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Old March 28th, 2014 #1
Alex Linder
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 45,373
Blog Entries: 34
Alex Linder
Default #1 Time Management Thread

[this is exactly right. dont waste your hours in secretarial tasks, a continual temptation to more organized types.]


By Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus · Follow: Twitter, Facebook

Take a look at your day-to-day life.

Through the hustle and bustle of your daily grind, what banal, tedious, mundane tasks eat up most of your time? Checking email? Monkeying around on Facebook? Watching television? Filling out reports?

Whatever your answer, these activities are your true priorities.

You see, we often claim that our priorities are grandly important activities like spending time with family or exercising or carving out enough alone time to work on that big passion project we’ve been putting off. But unless you’re actually putting these pursuits first, unless you make these undertakings part of your everyday routine, they are not your actual priorities.

Your priorities are what you do each day, the small tasks that move forward the second and minute hands on the clock. These circadian endeavors are your musts. Everything else is simply a should.
Old May 20th, 2014 #2
Alex Linder
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 45,373
Blog Entries: 34
Alex Linder

Not Busy, Focused
Posted: 20 May 2014 01:00 AM PDT
By Joshua Fields Millburn

Take a look around: everyone is multitasking. We’re doing more than we’ve ever done, attempting to fill every interstitial zone with more work. Every downtown scene is the same: heads tilted downward, faces lost in glowing screens, technology turning people into zombies.

We live in a busy world, one in which our value is often measured in productivity, efficiency, work rate, output, yield, GTD, the rat race. We are inundated with meetings and spreadsheets and status updates and rush-hour traffic and tweets and conference calls and travel time and text messages and reports and voicemails and multitasking and all the trappings of a busy life. Go, go, go. Busy, busy, busy.

Correspondingly, Americans are working more hours than ever. But we are actually earning less. Thus, busy has become the new norm. In fact, if you’re not busy, especially in today’s workplace, you’re often thought of as lazy, unproductive, inefficient, a waste of space.

For me, however, busy is a curse word. I grimace whenever someone accuses me of being busy; my facial features contorting and writhing in mock pain. I respond to this accusation the same way each time: ”I’m not busy, I’m focused.”

It was Henry David Thoreau who famously said, “It is not enough to be busy. The question is: what are we busy about?” And if I were to append his quandary, I’d say, “It is not enough to be busy. The question is: what are we focused on?”

You see, there is a vast delta between being busy and being focused. The former involves the typical tropes of productivity—anything to keep our hands moving, to keep going, to keep the conveyer belt in motion. It is no coincidence that we refer to mundane tasks as “busywork.” Busywork works well for factories and robots and fascism, but not so great for anyone who’s attempting to do something meaningful with their waking hours.

Being focused, on the other hand, involves attention, awareness, and intentionality. In my case, people sometimes mistake my focused time for busyness. That’s because being completely focused apes many of the same surface characteristics as being busy: namely, the majority of my time is occupied.

The difference, then, is that I don’t commit to a lot of things, but the tasks and people I commit to receive my full attention. Being focused, by definition, doesn’t allow me to get as much done as being busy. Ergo, the total number of tasks I complete has gone down over the years, although the meaningfulness of each undertaking has gone up—way up. This year I’ll do only a few things—publish a book, embark on a 100-city tour, teach a writing class—but those efforts will receive all of me.

This might not look good on a pie chart next to everyone who’s tallying their productivity metrics, but it certainly feels better than being busy just for the sake of being busy.

Sure, sometimes I slip; sometimes I fall back into the busy trap that has engulfed our culture. But when I do, I make an effort to notice my slip-up and then course correct until I’m once again focused on only the meaningful aspects of life. It’s a constant battle, but it’s one worth fighting.

#1, management, time


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