Every activity has three parts
In our quest to organize our lives, we often fail to account for an important factor when planning our days: the hidden time segments enveloping each activity. Those pockets of preparation and wrap-up are not idle periods but vital constituents of each activity that we tend to underestimate, leading to an accelerated heartbeat, raised cortisol levels, and that all-too-familiar sensation of running late. Once again.
Each activity we engage in can be deconstructed into a three-stage process: Preparation, Execution, and Decompression. Or Recognizing this tripartite structure is the first step toward improving your time management skills.
If the concept of time estimation seems daunting, breaking down an activity into its three fundamental components can help you allocate your time more accurately and efficiently. Every endeavor has its setup and cleanup time; acknowledging this will lend a newfound precision to your scheduling.
Consider my daily exercise routine on the stationary bike, a 30-minute activity at its core. Yet, when dissected, this ’30-minute’ workout balloons into a full hour. The additional half-hour accommodates the prerequisites and aftermaths of the workout: changing into workout gear, prepping the equipment, hydrating beforehand, as well as post-exercise protocols such as putting away the equipment, cooling down, rehydrating, showering, and changing back into regular clothes.
1h = 15 m + 30 m + 15 m
Remember, underestimating the duration of an activity is an oversimplification. When you truly acknowledge the necessity of preparation and decompression time for each task, you will not only mitigate stress but also elevate the efficiency and effectiveness of your daily routines. The reality is that any activity demands more time than it ostensibly seems when we consider the comprehensive time frame—before, during, and after. Embrace this reality to master the art of time management and transform the way you plan your days.
Typical 3-part activities
|Breakfast||Get the cutlery and food |
|Eat and drink||Clean up the table and clean up.|
Get equipment ready
|Exercise||Remove equipment, |
shower, get dressed
|Meeting||Get material ready,|
Read invite and agenda,
Take notes of questions to ask,
Walk to the room
Login to Zoom
|Meeting||Write down some notes, |
Schedule follow up activities,
Walk back to desk.
|Go to movies||Get ready and dressed,|
Travel to venue,
Walk to cinema.
|Watch the movie||Get to car, |