This is why we should have less 🙋
A counterintuitive way to have more time and ideas
In the next few minutes, you’re going to learn three ways of having more ideas, preserving more time, and making decisions faster.
This week’s ideas are taken from Neil Pasricha’s The Happiness Equation. How does having less actually lead to gaining more?
Less thinking gives you more ideas
Have you ever had a lightbulb moment when you’re not even trying? Or while you’re in the bathroom? There’s a science behind that.
Your brain has several modes, one of them being the default mode network. To put it simply, this is our brain when we’re not engaged in tasks that require concentration such as paying attention or analyzing problems.
When we disengage from work, our brain switches to this mode. It goes daydreaming, pondering the past and the future, recalling memories; all the things we think about without a specific goal.
In this relaxed state, our brain often comes up with ideas.
Even some of the greatest inventions were born out of this situation.
Albert Einstein invented his theory of relativity after getting lost in thoughts. Isaac Newton theorized his theory of gravity when resting under an apple tree. Archimedes discovered his infamous Archimedes Principle when taking a bath.
The next time you feel stuck or run out of ideas—take a step back, relax, and let your mind wander; you’d be surprised what will come to you.
(You might want to check out our tips on boosting your productivity through effortless daily habits!)
Less time gives you more time
We assume you’re familiar with deadlines. We also assume at some point in your life, you've left things until the last minute, and somehow finished it in record time.
After all, as the saying goes, the ultimate inspiration is the deadline.
What does it actually tell us?
“Work expands to fill the time available for its completion. The less time available, the more effort you put in. There is no choice. The deadline is right there.”
In this instance, time acts like water. It fills the available space. You assign a week to work on a task, it will be done in a week. You assign a day, it will finish in a day. You assign an hour—that will be a hectic and busy hour, but it gets done in an hour.
Instead of burdening yourself with a week of trying to get things done, finish them quicker. Free up six days worth of space. Use them for anything else. Take a vacation, or simply bask in the satisfaction of tackling another deadline.
Having more time kills productivity. Move deadlines up. Finish tasks in half the time. Thank yourself later.
Less choice gives you quick decisions
Who doesn’t love having a lot of choices? A row of various groceries from various brands, a long list of tourist attractions for the next vacation, a huge selection of takeout menu…
It makes you feel good, because you are in control and have the freedom to choose whichever you prefer.
But how many times did you end up buying the same thing? How many times did you end up not buying anything at all, or worse, making a bad decision?
Say hello to decision fatigue. The many options we talked about earlier? That is exactly what tires you in the first place.
Having more choices means more time evaluating, weighing, scrutinizing, and rethinking over. Your brain is wired to make decisions for you, but even it has its limit.
“Fewer choices mean faster decisions. Our brains don’t need to mentally step into each new option and stretch out inside them, picturing them, evaluating them … while we step into the next option.”
Decision fatigue is real. When you’re tired enough of evaluating every option, you end up with the same decision you’ve made before, a bad decision, or give up making a choice entirely.
Cut off your options. Spare yourself the time and energy. Make decisions faster.
Thanks for being with us. We hope these tips help you in gaining more time, ideas, and saving you from that tiring decision-making.
(We wrote this post in a last-minute panic as well, but that’s only fair.)
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