Hundreds of ways to complete S#!+-but we still don’t have


Certain things about the future will defeat our imagination. Tim Pychyl, a psychologist who studies procrastination at Carleton University, said: “The present self overwhelms the future self.” He said that we treat our future selves as strangers. Dumping a lot of work on his legs. On some weird level, we don’t understand that this is what we did.

A student of Pychyl recently tried a clever experimental technique to reduce procrastination. This student led undergraduates in a guided meditation exercise in which they imagined themselves at the end of the semester—meeting their future self. “Look,” Pychyl said. These people “have more empathy for their future selves, which is related to the reduction of procrastination.” They realize that time is not infinite. In the future, they are no longer strangers, but people in need of protection. In order to get us out of trouble, we seem to need to deal with the finiteness of time on earth.

This is the black metal nature of task management: every time you write a task for yourself, you are deciding how to spend a few key moments in the most non-renewable resource you have: your life. Every to-do list is ultimately related to death. (“Do you love life?” Ben Franklin wrote. “Then don’t waste time, because time is made of life.”)

I began to suspect that this is the real deep, arterial source of some of the emotions surrounding the to-do list. The person who made the to-do app agrees with me. “What should this kind of software do?” Patel, the creator of Workflowy, asked rhetorically. “It should answer the question,’What should I do now to achieve all my life goals?’ The scarcest resource many of us have is time.”

Ryder Carroll is the creator of the Bullet Journal’s paper-based organization and work method, and he uses more distinct existential terms to express it. “Every task is an experience waiting to be born,” he told me. “When you look at your task list like this, it’s like, this will be your future.” (Or if you want the European literary philosophy perspective, this is Umberto Eco: “We like lists because we don’t want to die.”)

No wonder we are so paralyzed! The risk of PowerPoint is really not that high.

Considering that life is made up of time, the entire task management philosophical authority believes that a mere list is always inherently terrifying. As Pychyl showed, we were overloaded with things we couldn’t accomplish and created a shame list because it is difficult for us to grasp how little time we actually have. According to this line of thinking, the only solution is to use an organizational system that itself consists of time: the calendar.

Instead of putting tasks in a list, you “time block” and put each task as a work block in the calendar. This way you can immediately see that you are biting more than chewing. Carl Newport, a computer scientist at Georgetown University and a master of what he calls “deep work”, may be the most staunch supporter of time congestion. Newport told me: “I think it is undeniable that time is blocked. If done well, it will blow the list method out of the water.” He said that this makes your work twice as efficient as those fools who rely on lists. . Time obstruction forces us to fight directly with the angel of death. Naturally, we worry less.

Several research mission researchers told me that they generally agree that time limits can avoid problems with to-do applications and lists. Reclaim, a to-do application, actually has an artificial intelligence that can estimate how long each task will take and find a gap in your calendar. (The secret is to tell you that there is not much space there.) “Not only will we tell you when the task expires, we will tell you go Said Patrick Lightbody, co-founder of Reclaim.


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