Why are you reading this post? Was your decision to read this post justified?
Most people are extraordinarily bad at time management. We incessantly commit to tasks that add little value without knowing it. We’re worse at it than we think! Why? Here’s why…
Most people don’t do retrospectives. How often do you look back and think about how productive you’ve been? The best of us do it once a day.
Your memory does a really good job of compressing your experience. It’ll keep the good and the bad and throw out all the other junk in the middle that doesn’t matter. For those doing end-of-day retrospectives, you’d measure productivity mostly by how many good and bad things were accomplished or incurred during the day. And this is what the brain remembers well. That’s good, right? That’s what we care about.
Let’s talk about all that junk in the middle that doesn’t matter. Does it really not matter? Turns out that it DOES matter because this is where you’d lose productivity. The work leading up to those memorable achievements will happen here. You’re not going to remember if you were working diligently and efficiently or you were switching back to Reddit every few minutes, however these are things that affect your productivity the most.
So, what can we do?
In addition to reflecting on your productivity at some later point, set a few reminders throughout the week at random intervals to check up on your efficiency in real-time. You’ll notice some surprising things, like that an email you sent a few minutes ago that took way too long to write. Or, you were on Facebook when you could’ve been doing something better (naughty!). Really dig in to the “why” of what you were doing right before you saw the reminder. Ask yourself if your reasons for doing this were in line with your priorities.
I implore you to try it out and gauge your results. Were you surprised by how inefficient you’ve been?