Boiling the Oceans | In-Between the Pages

Coffee Break (Image: Shawn Ward)

We’re in turbo mode just about everyday of the week. This is both careless and really risky. You need perspective and focus when it comes to following your goals. We try so hard to boil the ocean, leaving zero time to pause and check in on our current plotting.

Read a recent article from Fast Company by David Finkel and how he’s learned to set aside two days each week to work on just one thing. With all our competing priorities we just have to hit the pause button or lose yourself in your trajectory to win. Here’s some, but not all of the competing priorities we have:

• 57% of our attention is robbed by emailing
• Interruptions from our peers and bosses that want more,17% each
• Meetings and WebEx fun accompanies and can take another 9%

I get it, sometimes these competing priorities are absolutely essential to the strategy. But, when do you fit in or do the deep work you need to do? Where does the other stuff like connecting with your peers or team fit? Most of the time it doesn’t and we won’t make the time needed to do it because we’re upside down. We are poor planners and all have a bit of ADHD in us.

David has a brilliant idea that I’ve adopted into my weekly rhythms. Pick a focus day. I’ve tried to create time blocks for white space daily for time to think or work on projects uninterrupted, but I’ve yet to maintain the habit of consistency day to day. Planning it for its own day creates a priority for it and a special place holder. David calls it different than time batching because with time batching daily we are more likely to stand ourselves up. We subconsciously think we have the same time tomorrow, I’ll just move it to the next day. By giving yourself 1-2 focus days with a 1-4 hour time slot is not that easy to pass on. You have no where to pass it, so you will default to sticking to your guns and dig in.

Your week will also build into the focus day. You learn to batch data and defer to your focus day with precision only the things you need for that day. This creates focus in of it self as a daily habit. You will feel relief. As you chunk information for that project deep dive to the actual focus day you can let go more during that week. Much better than sucking up time you don’t have in that moment. You’ll get time back for other things.

It’s also made me a much better long term planner. I don’t let anyone or anything take that 4 hour block on Monday’s away from me. I plan everything aroun the focus day. I find my peers/team know that is my thinking day and time, for the most part they don’t disturb it.

Here’s the article:

How I Set Aside Two Days Each Week to Work On Just One Thing

You may translate it a little differently than I did. That’s fine. Still an outstanding three page read by David to check out. Definitely a smarter way to work.

Have a great weekend!


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