3 Surprising Science-Backed Ways to Find More Time Today

sciencemoretime

Somehow, time is your enemy, while more time is also a luxury.

Things weren’t much different a few centuries ago in 1682, when William Penn wrote: “Time is what we want most, but what, alas! we use worst.

Understanding our strange relationship with time simply helps us manage it better. When you feel like you have time, the world opens up. You’re motivated to act and explore on the one hand, and savor and breathe, on the other.

Contrast that when you feel like you don’t have enough time. It’s stressful and taxing and you start making decisions based on that anxious feeling of lack. It might mean reaching for the quick, unhealthy snack rather than your usual walk and putting those non-urgent (but important) activities that nourish and enrich you, like exercise, personal projects, and relationships, on hold.

Since how you think about time affects the reality of how you spend it, the ability to influence that perception can be incredibly powerful. Here are three surprising methods, backed by research, that will help expand your sense of time and motivate better decisions about how you use it.

Continue Reading

How to Stop Life from Passing You By: the Weird Science of Stretching Time

image

One unnerving aspect of getting older is how life seems to start speeding up. Feeling that whoosh as time rushes past you can be disheartening as you wonder where the days, or months, or even years go.

Yet we’re not doomed to march to time’s relentless beat. Your sense of time is weird and pliable — stretching, compressing, coming to a standstill. And you can mold it, to some extent, to move to your own beat.

When you encounter the familiar, time seems to constrict and when you acquire new knowledge, it expands. Neuroscientist David Eagleman explains:

Time is this rubbery thing…. It stretches out when you really turn your brain resources on, and when you say, “Oh, I got this, everything is as expected,” it shrinks up.

That relationship between time’s elasticity and whether your brain is processing new information gets at why time seems to turn up the tempo as we age. As the world starts to become more familiar, we learn less and sometimes even seek information and experiences that fit within what we already know. There’s less adventure, play, exploration, creativity, and wonder to invite and engage with newness.

The way you spend your time influences how you perceive it. So the choices you make about what to do now impacts how you’ll manage your time later. Here are two ways to make your days richer and more memorable so that your sense of time expands and life doesn’t pass you by.

Continue Reading

Do What Is Important

Whenever I realize I’ve been running ragged, I know I’ve fallen into a rut of reactive rather than proactive work. Instead of going about my day steered by plans and intentions, the unstable “whatever comes up” gets to dictate my day.

This schedule of working deadline to deadline, fighting fires and flying by the seat of your pants racks up time debt. You’re borrowing from other areas of your life like spending time with your family or on your wellbeing.

Humans tend to be bad at understanding how we’ll feel in the future. In our mind’s Pollyannaish eye, the future is a world of order and excellence in which you exercise everyday, you don’t bring work home with you, you finally learn Spanish, you catch up with that friend you haven’t spoken to in forever. In reality, something always comes up, there is always something to do.

Continue Reading

How to Do a Time and Motion Study to Make Real Change

image

“The unexamined life is not worth living,” said the great management thinker Socrates.

Every day, people say that they’ll change. At the beginning of every year, millions make resolutions. Most do this without data, hypotheses or any idea of what they’re going to do differently. And they wonder why nothing really changes.

Intention without information is powerless. To misquote great management thinker, Albert Einstein, doing the same thing and hoping for a different result is the definition of inefficiency.

This is where the personal time and motion study can help. In summary, it goes like this:

Continue Reading

Rethinking Productivity as Choreography

image

Despite the profusion — or distraction — of helpful productivity advice, sometimes I feel like I’m trying to squeeze my working style into systems that just won’t fit. That’s why I appreciate ways of thinking about productivity that encourage you to align how you work with your natural inclinations and rhythms.

When you’re stressing about how you’re not getting enough done, it’s easy to stop listening to yourself and to ignore those rhythms. Psychiatrist Dr. T. Byram Karasu points out the cost of such heedlessness:

Like all of nature, human beings are biologically programmed. Our psyche’s interference with the physical rhythms and cycles is detrimental to our bodies, only to be negatively resonated, in return. This vicious circle is a distinctly human phenomenon. No other living creature steps out of pace with nature and survives. Chronobiology (the biology of time) asserts that our bodies have an internal rhythm or music, which we not only can but should tune in to.

Being productive isn’t about a continuous, speedy march from waking to sleeping, though it can certainly feel that way. What if instead, the ideal was not just about crushing your to-do lists but attunement, aiming not for time and task management but for tempo management?

Continue Reading

The 3-Part Recipe to Stop Working Around the Clock and Beat the Rat Race

image

Humans are not machines.

This is stating the obvious, but the obvious hasn’t seemed to sink in. We organize our work days as if we were machines, never turning off even when we get home.

These work habits are erroneous, unhelpful, and unhealthy.

When the Huffington Post polled 1,000 people on their work habits and routines, the results show just how far we’ve tilted the scales to a machine-like existence:

  • 60% take 20 minutes or less for lunch.
  • 25% never leave their desk.
  • 66% fail to take their allotted vacation
  • 25% leave at least a week’s worth of vacation unused each year

And to top it all off, 33 percent spend less than half an hour a day completely disconnected from email.

This isn’t a sustainable work style.

Continue Reading

Want to Be More Productive? Design a Better Break

What do you do when you take a break during your workday?

When I ask people this question, most of them tell me they get on their smartphones or visit various websites:  news publications, Facebook, Instagram, and other online sources of information and entertainment. There’s nothing wrong with doing that — sometimes looking at pictures of cute baby animals is exactly what you need to get through the afternoon.

image

But have you ever thought “I’ll just check Facebook for a couple of minutes” and then look up shocked to realize a half hour has gone by? Or notice after catching up with news or social media that you’re returning to work feeling more tired or unfocused than you did before your break?

Continue Reading

Why Teams with Time Style Diversity Are Stronger

image

When it comes to teams, difference is good. If we were all the same, we might as well be replaced with a bunch of robots.

If a team doesn’t come to conflict, it seldom reaches its potential. Without conflict, teams become stagnant, which affects overall morale, productivity and frankly, your bottom line.

Here are a couple quick reasons how contrasting working styles can be an advantage:

Continue Reading

Making Happiness a Habit: The Best of the Internet

bearHappy Friday! Catch up with the best of what we’ve shared on the interwebs this week! 

Why you should stop keeping score at work.

You have to fight to make your distributed team a competitive advantage. And your right to party.

How to attack the dark heart of mismanagement and chronic stress.

Don’t be a Productivity Pinocchio.

Make happiness a habit.

imageDundee’s Tip of the Week: Display a list of entries over a span of time by clicking and dragging over the days you want show on your iDoneThis calendar. Your chain of progress will show up in the right! You go, you!

Boost Your Productivity! The Best of the Internet

keep goingHappy Friday! Catch up with the best of what we’ve shared on the interwebs this week! 

Priorities that come in threes are the magical productivity boost. Triorities!

How WooThemes makes distributed culture succeed.

70% of organizational change efforts fail.

The 3 basic elements of productivity and happiness.

4 Lies to stop telling yourself about productivity.

Quality is not a tradeoff.

imageDundee’s Tip of the Week: We’re hiring! Looking for a software engineer that loves to help people get stuff done. Head over to our posting.