Work Smarter, Not Harder

We are often told to work hard to get to where we want to get to in life. Sometimes actually getting there is a counter-intuitive approach. The ability for the human mind to focus or consume energy has set limits that should yield diminishing returns when exceeded.

Effective energy(time) usage.

There is an approximated attention span of 10 to 20 minutes for teenagers and adults. Obviously this attention span is largely dependent on numerous other factors. There is also the option to “refocus” on the given task at end once attention drifts to other places. To compensate correctly for the precious resources of focus, it is important to space sessions out.

For example, when picking up a new skill that must eventually be recalled, it will be more effective to study the task 20-60 minutes a day. This is in contrast to the stereotypical attempt to “cram” in the information within 2 hours a day before the recalling the information may be in order.

This form of learning is called spaced repetition

I recommend reading that first and then progressing from there. I have begun using the software called Anki and have had successful results so far.

Planning ahead.

One of my new favorite quotes since the summer has begun was one from Abraham Lincoln. It goes as such…

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

– Lincoln

The power of planning ahead can not be underestimated. When we are within the thick and thin of a situation without adequate planning, we can only rely of our limited intuition of our circumstances. Sadly, this makes for half-baked assignments, artwork, projects, etc.

Recurring tasks

Very rarely does one get a “flash of inspiration”. Rather it is a consistent commitment or “grind” where the creativity is cultivated and utilized.

It is by telling ourselves to create in the ignoring the fear that it will never be worth our time.

For it is up to us at the end of the day, to decide what will bring us meaning… not what others tell us.

– Michael Navazhylau