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Author Topic: All things efficiently  (Read 885 times)
kurdt
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« on: April 16, 2010, 05:10:41 AM »

If you live 80 years old, you got 29200 days, 700800 hours and 42048000 seconds to live - when that time is spent, then you just cease to exist. So fellow time wasters, what are your tricks to spend your time alive more efficiently? How you have improved from what you were 5 years ago and how did you do it?

According my ideology it's all about tasks. Everything in life can be "tasked" and should be. Basically the more you can crunch different tasks, the more you get done. And when you get more done, you'll be more satisfied. Sadly human mind is never satisfied because our brains are not capable of status quo. I also believe that the most unhappiness in modern western civilizations is caused by lack of self-appreciation. People want desperately to feel satisfied (also known as happy) but what most people don't realize is that work is what makes you feel satisfied in the long run. This is why you should work on something you really care about. If you couldn't give less about what you do, how are you going to ever feel satisfied? We are not built to stay idle on the sofa and passively watch TV. Even if that feels nice for a moment, the feelings of not progressing will eat you up. This is why so many people have middle-life crisis. It's not about the fear of death, it's about all the shit you wanted to do before hitting middle-age and now you haven't done them. I really don't want to spend my precious minutes worrying how I'm not progressing fast enough so I'm trying to constantly improve myself to do my tasks faster and better.

And by the way, I know some people refuse to think personal life, hobbies, relationships, etc. as tasks. That's just your model of the word task speaking. Try to switch it to "things" instead of "tasks" and it should feel more comfortable (same works for unpleasant work words like there's no "bugs", there's only "problems"). The main point is to somehow break it down into items you can do from start to finish. Then you don't have to worry that you are forgetting to do something or you don't know what to do next. It's also easier to spot the tasks that should be done first.

One of the most common fatal mistakes people do when doing task lists or to-do lists is that they actually list projects as tasks. If one task has more than few things you have to do in order to get it done, it's a project or a thing that has sub-things. A lot of projects don't mean you are busy all the time, it means that you have active mind. It's up to you how much time you want to spend on each project, what to discard and what to complete. Oh and if it takes less than 2 minutes, do it immediately. Just try this rule for a week, it works wonders around the house. You no longer have to have those "oh shit, I forgot to do that" moments when you just get it done right away. Once 2 min rule becomes a habit you just do without even thinking it.

Also one of the things I have learned is that there's no final version. There's only versions in progress. When you think it like that, it helps to get it done. You can always come back and add/fix something if you need. Just get it done as best as you can and as fast as you can. Also when it comes to coding, don't give a shit about how fast it runs before it runs. You can always optimize later but if you keep making everything as optimized as you can, it will never get done. This is a huge issue in my life at the moment. I have to have this post-it that says "Just get it done" to remind me to not be a perfectionist. Also perfectionism should be treated as disease. It's pointless, it prevents you from completing and it rarely makes a big difference. Important thing is to get it done and out of your system. But remember that perfectionism != attention to details.

All the stuff you have in your life takes a mental space from your brain. Even it's not in your conscious mind, it's still there. So destroy everything you don't need. Archive in one place what you might need later. For example I destroy every email I get that I won't be needing later. I have always zero emails in my inbox. They are all either deleted or archived to one folder. I fought this change for a long time for some reason but now that I'm doing it, I just can't live without it. I think I got this from Merlin Mann who did this Inbox Zero video or something. I also use my shredder a lot. There's no letters lying around in the house that I don't need. The thing with this archive || delete method is that as long as your brain has to keep track of something, it will stay there and drain your mental capacity. Even you don't know it, you are constantly keeping track of the stuff you get in mail if you leave them hanging around the house. But when you have one place you put the stuff you need, your brain can relax and forget the tracking. Most of the stuff I do is explained well in Getting Things Done ideology by David Allen. If you don't know it, I urge you to check it out.
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