Entrepreneurs Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson write in their book It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work
that most life hacks, sleep hacks, and time-management hacks don’t work.
These hacks are all driven by an obsession with trying to squeeze more time out of the day.
But as Fried and Heinemeier Hansson point out, rearranging your daily patterns to find more time isn’t the problem: “Too much shit to do is the problem.”
The way to get more done is to have less to do – you have to say no to claw back time.
Instead of shuffling twelve things so that you can do them in a different order, eliminate seven of the twelve things, and you’ll then have more time left for the remaining five.
It’s not about time-management, it’s about “obligation elimination.”
At their company Basecamp, Fried and Heinemeier Hansson have been ruthless about eliminating work that doesn’t need to be done as well as work they don’t want to do.
They tell a story about simplifying the payment process for both their customers and themselves.
At one point, Basecamp accepted payment by credit card and check. Credit card processing was automated, but the process for accepting checks was manual: the checks were mailed in, so someone had to receive them, process them, deal with incorrect amounts, and ensure that each check was associated with the right account.
In response to this, some companies might have hired a person to process the checks, or come up with some way to use money, technology, or time to try to make the process more automated.
But Fried and Heinemeier Hansson simply eliminated the process altogether.
They admit that the change turned away some revenue and some customers, but for them it was more of a trade away: “We traded some revenue for some time.”