Why Giving Up Can Be the Best Time Management and Productivity Technique

By Super Performance

June 3, 2014   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

When we think of productivity we often look at it as the accomplishment of a set list of tasks. However, from time to time we find that our time management skills and productivity start to suffer when we try to take on a particularly taxing task. It is in situations like this that we feel like we are at an impasse. When this happens it may be surprising to hear that the best course of action, counter intuitive as it may sound, is to simply give up the task.

Here are some reasons why giving up can be the best decision that you make for your time management and productivity.

It may be strange to think of giving up as a potential positive step forward. After all, we are taught from childhood to never give up as it is a sign of being flaky and being unable to commit to tasks or goals. However, there is a flip side to never compromising and never giving up.

By choosing to never give up on a task you are making the decision that, no matter what, you will complete the task at hand regardless of whether or not doing so is efficient. As a result you could end up wasting a significant amount of time trying to accomplish one task while letting several other essential tasks fall by the wayside.

This is not to say that giving up is something that should be a first, or even second, response. Giving up requires the resolve of someone who knows their own limits. You have to be able to know at what point you should give up. After all, it is understandable that one would not want to quit if one were on the verge of success.

A good rule of thumb is, before setting out to accomplish a task, setting up parameters for your task. Decide under what circumstances and what amount of progress has or has not been made in a given amount of time it is acceptable to give up.

Another thing that you need to consider before giving up is the concept of task quality. If you do not have a lot of items on your to-do list you may use this as a justification for not giving up on something. You may think to yourself that you do not have much else on your agenda so you might as well continue with your current task. However, the task that you are neglecting in favor of the task that you should give up on could be far more important. It is human nature to focus on the lengthiest task first when dealing with an agenda.

As a result of this we tend to think of the shortest task as being the least important. Let’s compare the task of, just for example, building a fence versus the task of paying an electric bill. Building the fence is more labor intensive. It takes up a lot of materials and paint. It takes a lot of time. Paying an electric bill takes no time at all. However, if you neglect paying your electric bill because you were building a fence you will end up with no electricity in your home. The quality of the task is everything.

The actual action of giving up may prove difficult to some. As previously mentioned, we are taught from an early age that giving up is to be frowned upon. However, when one begins to look at giving up as simply an ability that leads to further productivity it becomes easier to actually commit to quitting. Remember that giving up is actually a key step of time management makes it easier to apply to other aspects of your daily life and to-do list.

It is important that one begins to separate the act of giving up from the concept of personal failure. People will often stick to a task to the point of self destruction, even if they know trying is futile, because they feel there is no other option. This is a belief that needs to be conquered.

When you get down to it giving up is not really giving up so much as it is establishing priorities. By giving up on one task you are deciding to move forward with things that are more practical and important. By keeping in mind that giving on a task does not make one a failure one can begin to stop wasting time and start getting things done.

Super Performance

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