How to manage your time more effectively (according to machines) – Brian Christian

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Human beings and computers alike share the challenge of how to get as much done as possible in a limited time. Over the last fifty or so years, computer scientists have learned a lot of good strategies for managing time effectively — and they have a lot of experience with what can go wrong. Brian Christian shares how we can use some of these insights to help make the most of our own lives.

Lesson by Brian Christian, animation by Adriatic Animation.

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  1. So are you ready to take a little advice from a computer? Beyond time management, there's a lot we can learn from these machines! Get a free audiobook version of Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths' "Algorithms to Live By" by signing up for a free trial with Audible! Use this link and you'll also be supporting our nonprofit mission:

  2. Well made video, on top of that, amazing connection between human and machine. However, I felt like I can't fully agree with what was said in the video. I still strongly persuaded that having a clear priority can actually save more time.

    Understanding our priorities; being knowing what to do first, what to do after, and what not to do at all; is critical. It allows us to seek clearance and purposes in the tasks we do, and may as well, help us eliminate all the unnecessities that we may encounter trying to do everything randomly. This, as I strongly believe, will lead to time effectiveness. Stephen Covey; a successful educator, business man, and public speaker; wrote in his book; The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It mentions that you should "Put first things first". Accordingly, he made a four-quadran table with four slots, the lines are what's important, and the columns are what's urgent. Things you should prioritise, according to Stephen, are things that are both urgent, and important (being things such as putting out fire, fighting crimes, perhaps, etc.). After that, are things that are not urgent, but important (being exercising, eating healthy, sleeping, connecting with family, pursuing education, etc.). The bottom one, on the left are urgent, but not important (checking your social media, checking junk mails, etc.). The last box should be filled with unurgent and unimportant tasks (checking random videos, posts, eating junk food, etc.) with all of the things in the quadrans mixed up, imagine how struggling it would be to do all of them. Majority of the tasks isn't even necessary to be done. having the tasks in order allows you to have what is the most important and urgent our of the way, along with all of the unnecessary work you can avoid; strengthens your purposes and meaning of doing those tasks.

    Additionally it won't take away more time as the "quadratic algorithm" showed to be. If you can clearly have your priorities, you can eliminate al of the wasteful tasks and can actually save more time. For instance, I'll take the example from the video, the inbox checking. If we check all the inbox in order without prioritising them, we don't have to spend time arranging them in order. However, we will waste time checking, replying, and deleting the mails that are not even necessary to be read or replied. Those being junk mails, mails from a third-party promotion, etc. Having those mails grouping up and being deleted simultaneously during the process will take off your screen a bunch of "blue dots" (if you use Gmail, hopefully), and off your chests a burden. Allowing ourselves to spend sometimes to prioritise tasks can eventually lead to an easier, more organised, and on top of all, time saving.

    I don't know if this is a coincidence, but my second argument sounds like the second point of this video: group the interactions and deal with them at once. I do hope I understood it correctly. If I do, it does mean that the first and second point of the video had an angle of opposite argument to each other. The first point being not to waste time arranging tasks, while the second point states that you should arrange interruptions as a whole to deal with them. One suggest to do it without arranging, one suggest do it with arrangement. This is when I started to think that we can arrange tasks down to a minimum point where we should not arrange it any further (point number 2, and in the same level of priorities, do the task in whatever come first in our mind without arranging them any further (point number 1). I'll take the email example again. We can arrange our email into 4 level of priority, top to bottom: Need to be read, reply (maybe extra file downloaded and uploaded),and deleted (school or work place email, suggestion, etc.); Need to be read, replied, and saved for later (long-term project, important information, evidence, etc); Need to be read and understand, then deleted (daily announcement, subscribed news, etc) ; and; need no attention at all (promotion, third party notification, etc). For all of the emails that are in the same group of priority, we can then follow point number1, we'll do whatever come first.

    This is my point of view on this. I would be superbly excited if anyone would read this and give me some arguments. Thank you.

  3. I tend to agree with completing tasks at random versus certain order. I tend to take care of the tasks that require less thinking and time when I have a ton to do because I gain the feeling of accomplishment without the stress.

  4. I like how everyone has no doubts about what was said in this video. Spending less time prioritizing tasks is crucial when you are a computer, and you have to do everything superfast, but we are humans and doing tasks in 99.999% of cases takes longer than 10 seconds (which you will spend to prioritize the task). So it will be much better if you spend 10 seconds to think about what is more important than start doing some long-term task that will lead you nowhere.

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