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Time and efficiency

  1. Jul 5, 2008 #1
    Does anyone else struggle with the loss of time?

    Each day I end up wasting at least 4-5 hours to unproductive causes[activities for which I did not allot my time]. Like today at 6 PM, I decided not to watch movie and do some work. But, for some unknown crazy reasons, I end up wasting 4 hours [ I could have watched a movie and get more happiness/utility]. At 10:54 PM, I really started worrying about it and tried to stop wasting time. Now it is 11:44 PM, and I still not doing anything. This happens very often when I want to do something but I have no control over myself. All I do is document the possible reasons: I still don't know how to avoid these bad days.

    Currently, I am providing 6 hours for leisure (two 2 hrs movies /week).

    I have about 16 hours day on average and I am 50% efficient on average (my target is to get at least 80% per day). Sometimes, pre-planning and setting targets make me very productive and very next day I experience fatigue and lose about 10-20% productivity.

    From a normal person perspective[my boss], I am doing very good. But, I am spending about 12 hours/per day on work to get 8 hours productivity. So that means I get no time to study for next term courses :grumpy:

    I think I am all alone worrying about being efficient and productive :shy:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 5, 2008 #2


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    My initial "from 5000 feet view": is there a reason that you're trying to do work on a Saturday night? Everyone needs a break from time to time. Do you ever schedule yourself some off-time...when was the last time your gave yourself a whole day off?

    For me, when I get to the place you're at it's because I've been working too hard. It's kind of like my brain wants to rebel and it won't cooperate with what I want it to do, because it's tired of always being "on."

    What kind of "play" do you do on a regular basis?
  4. Jul 5, 2008 #3
    Good question. Actually, I have never took a "whole day off" as far I can remember back into many months [I wasted many days while moving from one place to another... ]. I only watch two movies per week [I choose movies because they take very less time and provide my reasonable amount of utility] during my summers break [co-op], so that's my off time. Other than that anything that I do other than work is considered as time wastage. I usually have personal milestones that I give myself during breaks so that I can get ahead of everything during the working period.

    Currently, I have a theory that if I keep on working hard, I would increase my limits. My dream is to live on 5 hours sleep per day and getting productive for 80% of time (20% of time for moving around - eating - .. other stuff). I made this dream because it seems achievable, but only if I find proper means.

    I do my work and then school work if I get free time. Currently, if I find that I am in a non-work activity during weekdays, I frown upon it and try to avoid it. Ideally, I should do effective work 15 hours/day and 1 hour/per on eating.

    Few months ago, I realized that measuring productivity by % time utilized is not as good as measuring by % of targets done. So, I switched but I found that either I was setting too many targets or too less. I am using google notes+calendar to record everything[targets, ..].

    I just want to do more than normal amount of work in limited time. But the problem is that I cannot find efficient methods (I am trying to work really really hard to find them before my college starts).
  5. Jul 5, 2008 #4


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    I admire and respect your drive; really, those qualities will do you well in your school and career! But the amount of sleep you need is set by your species and your genetics; there's no getting around either charicteristic.

    Do yourself some good and arrive at college well-rested and ready to go...I think you should try to take some down time. It seems counter-intuitive but it really will make you more productive.
  6. Jul 6, 2008 #5
    Between this and the thread WarPhalange the forum has outlined the two biggest problems I've had recently. I guess there's no need for me to inquirer now. (By the way, OP, how do you calculate your "efficiency" percentage?)

    I'm supposed to learn Python. I've been wasting time all day. I work on weekends for two reasons: (1) there's often nothing better to do, (2) this procrastination problem forces me to. Luckily, I don't even like most of the movies that are out now, and only occasionally watch a documentary.

    I think it really comes down to a matter of forcing yourself to progress, otherwise you might hit a sort of a "learning plateau" where it'll just get harder and harder to progress down the road.
  7. Jul 6, 2008 #6


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    Wow - reading this thread made me realize I'm totally procrastinating here.

    Some suggestions:
    - As others have said - you have to schedule in time for breaks.
    - You might want to try going at least one full day every week without any electronic distractions: no email, cell phone/blackberry internet, video games, television, movies etc.
    - Get a proper amount of physical exercise. It's surprising how much this helps.
    - Make sure you're taking on too much. We spend a lot of time working on trivial things these days. (I'm currently ignoring the fact that I'm still on this forum). Focus your work on the most important tasks you have to accomplish.
    - Delegate. If someone else can do something better/faster/easier, can you get them to do it for you?
    - Identify the tasks you procrastinate on most of all and tackle those first every day.
  8. Jul 8, 2008 #7
    I use numbers everywhere so I have gotten good with them :).

    I mostly know when I started and stopped procrastination. All that time = total loss. If I work ~ 8 hours efficiently (I am satisfied with my work during every single second in those hours), then I would have 50% efficiency because I set my day to 16 hours.

    If you want to work more/get the things done, I guess planning would definitely help. I find getting lots of things done and still having more time when I properly plan and have clear targets for the day.

    I think procrastination/losing time to activities that does not have any return is a very common problem among all ages and all places. Most people don't even want to get rid of it.

    Even my employer has problems with the efficiency; he was saying that he cannot get over 70% efficiency from his workers, and at other place where I worked last year also had same problems: the efficiency was never about 82%.
  9. Jul 8, 2008 #8


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    Is this the point where I'm supposed to step in and say: GET BACK TO WORK!?

  10. Jul 30, 2008 #9
    I wish it were that simple.

    It's almost a month and I started off pretty good but came to usual inefficiencies after few days. I tried hard but ..

    Google notes: ..
    and I was doing awesome for like a week and then July 15, I stopped recording and started goin downhill :shy:
    and now today, entered another error entry..

    Only 30 days left to school, and now I will be working on another plan :smile:
    Doing some physical work (game, morning walks, .. etc.) - I am sick of movies lol.
  11. Jul 31, 2008 #10


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    You need to keep track of your diet, sleep and exercise if you wish to go anywhere. No point in putting emphasis on the hallmark if you haven't even got the foundations.
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