Hacking Time -- A personal journey through the Pareto Principle and Parkinson's Law

in #life7 years ago (edited)

Have you ever wished there was more time in the day?  I know I have.

It can be argued that time is our most precious commodity, and our greatest gift.  Time is elusive, mysterious, and untouchable.  The time it takes to read this sentence is something you can never get back, and although the brightest minds in the world struggle to define what exactly time is, and if it even exists, one thing is certain.

There never seems to be enough of it. 

I'll admit it, I'm slightly obsessed with time.  I want time to be infinite.  I want to live forever.

Through this obsession, many hours of time that I will never get back have been spent on learning what exactly it is, how to waste less of it, create more of it, and essentially, have control over it.  

Time is Elastic

One of the most amazing things about time, is that it's elastic.  It constricts and expands depending on the day, circumstances, distractions, and events.  Remember that time you waited until the last minute to finish a project or assignment, and magically pulled it off?  Or that time you had all day long to finish one simple task and barely got it done?  What we achieve is rarely a product of time itself, but instead a product of our motivation and priorities.  This gives a real world example of the following...

Parkinson's Law

Is a famous, and succinct adage that states: "Work expands so as to fill the time available for it's completion". 

Basically that means that few of us are as efficient and productive as we can be on a day to day basis.  There's probably a lot of physics and psychology that play into this phenomenon which is beyond the scope of this post, so I will try to summarize it like this:  The less time you give yourself to complete a task, the more productive you will be.  Set a deadline and make it optimistic.  If you think something will take an hour to complete, give yourself 30 minutes.  You'll be surprised how focused, motivated, and efficient you'll become.

Pareto Principle - aka The 80/20 rule of Time and Life Management

Another eye opening idea that changed how I live, and occupy my time is called the Pareto principle.  It's definition is a little harder to nail down, but for the purpose of this blog post, it basically says that: " 80% of your results come from 20% of the time you invest".

This principle can be applied to just about anything.  

For example, 80% of your profit on Steem probably comes from 20% of your upvotes. 

Or 80% of your stress in life probably comes from 20% of the people in it.

The possibilities go on and on... but to make it work for you, and your life the bottom line is this:  Prioritize and focus on the most important things that need to be completed on that day, and in that moment.  

I hope you enjoyed this post and some of my thoughts and experiences with time.  It's a mystery that fascinates me, and one I will talk about in even more depth in the future.  Any comments and additional insight are welcome, as I'm always trying to expand my knowledge and expertise.  Please follow me if you are interested in reading more in future posts.

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Timing issues are take a lot of place in my mind currently. It was very nice to be reminded of those simple phenomenon in such enjoyable way.
I really need to remind myself from time to time that time is elastic, this was a fresh thing to me. Not that I didn't know it, but sometimes in life we have a "click" when we read or learn something at the right time.
As this is a great post, I would like to include your post in my TOP5 Lucky Find Psychology articles for today! :)

Happy to hear that this post found you at the right time, and it's nice to know you found it enjoyable to read as well! I would be honored if you included this in your post of top 5 lucky find psychology articles today. Thank you for such kind words!

i would love to hack some time! lol
thanks for this post

Same here, haha I wish we could do more!

Thanks for reading and commenting, I really appreciate the feedback.

I've always felt like this phenomenon was especially present in my life, but it's really nice to finally know its name as a "scientific" principle. Thanks for the post!

It would be great to optimize time, every time.

Yes it would! Since I've joined Steem it seems there truly is never enough time in the day.

Thank you so much! Really happy that you enjoyed it enough to share it :)

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