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Are You Using Time Differently In The Knowledge Economy?

Are You Using Time Differently In The Knowledge Economy?
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The saying used to be that “time is money,” with the thinking going that putting in more time will guarantee good results. A common example of this is the 10,000 hour idea put forth by Malcolm Gladwell and others. In short: if you want to master something, you need 10,000 hours of repetition at it. This would directly tie “time” (the hours) to “success” (mastery), but unfortunately, the 10,000 hour theory has been debunked by many.

Here’s a micro example: sometimes, a person will study for days and days (time) for a test, then do poorly (no success) on the test. How is this possible?

It is because results and success have less to do with time, and more to do with how productively you’re using the time — namely, how much attention you’re giving to receiving information and applying it appropriately.

The history of time

In the then agriculture-driven economy, time management wasn’t so important. Most people spent their days farming or tending to animals. Why would anything really need to be tracked, per se?

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Soon, the Industrial Revolution moved more people off farms and into factories. Now there was a reason to track time. The evolution of the 40 hour work week (around the mid-1920s) made time a huge commodity. Time was, essentially, the new money. To get paid your hourly wages (actual money), you had to track time. Your value was quite literally tied to the hours you put in.

    The current economy has been described often as “The Knowledge Economy.” It’s much less about the number of hours put in (although people still work a lot), and much more about the amount of knowledge you can acquire and transform into something better.

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      The problem: many management approaches still are focused on the time side. Consider the idea of “seat time.” Most places in the first world are WiFi-enabled, so many Knowledge Economy workers can work from anywhere. They can access emails and files via the cloud. But lots of bosses are obsessed with “seat time,” or seeing the employees physically in a place near them. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s rooted in the “time is money” economy.

      Right now, many companies are focused more on employees being in a specific place for a specific period of time, instead of how to increase focus, energy, and delivery of high-impact tasks. And what’s worse: the “time is money” attitude stresses out employees majorly.

      Manage your energy and attention, not your time

      For as long as we can predict, time will continue to tick on at the same rate, but what actually fluctuates on a day-to-day basis is how much energy and attention you have — in the Knowledge Economy, that’s what makes or breaks how productive you are, and more important, it’s something you can actually control.

      Time is a necessity of work and of nature, but as far as productivity is concerned, it should merely be the backdrop against which you work.

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      Consider the sheer idea of the 9-to-5 workday. Today, when productivity is about what you accomplish and not how much you produce, a nine-to-five workday makes as much sense as diligently tracking your time out on the farm. After all, what if your Biological Prime Time falls when you’re not working, and you have the most energy from 6 to 9 a.m., or from 7 to 11 p.m.? Or what if you have trouble focusing because you’re trying to multitask on a million things at once? Or what if you’re constantly bombarded by distractions and interruptions?

      People — all workers — are different. And if the goal is productive output, we need to understand and respect that.

      When we schedule time for something, what we’re actually doing is simply deciding when we will invest our attention and energy into the task. That’s where time management should fit into the productivity equation. Managing your time becomes important only after you understand how much energy and focus you will have throughout the day and define what you want to accomplish.

      It’s much less about the time involved, and much more about the output.

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        So how can we work less and get more? 

        If your workplace has flexible working hours, make use of that. Have enough rest and come in ready to work so that you are at your optimum performance. During the day, take short breaks to disconnect. The optimal human ratio for work is 52 minutes on, 17 minutes off. 

        Schedule, but schedule differently: I schedule my entire day, and I’ve found that doing so makes me incredibly productive—especially when I form a strong intention about what I’m going to get done. But I only ever plan out my day after I account for how much attention and energy I will have, and most important, what I intend to accomplish.

        Consider “focus days” where your entire focus is high-level, big projects and new learning. Block your calendar out so no one can throw meetings on it and stir up distractions.

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        Remember that the goal of the Knowledge Economy is different from the goal of the initial Industrial Economy. Now your time needs to be productive, not just a set amount of hours, so move towards that.

        Featured photo credit: http://www.theindependentbd.com/printversion/details/73926 via theindependentbd.com

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        Brian Lee

        Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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        Last Updated on June 1, 2021

        10 Effective Ways To Make You a Fast Learner

        10 Effective Ways To Make You a Fast Learner
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        The importance of learning cannot be underestimated. Learning empowers us to fulfill our ideas and realize our full potential. The speed of gaining new knowledge is practically as important as its volume. Who wouldn’t love to remember tons of information as quickly as possible?

        If you want to start learning faster, you need a new approach towards the process which would enable you to comprehend the essence of the matter and relate it with new concepts you encounter.

        The following 10 tips will help you become a fast learner:

        1. Analyze Your Learning Style

        Before you can start experimenting with different studying methods, you need to understand what type of learner you are:

        Is your memory associated to sound?

        Maybe you can remember what you were reading when a particular song was playing? If this is your case, then you fall into the category of auditory learners.

        If you want to start studying more efficiently, then it would be wise to record the lectures and listen to them instead of reading textbooks.

        Do you relate information to visual content?

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        If you are a visual learner, you should implement images, graphs, charts, infographics, colorful lists, flashcards, and other types of visual content when you study.

        Are you a physical learner?

        If your learning style is not auditory or visual, then you might be a physical learner. Some students have too much energy; they tap their feet or play with a pen during lectures.

        A walk before a lecture will calm your nerves down. You can try studying or listening to audio lectures during a walk. That will help you remember the information more quickly.

        2. Use the Right EdTech Tools

        Technology has the power of making everything easier. There are plenty of websites, online tools, and smartphone/tablet apps that will boost your skills of planning, writing, time management and brainstorming, etc.

        One way of improving your productivity is using flashcards. You can make your own cards, but you can also download pre-made kits online:

        • StudyBlue is one of the best online destinations when it comes to creating and discovering flashcards from all areas of study.
        • If you are looking for a tool that makes the process of brainstorming more effective, then you should try PapersGear.
        • You also need the SelfControl app, which will eliminate all distractions when you need to stay focused.
        • Quizlet is another website you should bookmark; it offers study tools that will transform the learning process into a fun activity.
        • Notella is an app that will help you take quick notes at any time.
        • Brainscape is an educational platform that makes complex subjects easy by relying on cognitive science.
        • You can also try Dragon Dictation, especially if you are an audio learner.

        3. Train Your Brain to Accept New Information

        Efficient studying is a habit. Your brain needs constant training if you want to improve your focus and complete complex tasks without taking breaks.

        One way to achieve this goal is to create a private learning space in your home. You’ll also need a specific time of day that you’ll devote to studying. That will make your brain ready to accept the information it gets, so you’ll notice you’re starting to learn much faster by the day.

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        4. Get Some Exercise

        You are aware of the fact that physical activity is good for your body, but your brain needs it too!

        Light exercise, such as yoga, can help you learn much faster. If you are inactive throughout the day, your body will want to move, so it will be difficult for you to stay focused.

        If, on the other hand, you canalize your energy through light training sessions, you will be ready to study productively.

        5. Work on the Ambiance

        If you have a noisy neighborhood or a working environment full of distractions, you won’t be able to learn or study no matter how hard you try.

        If you want to learn quickly, you need a quiet, distraction-free environment that won’t disturb the mind in any way. Such a peaceful place will set you in learning mode as soon as you find yourself in it.

        6. Take a Lot of Notes

        Only few people are capable of remembering information as they read it. If you don’t belong to this category of privileged learners, then you absolutely need to start taking notes.

        This simple learning method will force you to think about the essence of the material. It will also give you a nice framework that will help you review the things you’ve learned.

        Write down only the most important information. That will help you remember all the other things you’ve learned.

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        Here’re some tips to take notes effectively: Why Successful People Take Notes And How to Make It Your Habit

        7. Make Mind Maps

        Mind maps are among the best tools to speed up the learning process. Your mind will process information effectively if you create a visual representation of the things you’re about to learn.

        You can create a nice mind map in the old-school way: take a large sheet of paper and organize all facts and explanations. Use pictures, note-cards, and other symbols you can think of. Group similar items together and connect them with colorful pens.

        Some tips mind-mapping here: How to Mind Map: Visualize Your Cluttered Thoughts in 3 Simple Steps

        Of course, you can also use an online mind mapping tool if you want to save yourself some time.

        8. Experiment with Memorization Methods

        Memorizing is often misused in the process of studying. Some people memorize whole sentences, paragraphs and lectures without grasping their essence.

        However, memorization can be useful when you need to learn definitions and classifications really quickly. Don’t avoid this technique if you want to fill your brain with information without wasting any time.

        Try this if you want to memorize more and faster: How to Memorize More and Faster Than Other People

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        9. Find the Right Context

        Memorization works solely in times of urgency. If you want to learn in the most effective manner, then you need to have context for information.

        Find an aspect that’s interesting for you; try to research for related information, and you’ll discover the joy of learning.

        The first step? Jot down as much information and as many ideas as possible: How Simply Jotting Down Ideas Can Make You Smarter

        With time, this practice will make you a faster learner.

        10. Study Every Day

        It will take some time before you get used to a daily studying routine, but your mind will eventually grasp the habit.

        The more frequently you study, the less time it will take for you to remember the things you read.

        If you start studying as soon as possible after you have learned some new concepts, it won’t take long at all for you to get ready for an exam. Now that sounds really good, doesn’t it?

        More to Help You Learn Quicker

        Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

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