You Only Have 24 Hours. Here’s How to Spend It

Vlad Nov • January 25, 2021

In his book, “The Now Habit,” Dr. Neil Fiore explains that humans have a finite amount of energy and time each day. Paying attention to one thing requires ignoring something else. Every word you read, email you write, and conversation you have eats more of your daily energy budget.

Dr. Fiore’s studies show that by prioritizing what we spend our time on- both in the office and at home- we can be happier and more productive with less effort.

You can use RescueTime’s report to see how much time you spend on different tasks and then set up a plan to be more productive. Try to:

Focus on what is most important; get less done in less time; delegate or avoid things that eat up your energy budget without being meaningful; optimize work so it takes the least amount of mental effort possible (eliminate distractions, stay organized); and stick with your priorities.

In this article, I want to show you how you can stop multitasking and optimize your time by not context switching. One way to do this is to take a break for every hour of work. I’ve written about why taking breaks will increase your productivity in my previous article on The Muse. Here’s another reason: According to Stanford University Professor Tony Wagner, the author of “The Global Achievement Gap,” our brains have been designed over millennia specifically for humans living in hunter-gat

Good habits help you become the person you want to be. Bad habits get in your way. The problem is that it’s hard to stick with good habits when there are so many forces working against us. Achieving long-term goals requires persistence, discipline, and courage—all qualities that can easily be undone by the voice in your head telling you “I deserve a break” or “What harm could come from watching one more episode?”

  1. Turn off the notifications on your computer, phone, and tablet. You will not get an alert when you’re doing deep work like completing a report or writing a pitch. When you see that new email notification in your inbox or hear that ding from your phone, it takes a lot of energy to stop what you’re doing and focus on the interruption rather than the task at hand.

  2. Use automated rules for replying to emails: set up automatic replies

One of the most popular productivity tips is to create a daily to-do list. However, if you are looking for time management hacks that will truly change your life, set aside one day each week where you don’t make any commitments or plan anything ahead. This technique allows you to reflect on what has been happening and it gives yourself permission to re-evaluate priorities and needs.

“We like to make the analogy that your brain is a muscle. It can only do so much at once, and when you go in with too many tasks at once, you won’t get any of them done well. Your productivity is going to be much lower than if you pick one thing and focus on it,” says Erik Fisher, president of RescueTime.