.
The want for multitasking super powers are now but a distant and forgotten dream that’s dead and buried with many of last century’s ideas and ideals. As new research and recent studies show, multitasking is not the way to go as it has been proven to deteriorate the grey matter in our brain cells that could lead to real risks to the mind and body.
Every scientist, entrepreneur, icon or any successful person out there in fact, has a different structure and game plan on how they go about executing their day in the best possible way. Here are just 2 systems that might help you “Slay it like a Boss”.
The GTD Method
Productivity Consultant, David Allen explains it in his book “Getting Things Done”. Developing the GTD methodology has earned him a seat on Forbes.com as still the go-to Entrepreneur’s Bible, says Amy Guttman.
He believes that there’s no such thing as managing time or needing more time but what one needs is, space. Space to think, space to create, space to organize. The advice is to mentally dump everything out onto paper or any form of written/digital instrument that allows you to free up your mental space. Once it’s out of your mind and onto something solid and outside of you, you leave a space for free thought, creativity and other more pressing issues.
- Capture – List all the problems and ideas that are taking up your time and attention.
- Clarify – Understand what each one means and what you need to do to get it done.
- Organize – Base it on the decisions and actions you’ve just clarified.
- Reflect – On the tasks ahead and ask yourself ” What’s the next step?”
- Engage – To write down actionable steps that can actually get the tasks done.
He also lives by the 2 minute rule. That if it can be done within 2 minutes or less, get it done now. While this sounds fairly simple and straightforward, the complexities of the detailed version of this system isn’t. “We can relate this to the cybernetic principle,” Allen says. Creating a complex system in order to simplify it. Through the process of gathering information and all available resources, then organizing it and looking at its feedback, you’ll reflect on the next phase of your progression that will lead you to actionable steps.
Time Boxing / Blocking
This system works best for people who don’t have a set daily routine ( like freelancers and entrepreneurs) and for people who’s schedule doesn’t have a proper structure due to their life’s situation.
Cal Newport , Professor of Computer Sciences at Georgetown University and author of Deep Work explains it simply that he uses time blocking to be better at focusing on tasks at hand. Though his structure may look different from others who practices time blocking, the blueprint of this system ( as a project management planning technique ) follows the same foundation. That is to block off your time to do a set amount of tasks.
✔︎ send to drycleaners
✔︎ clean out car
✔︎ buy groceries
12pm – 2pm ( 30 min buffer incl )
✔︎ Call editor
✔︎ Pick up flowers
This blocks out your time so that you know that whatever you need to get done, needs to get done in this period block of time.
Meeting with Carl
- negotiated a dealership
- setting up new ideas on Friday
- agreed to wait for Fred
Online Meeting and lunch
- talked about website design
- decided on tagline
- not decided on color and theme, will agree on Monday review
This method demonstrates putting key notes on what happened during said tasks, this allows for reflection and feedback at the end of the day. You’ll be able to see what needs to get done next when you plan out your time block for the following day. This also puts you on the optimum for progressive results if you’re an outcome based individual. One note to point, leave some space in between in case your plans need to be revised due to distractions and sudden interruptions that may happen.
- Breakfast (10mins)
- Fold laundry (20mins)
- Call Mum (15mins)
- Meeting with team (60mins)
- Pick up Sam (30mins)
- Email all urgent and immediate (20mins)
This method highlights all the tasks at hand for the day and the stipulated time you assign to it. Giving you free rein on how you put everything into place. As long as you follow the rule of the assigned time ( give a 15-20 mins buffer on estimated time you need as we always underestimate time planning). To better utilize this method, developers have created Time Blocking apps just for this purpose. One is called 30/30 on the App Store (not available in the Singapore region) . I remember a time where this was online as a website and you could set the timer on your laptop while you’re doing all these tasks but fortunately now, there’s an app for this. Hurrah for technology!
Everyone has their own way of organizing their day. This may work for you and not for others. So my advice is, choose a system that works for you. Give it a try and see how it fans out. If it can help you produce better results, why not, right?
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