Art of getting things done

“In an ideal situation, it takes 10,000 hours for a person to perfectly master any form of art or skill.” -10,000 hours rule.

The art of getting things done is more off numbers.  Don’t believe, read further for yourself.

It is said so that Pablo Picasso used to work on his artistic masterpiece for 22 hours straight.

Mozart used to write his master piece symphonies in his studio for days together.

The result of uninterrupted work was beautiful and brilliant.

In the 21st century, deep and uninterrupted has escalated from a possible episode to unattainable result.

The constant buzzing of smart phones, unwanted bots of ads on internet and constant feeds of social media has made even working for 15 minutes (uniterrupted) a herculean task. Of course there are some people who conquer this battle, and emerge as winners. But most people lose to this distraction.
  • Instead of designing a platform like Facebook and twitter, people spend endless hours scrolling through meaningless newsfeed.
  • Instead of developing building and bonding relationships, we follow people and send them friend requests.
  • Instead of enjoying the rising sun by waking up early, we enjoy likes in our notifications.

Carl Newport, has written an entire volume of book, called Deep Work, and he underlines, why’s and what’s of deep work. Carl also explains the three reasons why deep work is becoming a herculean task in the 21st century: [1]
  • Prioritisation
  • Procrastination
  • Distraction

The major task, of completing a herculean task is to decide to what to do. In this confusion to decide, we end up in utter confusion and endless tyranny.

Well there are many such strategies that help immensely in prioritising things.

But this one is classic. It’s the Warren Buffett’s 25-5 Rule. Warren Buffett is consistently ranked among the wealthiest people in the world. Out of all the investors in the 20th century, Buffett was the most successful. So Buffet does applies this particular strategy to prioritize his busy schedule, [2]
  • Lists out his 25 important goals or to-do lists.
  • Then list out only 5 important tasks that need immediate attention.
  • Cancel out the remaining 20-tasks and start working on first task amongst five.
It sounds simple, yet would have an effective and productive impact on any professional’s life. It’s important to figure out what’s not needed compared to what’s needed, which navigates to second problem, procrastination.


Human beings have been procrastinating for centuries. The problem is so timeless, in fact, that ancient Greek philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle developed a word to describe this type of behavior: Akrasia.

Akrasia is the state of acting against your better judgment. It is when you do one thing even though you know you should do something else. Loosely translated, you could say that akrasia is procrastination or a lack of self-control.

Here’s a modern definition:

Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing a task or set of tasks. So, whether you refer to it as procrastination or akrasia or something else, it is the force that prevents you from following through on what you set out to do.

Why Do We Procrastinate?

Ok, definitions are great and all, but why do we procrastinate? What is going on in the brain that causes us to avoid the things we know we should be doing?

This is a good time to bring some science into our discussion. Behavioral psychology research has revealed a phenomenon called “time inconsistency,” which helps explain why procrastination seems to pull us in despite our good intentions. Time inconsistency refers to the tendency of the human brain to value immediate rewards more highly than future rewards.

The best way to understand this is by imagining that you have two selves: your Present Self and your Future Self. When you set goals for yourself — like losing weight or writing a book or learning a language — you are actually making plans for your Future Self. You are envisioning what you want your life to be like in the future. Researchers have found that when you think about your Future Self, it is quite easy for your brain to see the value in taking actions with long-term benefits. The Future Self values long-term rewards.

However, while the Future Self can set goals, only the Present Self can take action. When the time comes to make a decision, you are no longer making a choice for your Future Self. Now you are in the present moment, and your brain is thinking about the Present Self. Researchers have discovered that the Present Self really likes instant gratification, not long-term payoff.

So, the Present Self and the Future Self are often at odds with one another. The Future Self wants to be trim and fit, but the Present Self wants a donut. Sure, everyone knows you should eat healthy today to avoid being overweight in 10 years. But consequences like an increased risk for diabetes or heart failure are years away.

Similarly, many young people know that saving for retirement in their 20s and 30s is crucial, but the benefit of doing so is decades off. It is far easier for the Present Self to see the value in buying a new pair of shoes than in socking away $100 for 70-year-old you. (If you’re curious, there are some very good evolutionary reasons for why our brain values immediate rewards more highly than long-term rewards.)

This is one reason why you might go to bed feeling motivated to make a change in your life, but when you wake up you find yourself falling back into old patterns. Your brain values long-term benefits when they are in the future (tomorrow), but it values immediate gratification when it comes to the present moment (today).

So Question comes, “on how to stop procrastinating!!!”

Well James Clear underlines these three strategies for effectively getting things done.

Make the Rewards of Taking Action More Immediate

If you can find a way to make the benefits of long-term choices more immediate, then it becomes easier to avoid procrastination. One of the best ways to bring future rewards into the present moment is with a strategy known as temptation bundling.

Temptation bundling is a concept that came out of behavioral economics research performed by Katy Milkman at The University of Pennsylvania. Simply put, the strategy suggests that you bundle a behavior that is good for you in the long-run with a behavior that feels good in the short-run.

Make the Consequences of Procrastination More Immediate:

If a particular task  is postponed or procrastinated, make the consequence very critical. If you miss a task or daily routine scheduled, stop eating food for a part.

If you commit to working out with a friend at 7 a.m. next Monday, then the cost of skipping your workout becomes more immediate. Miss this one workout and you feel guilty.

Make the Task More Achievable
  1. Small measures of progress help to maintain momentum over the long-run, which means you’re more likely to finish large tasks.
  2. The faster you complete a productive task, the more quickly your day develops an attitude of productivity and effectiveness.



In 21st century getting distracted is the easiest task among all. A guy who decides to meditate for a while, ends up allocating time for watching  an episode of his favourite sitcom.

A developer engrossed in developing a feature or debugging a system is distracted by the constant notifications of slack and mail.

Finding a distraction free environment is one of the key aspects of getting things done.

The first 90 minutes, when we are beginning to do something are the most important time. The best and productive always get done at these 90 minutes.  In this rule, the first 90 minutes have to become uninterrupted and 15 minutes of break. This particular rule is called 90/20 rule. The decided 90 minutes shouldn’t have any distractions. If in any case, there have been any distraction, then the cycle should be started all over again. This ensures sense of discipline in the work we are doing.

The art of getting things done one wanted is the prior Dharma of every one. This article is an attempt to device some strategy to accomplish that. Hope the reader like that.

Green lights ahead! See you soon!


Software Engineer






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