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April 15, 2024 6 mins

Limit projects in progress to make life feel less crunched

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
Welcome to Before Breakfast, a production of iHeartRadio. Good Morning.
This is Laura. Welcome to the Before Breakfast podcast. Today's
tip is to remember that almost every activity or project
involves a little bit of planning or administrative time. There's

really nothing wrong with that, but it is important to
recognize this tax on your time so you can organize
your life efficiently. This episode is first airing on April fifteenth,
which has historically been Tax Day in the United States,
the day when people's tax returns from the previous year

are due. I know a great many people file earlier
if they are expecting a refund, A great many other
folks file a six month extension, but April fifteenth is
at least the day people are most likely to think
about paying taxes. I think a lot of us can
hold two thoughts in mind simultaneously. First, that taxes are

necessary to pay for an orderly society with schools and
roads and emergency responders. That's all good. Second, we don't
want to pay more than we need to, so we
take advantage of things like tax advantage retirement accounts, and
it turns out that we pay a tax of sorts

with our time too. Any project you undertake is going
to have some planning or administrative component. If you take
a vacation, someone needs to plan it and purchase tickets
and find a dog sitter and things like that. Even
if you outsource a lot of the logistics by hiring

a travel agent, you'll want to talk to that person
about what you like and your budget and things like that.
Plus you have to find that person. Every work project
involves at least a few meetings or filing reports or
making presentations. Again, there's nothing wrong with this. Tax taxes

are necessary, But once you acknowledge that every project has
a tax of sorts and that your time is absolutely limited,
then you start to see that there are more or
less efficient ways to organize life. If you have a
great many projects going at once, you will be paying

that administrative tax on all of them, and it can
start to feel like paying taxes is all you are doing.
Limit the number of projects you have going on and
any given time, on the other hand, and you can
limit the administrative time as an overall proportion of your hours. So,

for instance, let's just say you've got five going at
work that you are flitting back and forth between every
one of those projects requires two hours of administrative time
per week, so that is ten hours per week of
this time tax. If you've got three projects going, on

the other hand, then that is only six hours of tax,
which frees up half a day for making progress on
the projects themselves. Now, maybe it is not possible to
limit the overall number of projects. But what I often
see happen is that people are working on five things
that are due over the next two months. Maybe it

might be possible to work on three things, finish them
in one month, and then take on three projects the
next month too. Then you have cut the overall administrative
tax and you have gotten more done. This is one
reason I like to set quarterly goals for the year.

I might know that I want to work on a
particular project, but I also know that I won't be
starting it until Q three. That's fine. I can know
it will happen and know I will concentrate on it then,
but not incur the administrative tax on my time any earlier. Now, obviously,

we can't always control the total number of moving parts
in life, nor do we choose to. I have five children,
and they all require their own tax on my time,
so to speak. One I pay willingly. I simply have
to acknowledge that, no matter how efficient I am, arranging
activities and dealing with medical needs and such for five

kids will take more time than if I had one
or two. So it goes. I also like to do
varied things in my working life. That means my administrative
tax is going to be a little higher than it
could be. But in general, rather than spend a little

less time on more things, it might be better to
spend more time on fewer things and then start the
next project when one of the current ones is done.
The projects may take as long as they take, so
you probably won't change how many you are getting done overall,
but doing fewer at once limits the administrative tax on

your time, and that can make life feel a little
less crunched in the meantime. This is Laura. Thanks for listening,
and here's to making the most of our time. Thanks

for listening to Before Breakfast. If you've got questions, ideas,
or feedback, you can reach me at Laura at Laura
vandercam dot com. Before Breakfast is a production of iHeartMedia.
For more podcasts from iHeartMedia, please visit the iHeartRadio app

Apple podcasts, or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

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Laura Vanderkam

Laura Vanderkam

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