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In 2012, a LinkedIn poll showed that approximately 90% of professionals don't accomplish everything they planned to do for the day.
Think of the time you have available in a day as pie: you can only get so many slices out of it, and the more tasks you take on, the smaller the slices that you can afford to give to each task get.
The key is to determine which ones are most important - and importantly, to not spend MORE time on prioritising tasks, then actually doing them.
Remember Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule. This rule says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts, so directing your energy to the right area is crucial. (We’ll dive into a number of prioritisation techniques on the next page.)
We tend to be optimistic when it comes to estimating how long it will take us to complete our homework or assignment. So, just to be safe, it's a good idea to break down your estimate according to what's known as a three-point estimate:
a) a best-case estimate
b) a most likely estimate
b) a worst-case estimate
Add them together, and then divide by three - this is likely to be a pretty accurate estimate to work with.
They’re famous last words that you might be familiar with in some form or another:
‘I can totally write a 3000 word essay in a day.’
And sure, maybe you CAN – with a liberal supply of coffee and not enough sleep – but that doesn’t mean you should.
Similarly, for the overachievers among us, it can be tempting to say ‘yes’ to every opportunity that comes our way. You pile on volunteering; sports and music classes; extracurricular after extracurricular; agree to help your uncle set up his new computer or help your friend move houses; decide you should really be learning a new language on top of it all; until finally, you get completely overwhelmed 😭
Factoring in time for rest and self-care is just as important as factoring in time for work and study.
Otherwise, you’ll gradually become less productive and effective even when you are sitting down to work, and find yourself at severe risk of burn-out. So even if it’s just a short walk, a bubble bath, or one episode of your favourite TV show, make time for what makes you happy and calm.