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减少工时却能完成更多任务的神奇办法

  Why you should manage your energy, not your time

  减少工时却能完成更多任务的神奇办法

  For ten years, Lisa Congdon’s days were packed like a “can of sardines.” Juggling between five and 20 projects at any one time, the artist and author, based in Portland, Oregon in the US, tried to squeeze as much into her daily work schedule as she could.

  10年来,丽莎·康顿(Lisa Congdon)的日子一直都像"沙丁鱼罐头"一样塞得满满当当。作为美国波特兰的一名艺术家兼作家,她总要同时应对5到20个项目,要在日常生活中抽出尽量多的时间来完成这些任务。

  Finally, in the tenth year of her career, she started to have physical symptoms as a result of the stress – chronic back pain, upper neck pain and headaches.

  最终,在工作了10年之后,她开始因为压力过大而出现各种各样的病症——慢性背痛、上颈疼痛和头痛。

  “I was waking up with anxiety, feeling a sense of tension in the pit of my stomach, and I had trouble sleeping,” she says.

  "我会因为焦虑而半夜惊醒,胃总是不舒服,入睡也很困难。"她说。

  Many of us will have had that sense of there just not being enough hours in the day to do everything we need to do. Tasks that should take only a few minutes can stretch into hours, all while other work mounts up.

  很多人都会感觉一天里的时间不够用,无法完成需要完成的各种事情。原本只需要几分钟就能做完的事情可能延长到几个小时,导致其他工作不断积压。

  For most, the solution is to work later into the evening or even over the weekend, which leaves many of us feeling exhausted, stressed and burned out. But what if working less were the key to getting more done?

  对多数人来说,解决办法就是利用晚上或周末的时间加班,这也导致很多人感觉筋疲力尽、压力山大,甚至身体被掏空。但是否存在这样一种可能:减少工作时间反而能多完成一些任务?

The time management myth 时间管理的错误观念

  Previously, Congdon would often work from eight in the morning until seven at night without a break.

  康顿以前经常从上午8点开始,一直马不停蹄地工作到晚上7点。

  It’s an easy trap to fall into – it’s drilled into us that working solidly for eight or more hours will increase our output and impress our colleagues and managers. But in reality, even the traditional nine-to-five workday is not conducive to productivity.

  人们非常容易落入这样的陷阱——这让我们误以为每天工作8小时或更长时间便可增加产出,给同事和老板留下深刻印象。但实际上,就连传统的朝九晚五工作制也无益于提升效率。

  A workplace study found an average working professional experiences 87 interruptions per day, making it difficult to remain productive and focused for a full day.

  一项职场研究发现,上班族平均每天会被打断87次,导致他们很难全天保持效率和专注。

  Knowing something had to give, Congdon began to adjust her approach to work and restructured her day to achieve the same amount of output, without working around the clock. She decided to split her day into fewer 45-minute segments, and aimed to maximise her productivity within those strict time sessions.

  了解了取舍之道后,康顿开始调整自己的工作方式,还改变了全天的工作安排,好让自己不必一天到晚不停地工作也能完成同样的产出。她决定以45分钟为单位将一天的时间分割开来,并希望在这些严格限制的时间段内尽可能提高工作效率。

  The key to maintaining focus and energy in shorter bursts was to apply flexibility to those segments – she could use some for exercise, some for meditation, some for work. Getting rest within her workday helped lower stress levels and therefore achieve better results within the allotted time for working, Congdon found.

  想要在较短的时间内保持专注和精力,关键就是为这些时间段赋予灵活性——你可以使用其中一些时间段来锻炼,一些用于冥想,还有一些用于工作。康顿发现,在工作日内休息有助于减轻压力,从而在分配的工作时间内实现更好的结果。

  This makes sense in the light of research that has found our productivity has less to do with the amount of hours we squeeze out of the working day, and more to do with the rest we have.

  这么做很有道理,因为有研究发现,我们的效率与工作日里挤出的工作时间关系不大,反而与休息时间关系较大。

  In 2014, the social networking company The Draugiem Group used a time-tracking productivity app to study what habits set their most productive employees apart.

  2014年,社交网络公司The Draugiem Group使用时间追踪效率应用研究了该公司效率最高的员工都有哪些特殊的习惯。

  Surprisingly, the top 10% of employees with the highest productivity didn’t put in longer hours than anyone else – often they didn't even work eight-hour days. Instead, the key to their productivity was that for every 52 minutes of focused work, they took a 17-minute break.

  令人意外的是,10%效率最高的员工的工作时间并不比其他人长——他们的工作时间甚至经常连8个小时都不到。相反,他们之所以能够实现较高的工作效率,关键在于,每集中精力工作52分钟,他们就会休息17分钟。

  While our culture may be pushing us towards working 24/7, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, a Silcon Valley consultant and author of Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, believes this is not helping us to be more productive or to come up with creative solutions.

  虽然文化因素会迫使我们全天候待命工作,但在硅谷担任顾问,《休息一下:工作越少,反而产出越高!》(Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less)的作者 Alex Soojung-Kim Pang 认为,这无助于我们提高效率,也无法帮助我们想出有创造力的解决方案。

  The research instead points towards the importance of rest, he says.

  他表示,研究反而强调了休息的重要性。

  “Generally, short bursts of long hours do lead to increases in productivity, but over time those gains disappear,” says Pang. “The odds of costly mistakes rise, and as a result the gains that come from working longer hours disappear.

  "整体而言,偶尔长时间工作的确会提升效率,但久而久之,这些好处就会消失。"Pang说,"代价高昂的错误会增加,因此通过延长工作时间获得的好处会消失。"

  One study from Illinois Institute of Technology by Raymond Van Zelst and Willard Kerr in 1951 found that scientists who spent 25 hours per week in the workplace were no more productive than those who spent just five.

  伊利诺伊理工学院的雷蒙德·范泽尔斯特(Raymond Van Zelst)和维拉德·可儿(Willard Kerr)在1951年发现,每周到办公室工作25小时的科学家的工作效果不比每周只来5小时的科学家更高。

  In fact, as few as one to three hours of concentrated work could serve to be as effective as a traditional workday. For Cal Newport, author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, this is because being busy is simply a proxy for productivity.

  事实上,只需要集中精力工作1至3小时,效果就堪比一个完整的传统工作日。对《深入工作:在心烦意乱的世界里聚焦成功的法则》(Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World)的作者卡尔·纽珀特(Cal Newport)来说,这是因为忙碌未必代表效率。

  “In the absence of clear indicators of what it means to be productive and valuable in their jobs, many workers turn back toward an industrial indicator of productivity: doing lots of stuff in a visible manner,” says Newport.

  "由于缺乏明确指标衡量工作的成效和价值,很多员工都会回归到工业化时代的效率指标:以肉眼可见的方式做很多事情。"纽珀特说。

  Working for show, it seems, is also futile. A study of consultants by Boston University’s School of Business found that managers could not tell the difference between employees who actually worked 80 hours a week and those who just pretended to.

  为了给别人留下印象而工作似乎也没有效果。波士顿大学商学院的顾问们进行的调查发现,管理者根本看不出员工是真的一周工作80小时,还是假装为之。

Deflecting distraction 利用分神时刻

  To combat the trap of putting such a premium on being busy, Newport recommends building a habit of ‘deep work’ – the ability to focus without distraction.

  为了摆脱这种陷阱,不再过分看重流于表面的忙碌,纽珀特建议形成一种"深入工作"的习惯——也就是集中注意力,不分散精力的能力。

  There are a number of approaches to mastering the art of deep work – be it lengthy retreats dedicated to a specific task; developing a daily ritual; or taking a ‘journalistic’ approach to seizing moments of deep work when you can throughout the day. Whichever approach, the key is to determine your length of focus time and stick to it.

  有很多方法可以帮助我们掌握深入工作这项艺术——既可以专门为了特定任务而长时间休息,也可以培养日常习惯,或者像"新闻工作者"那样抓住一天中可以深入工作的时刻。无论采用哪种方法,关键都是要确定你集中精力的时间长度,然后坚持下去。

  Newport also recommends ‘deep scheduling’ to combat constant interruptions and get more done in less time. “At any given point, I should have deep work scheduled for roughly the next month. Once on the calendar, I protect this time like I would a doctor’s appointment or important meeting,” he writes.

  纽珀特还推荐通过"深入安排"来对抗不断出现的干扰因素,在更短的时间内完成更多的工作。"在任何一个时点,我都会制定大约一个月后的深入工作计划。一旦做好安排,我都会像对待预约医生或重要会议一样保护这些时间不被占用。"他写道。

纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com/

  Another approach to getting more done in less time is to rethink how you prioritise your day – in particular how we craft our to-do lists. Tim Harford, author of Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives, points to a study in the early 1980s that divided undergraduates into two groups: some were advised to set out monthly goals and study activities; others were told to plan activities and goals in much more detail, day by day.

  另外一种在更短的时间内完成更多工作的方法,就是重新思考你一天中最看重的事情——尤其是你制定待办事项列表的方式。《散乱:用无序改变生活》(Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives)一书的作者蒂姆·哈福特指出,20世纪80年代初的一项研究将一群大学生分成两组:他们建议其中一组制定月度目标和活动计划,另外一组则被建议制定更加细致的目标和活动计划,最好具体到每一天。

  While the researchers assumed that the well-structured daily plans would be most effective when it came to the execution of tasks, they were wrong: the detailed daily plans demotivated students. Harford argues that inevitable distractions often render the daily to-do list ineffective, while leaving room for improvisation in such a list can reap the best results.

  研究人员原以为每天制定计划的学生在执行任务时效果最好,但实际情况并非如此:细致的计划反而会降低学生的积极性。哈福特认为,经常会出现一些难以避免的干扰因素,导致每天制定的待办事项难以完成,而如果在这些列表中腾出一些空间来即兴发挥,反而能获得最好的效果。

  In order to make the most of our focus and energy, we also need to embrace downtime, or as Newport suggests, “be lazy.”

  为了让多数人集中精力,我们还需要主动休息,或者就像纽珀特所说,主动"偷懒"。

  “Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body… [idleness] is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done,” he argues.

  "放空并不是休假、放纵或缺点,"它对大脑的作用就像维生素D对人体一样不可或缺……虽然听起来有些矛盾,但放空的确是完成任何工作所必不可少的因素。"他说。

  Srini Pillay, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, believes this counterintuitive link between downtime and productivity may be due to the way our brains operate. When our brains toggle between being focused and unfocused on a task, they tend to be more efficient.

  哈佛医学院精神病学助理教授斯里尼·皮莱(Srini Pillay)认为,休息与效率之间这种违反直觉的联系可能源自我们大脑的运作方式。当我们的大脑时而专注一项任务,时而分散精力时,效率往往更高。

  “What people don't realise is that in order to complete these tasks they need to use both the focus and unfocus circuits in their brain,” says Pillay, who has written a book on the subject called Tinker, Dabble, Doodle Try: Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind.

  "很多人不明白的是,为了完成这些任务,他们需要使用专注和分心两种大脑回路。"皮莱说。他曾经写过一本名为《释放涣散思维的力量》(Tinker, Dabble, Doodle Try: Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind)的书来阐述这个主题。

  This is something exploited by some of the world’s highest achievers.

  一些取得巨大成就的人都会充分利用这种现象。

  “Serena Williams, for example, has often spoken about how in tennis it's important to be both focused and relaxed,” says Pillay. Warren Buffett is also known for having days in his calendar where nothing is scheduled because he finds sitting and thinking has a much higher priority than filling every minute of his day. It is an approach that Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, has borrowed from the billionaire investor.

  "例如,塞雷纳·威廉姆斯(Serena Williams)就经常说,集中精力和放松精神对网球都非常重要。"皮莱说。沃伦·巴菲特(Warren Buffett)也会在日程表里安排一些空白时段,因为他发现,呆呆地坐着思考比填满全天的日程重要得多。微软联合创始人比尔·盖茨(Bill Gates)也从这位亿万富豪那里学会了这种方法。

Using the slumps 变废为宝

  According to research by Harvard University psychologists Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert, we spend 46.9% of our time not thinking about what is happening in front of us.

  哈佛大学心理学家马修·吉林斯沃斯(Matthew Killingsworth)和丹尼尔·基尔伯特(Daniel Gilbert)进行的研究发现,我们约有46.9%的时间不会思考眼前的事情。

  The key to being productive might be found in using that time effectively through embracing the slumps in our day – those moments when your productivity begins to ebb away, usually in the midmorning, directly after lunch or midafternoon.

  通过充分利用一天中精神萎靡的时刻,或许是提高效率的关键——往往在上午10点左右,午饭之后或下午3点左右,我们的效率就会开始下降。

  In the past, Justin Gignac, co-founder of freelance network Working Not Working, left little room in his routine to be lazy. Now, he believes it is important to build time to kick back and let his brain think by itself, and is one of many successful people debunking the myth that working more equals working best.

  以往,自由职业网络Working Not Working联合创始人贾斯汀·吉格奈克(Justin Gignac)很少会在日常工作中预留偷懒的时间。但现在,他认为专门抽时间放松,让大脑天马行空地思考是非常重要的事情。很多成功人士也都批判了"工作越多,效果越好"的错误观念。

  Recently he started lying in his newly-bought hammock each night after work.

  他最近每天晚上工作结束后,都会躺在新买的吊床上。

  “I light a couple of candles and then I just lie in the hammock and don’t do anything,” he says. “It's amazing. Giving my brain that space is so crucial and has helped me to learn to survey the whole field, not just the thing that is directly in front of me.”

  "点上几根蜡烛后,我就会躺在吊床上,什么也不干。"他说,"这很神奇。给大脑充分的自由空间非常重要,这可以帮助我思考全局,而不仅局限于眼前的事情。"

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