Human beings continuously face the challenge of how to get things done in the shortest possible time. Surprisingly, computers have also faced issues with regards to efficiency. Computer scientists over the years have learned a lot of effective, time-saving techniques while experimenting with the limitations of technology. If you struggle with time management, watch this motivating animated video by Brian Christian, directed by Draško Ivezić and narrated by Addison Anderson:
Brian’s insights are focused on how we can incorporate a few techniques into our lifestyle that will ensure we have ample time to rest and recuperate. He explains how, due to multiple processes happening at the same time, even computers get overwhelmed and stop working.
“Every operating system has something called the scheduler that tells the CPU how long to work on each task before switching, and what to switch to. Done right, computers move so fluidly between their various responsibilities, they give the illusion of doing everything simultaneously. But we all know what happens when things go wrong. This should give us, if nothing else, some measure of consolation. Even computers get overwhelmed sometimes.”
He advises against unnecessary fretting and worrying, “One of the first insights is that all the time you spend prioritising your work is time you aren’t spending doing it. For instance, let’s say when you check your inbox, you scan all the messages, choosing which is the most important. Once you’ve dealt with that one, you repeat. Seems sensible, but there’s a problem here.”
He continues, ”This is what’s known as a quadratic-time algorithm. With an inbox that’s twice as full, these passes will take twice as long and you’ll need to do twice as many of them! This means four times the work.”
“So with your emails, insisting on always doing the very most important thing first could lead to a meltdown. Waking up to an inbox three times fuller than normal could take nine times longer to clear. You’d be better off replying in chronological order, or even at random! Surprisingly, sometimes giving up on doing things in the perfect order may be the key to getting them done.”
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