Life can be hectic sometimes – no new story there. Trying to balance multiple deadlines, projects and meetings can be difficult – not to mention a social life and everyday responsibilities.
I know from experience. Working 30 hours a week last semester, while taking a full course load, nearly incited a nervous breakdown. If it weren’t for effective time management and efficiency techniques, my brain would have been toast. Burnt toast.
Luckily for me, I have happened to accumulate a few tricks over the years. These are tools that have helped preserve my sanity and my GPA at the same time.
The Pareto Principle is often known as the 80/20 rule, and basically states 80 percent of your success stems from 20 percent of your efforts.
Think about it and you’ll be able to identify which of your efforts are really gaining you the most rewards. Focus your time on those.
This principle is immensely valuable because it can be applied to all types of scenarios. If you use it the next time you’re overrun with projects, you’ll be able to prioritize in a way that maximizes your time and energy.
Fredkin’s Paradox is more of a quote than a tool per se, but an incredibly useful one. For anyone who suffers from extreme indecisiveness like I do, it can be exceedingly helpful.
It states: “The more equally attractive two alternatives seem, the harder it can be to choose between them – no matter that, to the same degree, the choice can only matter less.”
In other words, if you’re having a tough time coming to a decision, it’s most likely because one choice doesn’t offer any clear advantage over the other. Just flip a coin already, and be done with it. Then celebrate with all that time you’ve just saved yourself.
Parkinson’s Law gives permission to stop obsessing and worrying about every last detail. This law explains how work will expand to fill the time allotted to it, making you work harder, not smarter.
Extra time most often fills itself with anxiety and tension, not productivity. That project you’re working on is only going to grow in complexity if you spend two days on it when all it really needs for a solid framework is two hours.
Usually the best solutions are the simplest, which you’ll never find if you’re busy climbing mountains that should be molehills.
While I am not some sort of time-management guru or project-efficiency expert, my credentials are that I, probably just like you, am a very busy individual. These are tried and true methods, and they can bring you the same success they have brought me.
Besides, nervous breakdowns are so overrated.