How to use your day profitably and get leisure time

Multitasking leads to incomplete tasks, one at a time is better

In Summary

• African users spend up to 23 hours monthly on FB, TikTok, YouTube and Instagram

A girl with various books opened
A girl with various books opened
Image: FILE

There's this often repeated story of a flight attendant who noticed that, on long flights, passengers in the business class section of the aircraft read more books than those in economy class.

In the travel industry, business class is more expensive than economy class. Her observation implies that wealthy people read more during their free time compared to people who are not wealthy.

One may question whether one person's observations can be generalised to all of human society, but it is well-known that financially successful people generally do not like wasting time.

Amitesh Jasrotia, a writer, says that time management is a critical skill for over achievers and that they seem organised only because they know how to take advantage of every moment.

“Smart people know time is gold, and wasting it is a sin. This means they know every day, all the time, what they have to do, what tasks they have to accomplish and what they have to do thereafter,” Jasrotia notes.

With smartphones and the Internet, it is tempting to spend lots of unproductive hours in the digital realm. An article in the Star explains how artificial intelligence algorithms are designed to get users to spend as much time as possible on social media apps. Video streaming apps are becoming a major area of concern as cases of addiction are reportedly on the rise.

Recent findings show that users in Africa spend as much as four hours a day on social media and video games. The report, published in TechCabal, shows that African users spend up to 23 hours monthly on Facebook, TikTok, YouTube and Instagram.

Billionaire Bill Gates reportedly reads 50 books a year, which is about one book per week. "You don't really start getting old until you stop learning. Every book teaches me something new or helps me see things differently," he told Time magazine in 2017.

The key to getting the most from time is to schedule your activities, including your free time. For example, many people schedule their household chores for the weekend but end up not having time to relax and reflect. Entrepreneur magazine recommends scheduling your chores like you would any other activity. If you don't complete the weekend's chores during the allotted time, you move on and finish them the following weekend.

Scheduling also helps us avoid the tendency to fill up time with unproductive activities to look busy. In essence, most people are conditioned to believe that looking busy is better than sitting down to plan. The ability to multitask is seen as a desirable attribute in the modern age, but is it?

Dr Travis Bradberry, an author on leadership and management, says that multitasking reduces efficiency and performance because the human brain can only focus adequately on one thing at a time. “When you try to do two things at once, your brain cannot perform both tasks successfully,” he says.

On time management, Travis recommends narrowing down your life goals and breaking them down into daily steps. In that way, everything you do each day would be contributing to your overall goals. How's that for using time wisely?

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