We only take time for things that are important to us
So if you take the time to surf the Internet, watch Netflix or television or play computer games in the evening, you care enough to make time for it. Now you might ask why we manage to take so much time for a job that doesn’t fulfill us or even totally annoys us. My answer will probably provoke you, maybe even make you angry, but please be patient with me and take your time to think about the following statement:
Where you are, you want to be.
What??? Am I really telling you that you want to be in this job?
Yes! That’s exactly what I’m saying!
Now, before you close this tab, let me just add something:
Where you are, you want to be. Because all other options, if you thought about it, were too “expensive” for you.
You don’t have to do your job. But you do. Probably for the money. Or for the secure pension (if you’re a civil servant). In your head, or at least in your subconscious, the following thought has often circulated: “Oh, I should give up all this crap and start something new. Hm, but then I won’t earn any money. And I have to figure out what I want to do differently. I have to apply, establish myself, maybe even move or learn something new first. Phew, it all sounds so exhausting and uncertain. I’d rather do my stupid job on my salary. I think I’d rather stay a little longer and postpone the decision.
What happens here in the mind is a weighing up of the costs of different options, where the word “costs” refers not only to money but also to time, effort, uncertainty, learning, etc. So the claim that you are exactly where you want to be is correct. You could change it at any time, but that is just too “expensive” for you.
A task always takes as much time as you give it
Have you ever noticed that you usually don’t finish a task until the deadline, no matter how much time you have? If we have too much time, we usually postpone the task until the pressure is great enough to finally act (I’m just saying: tax return). On the other hand, has everybody ever experienced that a task that is too little time for (e.g. because you remember one day before the deadline that the task has not even been started) is then especially well done? This is because the time pressure makes you much more pragmatic, you can’t afford distractions and dead ends, and you focus completely on getting the job done. When I was working at the university, I often told my diploma theses: you don’t need more time, you need a deadline. And most of them proved me right afterward.
So keep the time for your tasks to a challenging minimum. So much so that it is just barely possible to get it done without any fuss. You don’t know how creative you can get in such a moment. Of course, you shouldn’t do this all the time, because it also means stress. But don’t say: “In the next two weeks I’ll take care of my company logo” but rather: “Tonight at 8:00 p.m. I’ll take two hours to develop an idea for a company logo, look at three suppliers and commission my favorite to do a design”. Or “This weekend I’m going to approach fifty people on the street to get feedback on my business idea.”
Achieve 80% of your results in 20% of your time.
You would need another 80% of your time/energy/money to reach the last 20% of your score, but this is not necessary for 95% of all tasks.
This important principle was developed by the economist Vilfredo Pareto (15.7.1848-19.08.1923) He found out that many tasks can be completed with a resource input of about 20% so that 80% of all problems are solved. This 20/80 distribution can also be found in many distributions. For example, about 20% of humanity owns 80% of the assets, 20% of customers often provide 80% of the turnover, 20% of products provide 80% of sales, etc.
Make use of this insight to use your energy efficiently, both in your professional life and in your private everyday life.
At any given moment there are only a few important tasks
At any given time, there are always only a small number of tasks that are urgent and important. At the same time, there is always any number of tasks that are unnecessary, but which one would like to do to have the satisfying feeling of being “busy”.
Think about your work for a moment: If you add up all the time that you are really productive in a day, how many hours or minutes does it add up to? How much time do you waste on things that neither