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You can't do All The Things, no matter how efficient you are.

Treat your to-read pile like a river | Oliver Burkeman:

Unfortunately, most advice on productivity and time management takes the needle-in-a-haystack approach instead. It's about becoming more efficient and organised, or better at prioritising, with the implied promise that you might thereby eliminate or disregard enough of life's unimportant nonsense to make time for the meaningful stuff. To stretch a metaphor: it's about reducing the size of the haystack, to make it easier to focus on the needle. There's definitely a role for such techniques; but in the end, the only way to deal with a too-many-needles problem is to confront the fact that it's insoluble – that you definitely won't be fitting everything in. (Of course some such problems, where just scraping a living feels impossible, demand political solutions too – a topic for another time.) It's not a question of rearranging your to-do list so as to make space for all your "big rocks", but of accepting that there are simply too many rocks to fit in the jar. You have to take a stab at deciding what matters most, among your various creative passions/life goals/responsibilities – and then do that, while acknowledging that you'll inevitably be neglecting many other things that matter too.

My former workplace was big into the rocks-and-sand metaphor, and Burkeman’s post here gets at what always bothered me about that approach.

We can’t do All The Things, because there are too many things.

Even if we assume that the purveyors and promoters of time management and efficiency strategies and methodologies are on the up-and-up (and I tend to assume they are not), what they are actually offering is the hollow promise that we will not have to take responsibility for choosing which of the things are most important to us.

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