Connect with us

Get Organised

The More You Do, The More You’ll Have To Do

Here’s how to multiply your time and do less, but actually improve your overall productivity.

GG van Rooyen




What exactly is the point of all the productivity strategies, hacks, apps and to-do lists we’re all so obsessed with these days? The point, obviously, is to help us be more effective in how we use our time. But here’s the thing: None of it seems to be working.

Sure, a strategy or tool might be effective in helping us deal with a specific duty in a more efficient manner, but it never seems to result in a marked increase in overall free time.

The more we do, the more we have to do.

Why is this? According to self-discipline strategist and New York Times bestselling author Rory Vaden, the problem lies in our fundamental approach to productivity. According to Vaden, everything we think we know about productivity is wrong.

Related: Why Time Management is Just a Waste of Time

It’s about emotions

“Today, time management is no longer just logical. Today, time management is emotional,” says Vaden. “How we choose to spend our time is not just logical, it is also emotional. Our feelings of guilt, fear, anxiety and frustration dictate how we choose to spend our time as much as anything that’s in our calendar or on our to-do list.”

But the traditional ways of looking at time management do not take this emotional element into account. It treats humans like automatons that approach tasks in robotic fashion, with little concern for the emotions that drive our activities.

Over-simplified thinking

A lot of thinking around time management and efficiency is one-dimensional and overly simple. The thinking is: The quicker I manage to scratch items off my to-do list, the more time I’ll have. The frenetic pace of the modern world, however, has shown that this is not the case. Frantically ticking items off your to-do list by order of importance never seems to result in more free time.

However, a more evolved version of this paradigm exists, of which Dr Stephen Covey’s time management grid is a good example. It looks not only at what is important, but also at what is urgent.

The aim of this approach is to prioritise — to focus on that which is both urgent and important. But, while adding urgency to the equation can certainly help in setting the right priorities, it has a massive limitation when it comes to time management: It is incapable of adding free time. In no way does it clear your schedule and free up time — it simply reshuffles your to-do list.

“All prioritising does is take item number seven on your to-do list and bump it up to number one, but it doesn’t do anything inherently to create more time,” says Vaden. “All it does is allow you to take time away from one activity to accomplish another.”

This, according to Vaden, leaves us with only one strategy: To do more things, and to do them more quickly, which results in the kind of harried and rushed society we’re living in today.

Three-dimensional thinking

Thankfully, there is a strategy to overcome this — what Vaden calls three-dimensional time management thinking — but it requires us to look at time management and productivity in a very different way.

According to this strategy, you don’t look only at the importance and urgency of any activity, but also its significance — in other words, how long will any given priority truly matter? You need to ask yourself: What can I do today that will make tomorrow better?

“You multiply your time by giving yourself the emotional permission to spend time on things today that will give you more time tomorrow,” says Vaden.

Okay, so what exactly does this mean in real terms? According to Vaden, you need to ask the following questions when any task arrives on your desk:

  1. Is this task really necessary? Is it even worth doing, or can I eliminate it right from the outset?
  2. If I can’t eliminate it, can I perhaps automate it? Can I create a process for this?
  3. If it can’t be automated, can it be delegated? Can I teach someone to do this?
  4. If it can’t be delegated, should I do this now, or can it wait?

Related: 7 Management Lessons From a 7-Time CEO

The Focus Funnel

Time management grid

Vaden tells us to imagine this process as a funnel, with any task going through the stages of elimination, automation and delegation, until it drops out of the bottom of the funnel, becoming your problem. If you decide that a task can wait, Vaden says you are ‘procrastinating on purpose’.

The task goes back into the funnel, cycling through until you can either automate or delegate it, or you find that it has become a task that you need to do immediately. If none of this ever happens, well, you’ll realise that this is a task that simply isn’t all that important, and can be eliminated altogether.

“There’s a difference in waiting to do something that we know we should be doing, but don’t feel like doing, and waiting to do something because we realise that now is not the right time,” says Vaden. “That isn’t procrastination; that is a virtue that the world really needs: the patience to put off the insignificant things like checking email 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” 

Watch this

Watch Rory Vaden’s TEDx talk on the subject How to Multiply Your Time.

Read Next: 5 Time-Management Tools for Small Businesses to Improve Productivity

Get Organised

How To Multitask Like Tim Ferriss, Randi Zuckerberg And Other Very Busy People

Nine entrepreneurs tell us how they get it all done.




Prev1 of 10


Think you’re busy? Take a look at Guy Fieri‘s calendar. Or a U.S. Army general’s. Or an in-demand teenage actor’s. Or the CEO of a globally recognised company’s.

Some of the busiest people on the planet took time out of their days to tell us how they get it all done. Take note!

Prev1 of 10

Continue Reading

Get Organised

6 Questions Entrepreneurs Should Ask When Choosing Medical Aid

As a young entrepreneur, what are the questions you should ask yourself when it comes to choosing a medical aid plan?

Catherine Black




One of the most valuable assets in any small business is something that entrepreneurs often overlook – their own human capital. Part of making sure that you give the best of yourself to your new business is to make sure you’re in good health, and one way to invest in your health is to make sure you have a solid medical aid policy in place.

Besides being a financial safety net if you get sick or are in an accident, it can also encourage you to stay healthy in the longer term. So, as a young entrepreneur, what are the questions you should ask yourself when it comes to choosing a medical aid plan?

1. How healthy are you?

If you’re young, there’s a good chance you’re relatively healthy and not plagued with serious health issues – but this isn’t always the case. You may have a chronic condition such as diabetes or asthma, where you need regular checkups and medication. If this is the case, will your medical aid plan cover the costs of managing your chronic condition?

2. How much can you spend each month?

If you’re self-employed, you won’t have the luxury of your company paying your salary – or your medical aid cover. Compile a budget and work out exactly how much you can afford to pay towards your medical aid cover per month, bearing in mind that you may have to pay in extra for things like day-to-day medication, medical specialists out of network or even membership fees for your medical scheme’s rewards programme.

Related: Why A Small Business Owner Needs Medical Aid

3. Is there a waiting period involved?

Medical aids are able to apply waiting periods, where you won’t be covered for a certain period of time after you join their scheme depending on your health and previous medical aid cover.

If you’re joining with a pre-existing condition, remember that you won’t be covered for up to 12 months as soon as you become a member, so you’ll need to set aside money for any related costs during this time.

4. Are you planning on starting a family?

As a young entrepreneur, starting a family may be the last thing on your mind – but it’s important to factor this in when joining your medical aid, as it becomes very important later on. This is because you can’t join a medical scheme if you or your spouse is already pregnant (just as we explained in point number 3, there’s a 10-month waiting period for the “pre-existing condition” of pregnancy). Things like maternity benefits can be a lifesaver in terms of footing the bill for pregnancy and birth costs, so it’s worth thinking about this long before you’re ready to settle down.

5. What does the hospital plan offer?

If you’re young and healthy, chances are you’ll most likely opt for a hospital plan, so don’t just compare medical schemes in general – compare their hospital plans specifically. A hospital plan has the lowest premiums but also the lowest coverage: generally, it covers you if you’re admitted to hospital, but you pay for any other day-to-day medical expenses such as doctor visits and medication. Many hospital plans also come with the option of a medical savings account (MSA) attached, where you can access a certain portion of money per year for these day-to-day expenses. Others, like Fedhealth’s MediVault offering, take this even further – you can “borrow” a certain amount of money for day-to-day medical expenses from the Scheme, and then pay it back over 12 months, interest-free.

Related: Why Employees Need Funeral Cover

6. What does the fine print say?

Before you choose a medical aid plan, make sure you know exactly what’s covered and what’s not, including things like in-network and out-of-network hospitals, co-payments, limits and exclusions. Also research the scheme’s pay-out rate: do they pay medical aid rates or higher rates, which many hospitals and specialists charge?

Owning your own business is about investing in yourself, including your time, your ideas – and your health. It’s also about juggling lots of balls in the air at the same time. With a solid medical aid plan in place, you can at least know that you have your health looked after should something happen – which means your business can keep going and thrive well into the future.

Continue Reading

Get Organised

4 Psychological Reasons Entrepreneurs Should Embrace Procrastination

Do you struggle with procrastination at the office? If so, believe it or not, it might not be such a bad thing.

Lucas Miller




There’s always something you’d rather be doing. Even right now, you might be reading this article in an attempt to avoid carrying out a less palatable endeavor.

Procrastination is normal, and especially so these days. Social media, streaming television and movies, the ease of internet access, and the ubiquity of smartphones can all distract. There are ample reasons why people procrastinate, and it’s always been thought of as a blockade to productivity.

But the perception of procrastination doesn’t always match the reality.

“Procrastination is not just avoiding or delaying a task,” says David Ballard, head of the American Psychological Association’s Center for Organisational Excellence. “It also has to include an aspect that’s counterproductive, irrational or unnecessary.”

In fact, active procrastination can often help you get more things done. Below are four psychological reasons entrepreneurs should sometimes lean into procrastination

1. Procrastination helps spur creativity

West Wing creator and Molly’s Game director Aaron Sorkin once said on the Today show, “You call it procrastinating, I call it thinking.” Sorkin puts off writing sometimes until the last minute, and the results speak for themselves.

Even if we’re not all award-winning writers, when you’re putting something off, it doesn’t have to be a distraction. It can simply be a break, and that break can open up a world of new ideas.

When you allow yourself more time to sit and think about what you’re working on, different pathways to a result can bubble into your brain. A 2012 study in Nature discovered – through brain imaging – that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) lay largely dormant when rappers were free-styling. Some athletes might even refer to this as “the zone.”

For entrepreneurs, procrastination might be just the thing to trigger an answer that would be impossible to reach if they didn’t let their minds wander away from the task at hand.

Related: Are You A Procrastinator? Don’t Be By Doing These 3 Things

2. Procrastination aids memory recall

In 1927, Lithuanian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik first discovered how interrupting an event can actually help people remember it. After her professor noticed waiters at a nearby cafe remembered open tabs better than those that had already been paid, she tested the hypothesis by giving a series of puzzles to people to complete, while subtly interrupting half of them.

Those that were interrupted were able to recall details with 90 percent more accuracy than those who were allowed to complete the task. The Zeigarnik Effect was borne.

The same could be said for today’s entrepreneurs. Breaking for lunch, hitting the gym, reading a book, jumping on another task or simply staring out the window can help you better remember the various moving parts in the mission you’re trying to finish.

3. Shockingly, procrastination can enhance focus

This seems like a paradox on its surface. How can you focus better by interrupting what you’re doing – i.e. procrastinating?

Instead of bearing the monotony of working on a single task until it’s done, it’s more helpful to move away – at least briefly. Concentration wanes if we don’t break up the the tedium. Similar to triggering creativity, we’re better able to concentrate if we take a brief blow.

study in 2011 looked at this psychological effect. Subjects were asked to remember random digits while performing a visual task. They found that once people were asked to recall the digits, their performance on the visual task declined over time. But when researchers interrupted the visual exercise with sporadic reminders of the digits, their visual scores remained high no matter the duration.

The short of it: Take a break every once in a while, even if you’re on deadline.

4. Procrastination often yields better decision-making

Oftentimes, entrepreneurs will receive an important email that needs an answer. There’s no hard timetable on the answer, but because of the weight of the question, people drop everything to arrive at an answer. If you don’t take a moment to sit back and let the full import of the question sink in, you’re liable to make the wrong decision.

Researchers at Columbia performed an experiment to test this idea. Would a little more time actually lead to better decisions?

Related: 6 Steps To Go From Procrastinating To Productive

First, they asked the subjects to determine which direction a set of black dots was moving across the screen. At the same time, a cluster of coloured dots starting moving to distract them. Participants were asked to judge as quickly as possible.

When the coloured dots moved in the same direction as the black dots, the results were basically perfect. But when they moved in opposite directions, the accuracy dropped.

Second, they performed the exact same experiment, but subjects were asked to answer when they heard a clicking sound, which they varied between 17-500 milliseconds – a time span meant to mimic real-life decisions, like driving. Researchers found that when decisions were delayed by about 120 milliseconds, their accuracy significantly improved.

However, the researchers differentiated between prolonged and delayed decision-making. If subjects made the decision too quickly, the brain was still filtering out the distractions (coloured dots). But if it took too long, it could be hindered by other distractions.

The same could be said for procrastination. Procrastinate too much, or for too long, and nothing will ever get done. But, as we’ve seen, there are some serious psychological benefits to procrastination.

This article was originally posted here on

Continue Reading



Recent Posts

Follow Us

We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.