People are happiest when they're the most productive. People enjoy tasks, especially creative tasks, when the tasks are in the optimal-challenge zone: not too hard and not too easy. To some extent, that has always been true. But it becomes even more true as work becomes more about brains and creativity.
Eric S. Raymond
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There are two synergistic approaches for increasing productivity that are inversions of each other: 1. Limit tasks to the important to shorten work time (80/20). 2. Shorten work time to limit tasks to the important (Parkinson's Law). The best solution is to use both together: Identify the few critical tasks that contribute most to income and schedule them with very short and clear deadlines.
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To confine soldiers to purely military functions while urgent and vital tasks have to be done, and nobody else is available to undertake them, would be senseless. The soldier must then be prepared to become a propagandist, a social worker, a civil engineer, a schoolteacher, a nurse, a boy scout. But only for as long as he cannot be replaced, for it is better to entrust civilian tasks to civilians.
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If humans are not required to earn a living to be provided survival needs, many are going to want very much to be productive, but not at those tasks they did not choose to do but were forced to accept in order to earn money. Instead, humans will spontaneously take upon themselves those tasks that world society really needs to have done.
R. Buckminster Fuller
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I grow old though pleased with my memories The tasks I can no longer complete Are balanced by the love of the tasks gone past I offer no apology only this plea: When I am frayed and strained and drizzle at the end Please someone cut a square and put me in a quilt That I might keep some child warm And some old person with no one else to talk to Will hear my whispers And cuddle near
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Serial tasking is hard because switching tasks is hard, even when the tasks are easy and similar. In some experiments, bilingual speakers are asked to read out numbers, first in one language and then midway in another language. They often stumble at the switch, taking many tries before they hit their stride again.
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Lists help us manage the chaos of our lives""to impose order, if only for a moment. Writing a list clears the mind. ... Once everything is written down, it's easier to see which tasks are important and in what order to tackle them. Tasks that seem overwhelming look easier when reduced to mere lines on paper.
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It's now clear that many of our most sophisticated abilities are made possible not by specialist brain areas dedicated to specific tasks, but by lightning-fast coordination between areas that control more general tasks, such as movement and hearing ["In other words: inside the lives and minds of real-time translators, " Mosaic, November 18, 2014].
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It is as if a king had sent you to a country to carry out one special, specific task. You go to the country and you perform a hundred other tasks, but if you have not performed the task you were sent for, it is as if you have done nothing at all. So people have come into the world for particular tasks, and that is our purpose. If we don't perform it, we will have done nothing.
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The important task rarely must be done today, or even this week...But the urgent task calls for instant action...The momentary appeal of these tasks seems irresistible and important, and they devour our energy. But in the light of time's perspective, their deceptive prominence fades; with a sense of loss we recall the vital tasks we pushed aside. We realize we've become slaves to the tyranny of the urgent.
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God wants us all to strive to grow more like Jesus, to become holy as he is holy, but God has a specific purpose for each person. How could it not be so? Everyone in a village cannot be a baker, because who would then make the candles or shoe the horses or grow the food? God says we are like a body... Just as the villagers are part of a village and have different tasks, we all have tasks to do for the Lord God.
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Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle. But you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at yourself, at the richness of life which has come to you by the grace of God. Not in doing what you like but in liking what you do is the secret of happiness.
James M. Barrie
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I told you it would be difficult! If I were you I would just not bother trying these tasks! They are great challenges, clearly too great for you.' said Guya, but there was a certain sparkle in his eye as he said it. 'I shall complete your tasks, ' said Yoshiko firmly. 'And I'll be back sooner than you think!' With that he spread his wings to head for Fire School. 'Oh and one more thing Guya' Yoshiko added. Perhaps when I return you will be so kind as to stop calling me a little dragon!' As Yoshiko flew off Guya chuckled to himself.
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O, do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks! Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle. But you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at yourself, at the richness of life which has come to you by the grace of God.
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Let us remember, too, that greatness is not always a matter of the scale of one's life, but of the quality of one's life. True greatness is not always tied to the scope of our tasks, but to the quality of how we carry out our tasks whatever they are. In that attitude, let us give our time, ourselves, and our talents to the things that really matter now, things which will still matter a thousand years from now.
Spencer W. Kimball
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I just remember their kindness and goodness to me, and their peacefulness and their utter simplicity. They inspired real reverence, and I think, in a way, they were certainly saints. And they were saints in that most effective and telling way: sanctified by leading ordinary lives in a completely supernatural manner, sanctified by obscurity, by usual skills, by common tasks, by routine, but skills, tasks, routine which received a supernatural form from grace within.
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From all that urges and admonishes, the romantic turns away. He wants to dream, enjoy, immerse himself, instead of clearing his way by striving and wrestling. That which has been and rises out of what is past occupies him far more than what is to become and also more than what wants to become; for the word of the future would always be command. Experiences with their many echoes and their billows stand higher in his estimation than life with its tasks; for tasks always establish a bond with harsh reality. And from this he is in flight. He does not want to struggles against fate, but rather to receive it with an ardent and devout soul; he does not want to wrestle for the blessing, but to experience it, abandoning himself, devoid of will, to what spells salvation and bliss.
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Boundary construction is most evident in three-year-olds. Boundary construction is most evident in three-year-olds. By this time, they should have mastered the following tasks: 1. The ability to be emotionally attached to others, yet without giving up a sense of self and one's freedom to be apart, 2. The ability to say appropriate no's to others without fear of loss of love, 3. The ability to take appropriate no's from others without withdrawing emotionally. Noting these tasks, a friend said half-joking, "They need to learn this by age three? How about by fourty-three?" Yes, these are tall orders but boundary development is essential in the early years of life.
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We know from several statements of Knecht's that he wanted to write the former Master's biography, but official duties left him no time for such a task. He had learned to curb his own wishes. Once he remarked to one of his tutors: "It is a pity that you students aren't fully aware of the luxury and abundance in which you live. But I was exactly the same when I was still a student. We study and work, don't waste much time, and think we may rightly call ourselves industrious-but we are scarcely conscious of all we could do, all that we might make of our freedom. Then we suddenly receive a call from the hierarchy, we are needed, are given a teaching assignment, a mission, a post, and from then on move up to a higher one, and unexpectedly find ourselves caught in a network of duties that tightens the more we try to move inside it. All the tasks are in themselves small, but each one has to be carried out at its proper hour, and the day has far more tasks than hours. That is well; one would not want it to be different. But if we ever think, between classrooms, Archives, secretariat, consulting room, meetings, and official journeys-if we ever think of the freedom we possessed and have lost, the freedom for self-chosen tasks, for unlimited, far-flung studies, we may well feel the greatest yearning for those days, and imagine that if we ever had such freedom again we would fully enjoy its pleasures and potentialities.
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In School of One, students have daily "playlists" of their learning tasks that are attuned to each student's learning needs, based on that student's readiness and learning style. For example, Julia is way ahead of grade level in math and learns best in small groups, so her playlist might include three or four videos matched to her aptitude level, a thirty-minute one-on-one tutoring session with her teacher, and a small group activity in which she works on a math puzzle with three peers at similar aptitude levels. There are assessments built into each activity so that data can be fed back to the teacher to choose appropriate tasks for the next playlist.
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If one has failed to develop curiosity and interest in the early years, it is a good idea to acquire them now, before it is too late to improve the quality of life. To do so is fairly easy in principle, but more difficult in practice. Yet it is sure worth trying. The first step is to develop the habit of doing whatever needs to be done with concentrated attention, with skill rather than inertia. Even the most routine tasks, like washing dishes, dressing, or mowing the lawn become more rewarding if we approach them with the care it would take to make a work of art. The next step is to transfer some psychic energy each day from tasks that we don't like doing, or from passive leisure, into something we never did before, or something we enjoy doing but don't do often enough because it seems too much trouble. There are literally millions of potentially interesting things in the world to see, to do, to learn about. But they don't become actually interesting until we devote attention to them.
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