You’re constantly moving from morning to night but it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day. That feeling may come from your task list looking infinite. To combat that, focus on clearing up your “cognitive bandwidth”, rather than getting more done.
Photo by Z S.
As productivity author Tony Crabbe points out to the BBC, much of our work in the modern world revolves around knowledge, rather than manual labour. If you worked on a farm, there’s only so many hours of daylight and so much land to take care of. You know precisely when you’re done. Your email inbox, however, always replenishes itself and it knows no down time. This can lead to a sense of futility in trying to “finish” your work. Behavioural scientist Eldar Shafir describes this as a problem of cognitive bandwidth. In other words, you only have so much you can focus on throughout the day:
Feelings of scarcity, whether money or time, prey on the mind, thereby impairing decision-making. When you’re busy, you’re more likely to make poor time-management choices — taking on commitments you can’t handle, or prioritising trifling tasks over crucial ones. A vicious spiral kicks in: your feelings of busyness leave you even busier than before.
In reality, you might not actually be working more hours than usual. You’re just stressed because the list feels endless. To combat this, give yourself hours of the day where you close the email tab, move away from the desk and unplug. Even if it feels like you’re losing productive hours, you can’t always finish your work just by throwing more hours at it.
Why you feel busy all the time (when you’re actually not) [BBC Futura via ManMade DIY]