Good morning and happy Monday to you all. It is the start of the work week for most, and usually for me, but this week I get to stay home in my pajamas because it’s fall break! I am taking the whole week to do only what I want to do. I don’t mean eating, Netflix, and naps, I mean catching up on posts and comments here, working on some creative writing pieces, and making something with my hands.
Sadly, I won’t be getting paid for my week off and that made the decision to stay home a hard one. I’ve been frustrated that there never seemed to be enough time for me to do much more writing and editing than what was required for this blog so I made the choice to do what felt right to me. I chose to use the time for my own personal goals.
I’m not good at managing my time though, especially my free time, unstructured, staying in my pajamas, time. Every day that I’m not at work I always make plans to get so much done and I never accomplish all that I want to. My problem is I get distracted so easily. I sit down to type or do some research and next thing I know I am up loading the dishwasher or eating a bowl of mac and cheese and making excuses to why it’s okay to start a two-hour movie.
Every few minutes I have to check my phone’s notifications and I get sucked into Facebook or Twitter. I decide I need more coffee and I figure while I’m up I should take out the trash. Then I remember there is a load of laundry in the wash that needs to go into the dryer and…and…and that’s why it takes hours and hours to write one blog post. Even now I am fighting the urge to check YouTube or Tumblr. Could you imagine how it would be if I were trying to write a book? The damn thing would never get written!
Focus is a matter of deciding what things you’re not going to do.
– John Carmack
So this week I am working on time management and focus. My goal is to be able to work uninterrupted for 30 minutes at a time, then I can get up for 10 to do whatever popped into my head during those 30 minutes. I set a timer on my phone and I pick a mix from The Fader’s playlist and I type. I cannot open a new browser tab unless it directly relates to what I am writing. I keep a piece of paper and a pen next to me so I can write down anything I remember I want to do during my 10 minutes break.
Thirty minutes doesn’t sound like much but that’s because people very rarely work on one task at a time with complete focus for an extended period. Usually our minds are all over the place and where our minds go the body follows. I have tried this before in the past and it is amazing what you can do in such a short time if you do nothing but work on one task. I wrote this whole post in that time.*
I learned about the 30-10 hack a long time ago but like most people I believed that multi-tasking was the key to productivity. I thought “do all the tasks at once with no breaks” was the way to go because that’s what I had read on a lot of “productivity” blogs. Lately I have been suspicious of that advice, mainly because it has never seemed to work, so I thought I would do something different. So far today the 30-10 plan is working so I will stick with it all week and report back at the end.
In the meantime, I’d like to know if you have a similar way to work or manage your time? How do you stay focused? Do you believe in multi-tasking or are you a “one task at a time” type of person. Have you tried the 30-10 trick? Did it work? Let me know in the comments and, please, enjoy your Monday :)
I do what I do, and I do it well, and focus and take it one moment at a time.
– Jim Caviezel
Original image via Mark Hunter