Tagged With time-wasters

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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Sticking to to-do lists with specific next actions can help you get things done, but we can all get lost along the way, whether in the wide-open playground of a browser or some other time sink. Productivity blogger Andre Kibbe suggests fighting a procrastination jones with a little self-awareness and a "Crutch Activities" checklist kept close at hand.

Instead of cursing yourself each time you find that you've spent 90 minutes in your inbox when you meant to check email for 10 minutes, add "Checking email" to your Crutch Activities checklist. Review and update the checklist regularly, and develop protocols, like batching, for controlling these impulses.

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The New York Times' Shifting Careers blog offers up five time management tricks, including Inbox Zero and unnecessary meetings, and strikes upon a truth of effective scheduling: Knowing your time-wasting weaknesses and laying down a firm policy against them.

Meeting people for lunch always derails me, yet for a while, I regularly met people for lunch. Then I got smart and instituted a fairly strong no lunch policy. Friends and colleagues teased me at first when I announced this. But they soon got used to my new approach, warming up to the idea of afternoon coffees ... Observe your schedule and notice the patterns you follow on your productive days. Then build a schedule around those patterns.

What kinds of meetings, activities or projects destroy your productivity (other than games, obviously), and how do you avoid them? Tell your stoic story in the comments.

5 Time-Management Tricks

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The New York Times has posted a profile of Tim Ferriss, author of The 4 Hour Workweek, that explores some of the extreme information-reducing methods we've covered before and balances some of the hype. While Ferriss is described as not exactly having a four-hour week himself, he counters with his own assessment of his method's success:

"If your definition of work is something primarily financially driven that you would like to do less of, like with my company, I spend far less than four hours a week on it," he said.

All that other stuff—lecturing at the corporate campuses of Google and PayPal, blogging incessantly on his www.fourhourworkweek.com—that's, well, "evangelizing," he said.

I don't necessarily follow Ferriss' logic on, for example, outsourcing email to free up time, but he raises a good point about the divide between financially driven "work" and business-related "pursuits."

Too Much Information? Ignore It