今日推薦英文原文：《5 Simple Ways to Do More in Less Time》
推薦理由：這個項目是一個井字棋項目——如果我沒有事先告訴你，在你的眼睛從那堆完全莫名其妙的代碼上掃過一遍之後你絕對無法理解這到底和井字棋有沒有半毛錢的關係，直到你接著往下翻為止。這個項目是用於參與 IOCCC 的，雖然你可能大概已經通過這個詭異的代碼風格猜測出這個競賽的目的了……為了你的生命安全，在日常生活中絕對不要這麼干。
今日推薦英文原文：《5 Simple Ways to Do More in Less Time》作者：Mythili the dreamer
5 Simple Ways to Do More in Less Time
Some productivity strategies to get more out of your eight-hour workdayWhat makes a programmer productive?
That was the topic of a study conducted by the Indian Institute of Management some years back. The institute surveyed thousands of programmers across the country, and the results were interesting:
- 5% of the programmers completed their work in record time due to their natural grasping abilities. They were the super-programmers.
- 15% of the programmers continuously updated their knowledge, which helped them to complete their work faster.
- 10% took help from others.
- 20% slogged long hours to complete their work within the schedule.
- And a whopping 50% admitted to having used some productive technique to better manage their time and thereby complete their work.
Here are some productive strategies that can help you get more out of your eight-hour workday.
Adopt a Preventive Focus on WorkPsychologists define two ways to look at any task.
Promotional focusHere, you do something because you see it as a way to end up better than you are now. For example, 「If I do this, my boss will be happy and I will get a promotion.」 In other words, you treat the task as a milestone to be achieved and you are eager and motivated to finish it.
Sounds good, right?
But there is a flip side to this focus. What if you are not able to complete your task? This thought will burn inside you and make you anxious. And anxiety will start undermining your motivation level. In the end, you may not even attempt to do the task. You will fail before you even start.
Prevention focusSo what you ideally need is a mechanism by which you can harness the power of doubt or anxiety to your own advantage. This brings us to the prevention focus of doing any task.
Instead of thinking of ending up better, what if you see any task as a means to safeguard what you already have? In other words, prevent any damage to your current situation. 「If I don』t do this task, I will never be considered for promotion. Worse, I may be pink-slipped.」 There is a threat, but that threat motivates you to complete the task.
Decades of research, described by Daniel Goleman in his book Focus, shows that preventive motivation is actually enhanced by anxiety about what might go wrong. When you are focused on avoiding loss, it becomes clear that the only way to get out of danger is to take immediate action. The more worried you are, the faster you get out of the woods.
So go ahead, scare the shit out of yourself. It is awful, but it works.
Use If-Then Planning if You Don』t Feel Like Completing a TaskIn his excellent book The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can』t Stand Positive Thinking, Oliver Burkeman points out that much of the time, when we say things like 「I just can』t get out of bed early in the morning」 or 「I just can』t get myself to exercise,」 what we really mean is that we can』t get ourselves to feel like doing these things.
Physically, nothing is stopping you. You just don』t feel like it. But as Burkeman asks, 「Who says you need to wait until you 『feel like』 doing something in order to start doing it?」
The problem is over-dependence on willpower. We depend too much on willpower to motivate us to finish a task. Do yourself a favor and embrace the fact that your willpower is limited and that it may not always be up to the challenge of getting you to do things you find difficult, tedious, or otherwise awful. Instead, use if-then planning to get the job done.
If-then planning is simple. It just helps you decide what specific steps you need to take to complete an activity and when and where you will take them. For example:
- If it is 2:00 p.m., I will start refactoring that horrible code.
- If it is 6:00 a.m., I will go to the gym and do 45 minutes of cardio.
- If it is a Sunday, I will devote 45 minutes to writing before lunch.
The beauty here is that you are deciding in advance what you are going to do and when you are going to do it. So when the time comes, there is no confusion. There is no procrastination. In fact, if-then planning has been shown in over 200 studies to increase rates of goal attainment and productivity by 200-300% on average.
Create a Most Important Task Method (MIT) To-Do List.A Most Important Task (MIT) is a critical task that will create the most important results you』re looking to achieve.
The principle is simple. Every day, you have a finite amount of time and energy to do things, and all the items you need to do will not be equally important. Some will be critically important and others might not be that important. So it makes logical sense for you to focus your time, effort, and energy to focus on those tasks that give the biggest results before spending it on other items.
At the beginning of every day, create a list of 2-3 MITs, then focus on getting them done as quickly as possible. Keep this list separate from your general to-do list or task-tracking system. It is not that you are only doing three tasks a day. It only means that you will not do anything else before you complete these three most important tasks.
As productivity expert James Clear rightly says:
「If you do the most important thing first each day, then you』ll always get something important done. I don』t know about you, but this is a big deal for me. There are many days when I waste hours crossing off the 4th, 5th, or 6th most important tasks on my to-do list and never get around to doing the most important thing.」Remember, the core idea is to make your eight-hour day as productive as possible. If you can complete the 1-3 essential tasks, everything else becomes secondary or even unnecessary.
Work Using the 52–17 MethodDeskTime, a productivity app, did a study of the most productive employees to pinpoint the exact time that leads to maximum productivity. The results were surprising.
The most productive people worked for 52 minutes at a time, then took a break for 17 minutes before getting back to the work. The secret of achieving the highest level of productivity over the span of a workday is not working longer but working smarter with frequent breaks.
This is because the shorter periods of working time are treated as intense sprints. Productive employees make the most of those 52 minutes by working with intense purpose, but then they rest up to be ready for the next burst. In other words, they work with purpose.
These 52-17 blocks of time are called proactive and reactive blocks, respectively. Proactive blocks are when you focus on important tasks that you must get done. This is when you make progress on important code blocks, draft critical technical specifications, or sketch out a prototype for your next great product. Reactive blocks are when you allow time for requests and interruptions, such as email and impromptu meetings.
And while the rest period might appear a trifle longer, it offers a plethora of benefits. Research has proved that working for long periods of time can be detrimental to your level of engagement with a certain task. Repetitive high-intensity tasks lead to cognitive boredom, which in turn halts your ability to thrive at whatever you』re doing. The human brain just isn』t designed to work for eight hours straight. The better approach to refresh your brain』s creative ability is to take a break.
By forcing yourself to work within a rigid structure and accomplish tasks in a given time, you ensure laser-sharp focus on every important task you are doing.
Lastly, Ascertain Your Most Productive Period Using Attention ManagementLydia K., an MIT master』s student who blogs for MIT Admissions, rightly says:
「You have limited time and energy; the biggest challenge here is deciding what to do with it.」So when do you pay the most attention? Graham Allcott answers this question in his book How to Be a Productivity Ninja, where he describes three types of attention.
- Proactive attention: You』re at your productive best, feeling good, and working steadily on priority tasks. Work on your biggest, most important, and scariest tasks at this time.
- Active attention: You』re trying to stay focused and get some work done, but you can easily become distracted. Use this time to attend to short, easy, and repetitive tasks that don』t require your best attention.
- Inactive attention: You are either taking a break or just pretending to work. Use this time for mindless tasks like cleaning out your desk, refilling your printer paper, or even just puttering around doing nothing. This might not be the best use of your time, but it』s better than nothing.
Remember, the goal here is to use your highest-energy, peak productive hours to make real progress on your most important work. Real productivity is not about time. It is all about doing the right thing at the right time in the right place.
As Peter Drucker rightly said:
「Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.」