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jerryking : busy_work   2

Busy and Busier
Oct 24 2012 | The Atlantic | James Fallows.

a lot of people are feeling overwhelmed is because people are not in true survival or crisis mode as often as they have been in much of our history. The interesting thing about crisis is that it actually produces a type of serenity. Why? Because in a crisis, people have to integrate all kinds of information that’s potentially relevant, they have to make decisions quickly, they have to then trust their intuitive judgment calls in the moment. They have to act. They’re constantly course-correcting based on data that’s coming up, and they’re very focused on some outcome, usually live—you know, survive. Don’t burn up. Don’t die.

But as soon as you’re not in a crisis, all the rest of the world floods into your psyche. Now you’re worried about taxes and tires and “I’m getting a cold” and “My printer just crapped out.” Now that flood is coming across in electronic form, and it is 24/7.....The thing about nature is, it’s information rich, but the meaningful things in nature are relatively few—berries, bears and snakes, thunderstorms, maybe poison oak. There are only a few things in nature that force me to change behavior or make a decision. The problem with e-mail is that it’s not just information; it’s the need for potential action. It’s the berries and snakes and bears, but they’re embedded, and you don’t know what’s in each one....Things on your mind need to be externalized—captured in some system that you trust. You capture things that are potentially meaningful; you clarify what those things mean to you; and you need maps of all that, so you can see it from a larger perspective. With better technology, I’d like a set of maps—maps of my maps. Then I could say, “Okay, which map do I want to work on right now? Do I want to work on my family map, because I’ve got family members coming over for dinner?” Then you can drill down into “Oh, my niece is coming. She likes this food, her favorite color is pink, her dog is named …” Then you can back off and say, “That’s enough of that map. What’s the next map I want to see?” Or: “I’d just like to read some poetry right now.”  [JCK: this is really an example of thinking in layers]
busy_work  course_correction  crisis  David_Allen  GTD  human_psyche  information_overload  James_Fallows  living_in_the_moment  mapping  mental_maps  metacognition  metadata  metaphysical  monotasking  productivity  nature  noise  overwhelmed  self-organization  sense-making  signals  stress_response  thinking  thinking_deliberatively 
november 2013 by jerryking
Activity Does Not Always Equal Productivity - NYTimes.com
October 11, 2013 | NYT | By TONY SCHWARTZ.

"Don't Confuse Motion and Progress"

We're more multitasking more today than you ever have before...
The real issue is whether you’re getting the right things done....what stands in the way of your being truly productive? What's the right balance between attending to what’s truly urgent and focusing on what’s less pressing but will most likely add the most enduring value.
(1) You need more sleep than you think, and maybe much more. 95 percent of us need at least seven to eight hours of sleep to feel fully rested.
(2) Do the most important thing first. The pull to e-mail is powerful and Pavlovian. By checking your e-mail first, you effectively turn over your agenda to others. It is far better to decide what your agenda ought to be the night before and make that the first thing you focus on at work, without interruption, for up to 90 minutes. If you must check e-mail when you get up because there are urgent messages, scan quickly for anything that truly cannot wait an hour. Answer those, ignore the rest, and then do what’s truly most important.
(3) Stop pushing through. Human beings are designed to operate in 90-minute cycles...By focusing more intensely for shorter periods, you’ll get more done, in less time, at a higher level of quality, more sustainably.
(4) Get it off your mind. With so much coming at us all the time, it’s hardly surprising that our instinctive default is to do whatever feels most urgent and easiest to address. The consequence, of course, is that we often keep putting off what’s most challenging and then lack the energy to do it by the time we finally get to it. BELIEVE IN LISTS, first and foremost as a means of downloading everything that’s on your mind to get it off your mind....keep all lists in one place. For example, what I want to do that day, over the next week, and in the longer term. I also keep a list of e-mails I need to send; calls I intend to make; ideas I want to explore further; issues I want to discuss with specific colleagues; and even things that are making me feel anxious... The other value I derive from detailed lists is that they help clarify what I ought not to be focused on. By having everything in one place, I can much more easily decide what’s truly important and what’s not. Half the value of having a list is to make it more obvious what not to do. I might have 50 to 100 items on my lists, but I typically give explicit priority to three or fewer in any given day.
(5) Make it matter. Finally, and simply, ask yourself a simple question before you begin any activity: “Is this the best way I could be spending my time?” If the answer is no, don’t do it. [JCK: that is, what really matters (so also, priorities)]
affirmations  busy_work  effectiveness  e-mail  GTD  lists  monotasking  multitasking  priorities  productivity  sleep  timeouts  To-Do  Tony_Schwartz  what_really_matters  work_life_balance 
october 2013 by jerryking

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