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Making Quick Choices to Manage Time Better

Making Quick Choices to Manage Time Better
Choices

    One aspect of life that eats into the time that we may have scheduled for other tasks is the process of decision making. Some of these decisions are small and trivial and have minimal effect on our lives and some of them are big decisions that have a bigger role to play in the larger perspective of life. Whether small or big, each of these decisions takes time and mind power to evaluate and process. One faces these myriad of choices at every step in a day. We face options as soon as we wake up. Should you relax in the bed for a few more minutes or should you get up immediately? More options once you are out of the bed. Should you have cereal for breakfast or an egg? Once you are on the road, you need to decide whether to take your normal route or take a detour and pick up your dry cleaned clothes on the way to work? At work, obviously there are thousands of work related decisions that one needs to make.

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    You will realize that some of these smaller decisions come extremely naturally to you. This happens because you have been doing certain things as part of your routine and they become a part and parcel of your life. You also know that these decisions will not have a major impact on your life and therefore are able to decide fast.

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    But what about the other decisions that you may think are more critical? Should you take up the new job offer? Should you speak to your boss and ask him for a more competitive job profile? Should you marry this guy? All these decisions have the potential to change the course of your life in a dramatic manner, which is why we tend to spend too much time delving over the various options that we have. The information over load at times makes things worse and does not help us by providing us with options galore. The millions of possibilities confuse us and do not aid us in decision making.

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    As we grow older, we feel that the number of decisions that we need to take seems to be increasing day by day. The reason why it happens is because as we grow, we tend to take more and more responsibilities and thus are expected to make more and more decisions at every step.

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    What we need to do in order to make decisions within our schedule of things is to ensure that we are not fickle minded and have a process by which we eliminate options that are not apt. Once the elimination process is complete, we have a lesser number of options to review. Then we can list down the pros and cons of these options and take a call. It is only natural that each option will have some cons attached to it and if we delve too much on them and do not take any decision, we will just ensure that time passes by without any action. The thing to do is to accept the cons of the option that seems best, decide and move to the next stage.

    This option of evaluation should be done for decisions that have an impact in our life. Taking so long to make decisions that have minimal impact will be wastage of time. So don’t be fickle minded, evaluate options methodically and get to the action stage because action is what will get you results. The path is only as important as you want it to be and there are various paths that will lead to the same goal. So make your choice fast and act!

    Vishal P. Rao share his insights and tips on holistic living at Relishing Life.

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    Last Updated on July 8, 2020

    What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

    What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

    Ah, Inbox Zero. An achievement that so many of us long for. It’s elusive. It’s a productivity benchmark. It’s an ongoing battle.

    It’s also unnecessary.

    Don’t get me wrong, the way Inbox Zero was initially termed is incredibly valuable. Merlin Mann coined the phrase years ago and what he has defined it as goes well beyond the term itself.[1]

    Yet people have created their own definition of Inbox Zero. They’re not using it with the intent that Mann suggested. Instead, it’s become about having nothing left in immediate view. It’s become about getting your email inbox to zero messages or having an empty inbox on your desk that was once filled with papers. It’s become about removing visual clutter.

    But it’s not about that. Not at all.

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    Here’s what inbox zero actually is, as defined by Mann:

    “It’s about how to reclaim your email, your atten­tion, and your life. That “zero?” It’s not how many mes­sages are in your inbox–it’s how much of your own brain is in that inbox. Especially when you don’t want it to be. That’s it.” – Merlin Mann

    The Fake Inbox Zero

    The sense of fulfillment one gets from clearing out everything in your inbox is temporary at best, disappointing at worst. Often we find that we’re shooting for Inbox Zero just so that we can say that we’ve got “everything done that needed to be done”. That’s simply not the case.

    Certainly, by removing all of your things that sit in your inbox means that they are either taken care of or are well on their way to being taken care of. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” is often applied to clearing out your inbox. But unless you’ve actually done something with the stuff, it’s either not worth having in your inbox in the first place or is still sitting in your “mental inbox”.

    You have to do something with the stuff, and for many people, that is a hard thing to do. That’s why Inbox Zero – as defined by Mann – is not achieved as often as many people would like to believe. It’s this “watered down” concept of Inbox Zero that is completed instead. You’ve got no email in your inbox and you’ve got no paper on your desk’s inbox. So that must mean you’re at Inbox Zero.

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    Until the next email arrives or the next document comes your way. Then you work to get rid of those as quickly as possible so that you can get back to Inbox Zero: The Lesser again. If it’s something that can be dealt with quickly, then you get there. But if they require more time, then soon you’ve got more stuff in your inboxes. So you switch up tasks to get to the things that don’t require as much time or attention so that you can get closer to this stripped down variation of Inbox Zero.

    However, until you deal with the bigger items, you don’t quite get there. Some people feel as if they’ve let themselves (or others) down if they don’t get there. And that, quite frankly, is silly. That’s why this particular version of Inbox Zero doesn’t work.

    The Ultimate Way to Get to Inbox Zero

    So what’s the ultimate way to get to Inbox Zero?

    Have zero inboxes.

    The inbox is meant to be a stop along the way to your final destination. It’s the place where stuff sits until you’re ready to put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it.

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    So why not skip the inbox altogether? Why not put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it? Because that requires immediate action. It means you need to give the item some thought and attention.

    You need to step back and look at it rather than file it. That’s why we have a catch-all inbox, both for email and for analog items. It allows us to only look at these things when we’re ready to do so.

    The funny thing is that we can decide when we’re ready to without actually looking at the inbox beforehand. We can look at things on our own watch rather than when we are alerted to or feel the need to.

    There is no reason why you need an inbox at all to store things for longer than it sits there before you see it. None. It’s a choice. And the choice you should be making is how to deal with things when you first see them, rather than when to deal with things you haven’t looked at yet.

    Stop Faking It

    Seeing things in your inboxes is simply using your sight. Looking at things in your inbox when you first see them is using insight.

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    Stop checking email more than twice per day. Turn off your alerts. Put your desk’s inbox somewhere that it can be accessed by others and only accessed by you when you’re ready to deal with what’s in it. Don’t put it on your desk – that’s productivity poison.

    If you want to get to Inbox Zero — the real Inbox Zero — then get rid of those stops along the way. You’ll find that by doing that, you’ll be getting more of the stuff you really want done finished much faster, rather than see them moving along at the speed of not much more than zero.

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    Featured photo credit: Web Hosting via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Merlin Mann: Inbox Zero

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