Time is the most precious resource
And yet it is the one we take for granted most often. Have you heard of the planning fallacy? It is a prediction phenomenon where humans grossly underestimate the amount of time it is going to take to complete a future task.
Have you ever said to a friend, “I’ll reach there in 20 min” when you already know that the route cannot be completed in less than 40 minutes? This is the planning fallacy in action. You’re not lying to them and neither do you want them to wait, your brain just compounds this time differently.
Why is this important? Because understanding this can prove to be one of the most useful tools in better time management. All action starts with awareness and becoming aware of this phenomenon can greatly improve your chances of better understanding time.
I am a chronic planner, which means that anything and everything I do is pre-planned and it really pushes my buttons if I’m not able to plan things in advance. For the longest time, I was never able to accomplish everything I put down on my to-do list. Why? Because I really really underestimated how much time it would take for me to complete the tasks I had listed.
Since I got to know of this phenomenon, I’ve redesigned my to-do list making habits. I now prioritise only three tasks a day (max 5). Even when my brain tells me I can do a lot more, I stick to 3. Quite frankly, this has improved my success rate tremendously and also helped my mind stay decluttered.
I wrote an article on Medium talking about better time-management techniques if you’re someone who is struggling to manage all their different interests and engagements. Give it a read here.
ONE TECHNIQUE TO MANAGE TIME BETTER
Different people will give you a lot of different perspectives here. For me, the best technique to manage my time has been learning to let go or quit what’s not working.
I’ve been judged, called a quitter, and even doubted my own intentions. But over time I’ve realised that time is a finite resource and you can only allocate so much of it. If you keep spending time on things that are not serving you, you’re going to end up dissatisfied and wanting. This beautiful quote from Osayi Osar-Emokpae sums it up pretty nicely
Quitting is not giving up, it’s choosing to focus your attention on something more important. Quitting is not losing confidence, it’s realising that there are more valuable ways you can spend your time. Quitting is not making excuses, it’s learning to be more productive, efficient and effective instead. Quitting is letting go of things (or people) that are sucking the life out of you so you can do more things that will bring you strength. ― Osayi Osar-Emokpae, Impossible Is Stupid
A QUESTION FOR YOU
What is one activity that you know sucks your time but you can’t stop doing it? How would you spend your time if that activity wasn’t part of your life?
Until next week,
P.S. Working on yourself can often make your relationships a lot better too: 10 qualities that make you unforgettable