It would seem that technological progress has led to saving of man’s time and energy. But do people spend this disengaged time on themselves, or use it to become even more busy?
Here is, for example, what the President of Microsoft in Russia recommends to combat the lack of time:
- Plan your schedule so that you could perform minimum of secondary urgent tasks and handle the important ones before they become urgent;
- Do what you like with the maximum dedication;
- Consider the principle of life balance as a crucial personal and managerial task.
Well, we can’t put the world on hold. But we can change the approach to business and attitude to our own lives.
Steve Jobs, in his famous speech to the graduates of Stanford University told about his own way to remain happy with his life:
For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
What are we aiming for? Success, money, happiness? Are these always the same concepts?
Successful does not mean happy
Not always achieving financial stability and success in business makes a person happy. Money by itself doesn’t bring happiness. But when the money is tight or not enough, it acts as a happiness substitute.
It is believed that there comes a certain point, when the money ceases to be the happiness equivalent. American researchers claim that this happens after a person’s income exceeds $ 70,000 per year. In our case this amount must be 2-3 times lower.
This statement is confirmed by the words from an interview with a famous actor Bruce Willis:
Before I started taking acting lessons, I was completely satisfied with my work as a bartender. I was making a fair living by the standards of the proletarian New Jersey, and I felt that the whole world was at my feet. Even when I began starring in blockbusters and earning millions, I’ve never felt happier or more satisfied with life than in those years. Funny, isn’t it?
What seems to be “fun” to the Hollywood star, for majority remains an unattainable dream. People think they must work very much and hard to touch the desired heights. It is difficult to argue with this. But often, hard work as the means of achieving the goal turns into the goal itself. A person becomes a workaholic.
Our time is considered the “era of consumption”, where financial success plays an important role.
A man is lining up a logical chain on a subconscious level:
I want to live comfortably → the comfort has to be paid → to have money I must work.
Following these rules a human becomes a workaholic.
Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson wrote well about the dangers of workaholism in their book “Rework”:
“Our culture celebrates the idea of the workaholic. We hear about people burning the midnight oil. They pull all-nighters and sleep at the office. It’s considered a badge of honor to kill yourself over a project. No amount of work is too much work. Not only is this workaholism unnecessary, it’s stupid. Working more doesn’t mean you care more or get more done. It just means you work more.”
As a result, workaholics cause more problems than they solve. First of all, this style of operation can’t be stable for a long time. And when a person “dies down”, and it will inevitably happen, the consequences will be very serious.
Workaholics are not heroes. They don’t cherish the time, they just burn it out. A real hero has long been home, he found a faster way to complete his job.
I totally agree with that, you really shouldn’t work too much. To do more, you have to work efficiently, and not to bring yourself into a state of constant fatigue. Try to regularly take a break, let your body relax. Work to live, not the other way.
The best rest is not at all a change of activity. The best (and essential) recreation is sleep.
To work at the expense of sleep is not correct. Try to sleep 7-8 hours a day, keeping the regular schedule. Don’t miss the opportunity of taking a 20-30 minute nap at lunchtime.
Once in a while, you can pull an all-nighter. If it becomes a constant, the costs start to mount (from the aforementioned book “Rework”):
Lack of creativity: Creativity is one of the first things to go when you lose sleep. What distinguishes people who are ten times more effective than the norm is not that they work ten times as hard; it’s that they use their creativity to come up with solutions that require one-tenth of the effort. Without sleep, you stop coming up with those one-tenth solutions.
Diminished morale: When your brain isn’t firing on all cylinders, it loves to feed on less demanding tasks. Like reading yet another article about stuff that doesn’t matter. When you’re tired, you lose motivation to attack the big problems.
Irritability: Your ability to remain patient and tolerant is severely reduced when you’re tired. If you encounter someone who’s acting like a fool, there’s a good chance that person is suffering from sleep deprivation.
Stubbornness: When you’re really tired, it always seems easier to plow down whatever bad path you happen to be on instead of reconsidering the route. The finish line is a constant mirage and you wind up walking in the desert way too long.
What practical steps should be taken to optimize your time and transit to a less stressful mode?
Any action will be much more effective if splitted into goals, tasks. Tasks are the same as goals, only on a smaller scale.
If the goal is not recorded, then it doesn’t exist. It can be written down anywhere: in a diary, on a sticker on a piece of paper. Many people prefer to use special services, for example, SmartProgress, a service to achieve goals. This is one of the best services, which enables you to record goals, dividing them into steps.
Having registered on the site, you formulate your goal, split it into steps, and keep a kind of diary, analyzing each step passage and the progress towards the final goal. The service also lets you discuss your and other people’s goals with other users, consult, comment, etc. The result of all this is a vivid image of your goal implementation process.
About time management
Performing of our duties does not always give us elation and enthusiasm. Instead of working, we read articles that are supposed to be useful, put things in order on the desktop, etc. In other words, we do anything, just to delay uninteresting work or routine tasks.
The most effective way to solve the above problem is the proper distribution of working time, time management.
Learning the methods of correct organization of your working time, don’t forget the main thing: time management for you is not a theoretical discipline, but an applied technique.
If, instead of work, you only study the methods of its organization, it will unlikely contribute to success.
We are all different, so perhaps your own way will turn better than the one recommended in a new book? All this you do to make it more manageable for yourself.
To turn your life and work out of race and stress into a pleasurable quiet process, you don’t need too much:
- A clear formulation of your strategic goals and tactical tasks;
- Proper distribution of your working time;
- Good quality rest and sleep.
Not much indeed, and even something similar to the advice of Captain Obvious. But how many of us do follow these simple rules?
Do you always remember that your most important project is YOURSELF?