Quicksort – Divide and Conquer Algorithm and Time Management

One article is not enough to explain an algorithm thoroughly. However, the intention here is to take advantage of the concept and apply it to our daily tasks to become more productive.

First off, we have the procrastination problem. We all suffer from that problem to some extent because it is natural to human beings to postpone boring, dull tasks. We tend to do them when there is no option like a near deadline or our boss waiting next door for us to finish a presentation and steal our ideas and call them his own. It might sound like a joke, but it happens all the time.

The problem with procrastination is that tasks seem to grow and accumulate in a pile making us unable to manage all the work at some point. We start thinking about bail out, quitting, suicide or any other easy way out. Anything that save us from finishing what we should have done weeks ago in the first place. Here is when the quicksort algorithm could become handy.

The concept of the quicksort algorithm used in programming, is to divide an conquer. First taking a point of comparison called pivot, which is an element on the group, and then categorizing the items in comparison to that pivot. On one side, you would find higher elements and on the other side, lower elements. It could be numbers, color intensity, size, or whatever you need to compare. The pivot would start locating itself on the place that correspond to it among the group. Then, it would take small sub groups and would start sub categorizing those small sections. Then, it would do the same to the other sections until the whole group, would be completely categorized.

This method is a lot more productive than comparing element by element, having no point of comparison or categorization applied. If you try to categorize the whole group without a concept like the shown above, you would end up paralyzed not knowing what to do next. Just like you are right now with the pile of work undone.

That process, which might sound a bit complicated at first sight, is very simple, If you want to apply this to your load of work ahead, you simply take one of those tasks. Anyone. That would be your pivot. Then, use deadlines, or priorities, as your unit to categorize your work. For instance, if you are doing office work, and your pile of work is placed as it comes, it would be very easy because those papers on top, would have less priority than those at the bottom, which obviously, were placed first. But, you could have just received a priority call for an email to be send as soon as possible at risk of losing your job. Then you need to measure deadlines and priority.

After defining the work categories, make a checklist and start working hard until you check everything from the list. By dividing the work load, you would conquer procrastination and get your life back.

This system works even better if you are an entrepreneur because your motivation to do your work is a lot better than if you were a simple employee. You are not working so hard just to keep a lousy and underpaid job, but you will work to become richer and by becoming richer, having the happiness that comes from helping others to have a better life.

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