The Every Other One Method for Productive Focus on those days…
Some days it’s hard to focus. I’m having one of those today. For me they usually happen when I have been really focused on a larger project for a while and then it is done.
There can be that feeling of relief that it is done, and fatigue from expending the energy to get it done. Occasionally accompanied by oh no, did other stuff slide while I was so focused, feeling.
The brain can be scattered until it has a new focus. When you are tired it can be even worse, because none of the things you need to focus on feel right. After years of trial and error, I stumbled upon a method so easy I actually look forward to the days that I get to use it. I get so much done on these days, it can make other days seem unproductive.
I like to call this method The Every Other One Method of getting stuff done. It builds on my Focus on 3 Method so you will still need to think in terms of Now, Next, and After That.
The difference is that the Next thing is always something fun from your to do list that you haven’t gotten to yet. Also, alternating with something fun let’s you have the best of a day off and a fully productive day.
Oh, yeah, and the first thing you do is a 30 minute block of some batched task to jump-start the day.
Here is the step by step.
Always have an ongoing to do list (the ideas and little one off tasks you need to consider or get done eventually) – you will need it for days like this.
Always know what your routine tasks are for the day ahead.
Now, set your timer for 30 minutes and do everything on your to do list that you can squeeze into that 30 minutes that is a one off thing that never quite makes it into the routine. For example, your routine might involve making phone calls in a batch, but those calls are usually business related, and there are 3 personal calls on your to do list. Make those 3 personal calls and then as many of the business ones as you can in the 30 minutes checking them off as you do.
Next, watch an episode of Maron. You can now because you called the cable company about your slow internet speed and got that channel upgrade free when you did.
After that, work on a larger project – just one thing or step to move it forward. The timing on this can be up to, but no longer than 90 minutes. Just 30 minutes is preferred.
Now, walk the dog and read an article you have been putting off.
Next, do 30 minutes of as many tidy up, or organization tasks form the list as you can. If you finish do some business tracking of some sort for the remainder of the 30 minutes.
After that, watch that Ted Talk you bookmarked with the intention of watching when you had the time.
Now, work on routine tasks for 30 minutes.
Continue working in this manner, alternating a fun thing with 30 minutes of focused work until the end of your day.
Notice that the time limiters are on purpose. To have an Every Other One Day you need to move your self along and even the most dreaded task can be endured for 30 minutes. Also, notice that some things might be less time. That is ok – you will just get more done.
I warn you, these days can be addictive and are not necessarily the best way to run things long term. They are designed to help you be and feel productive on those days when you are not quite in the zone.
Let me know what you fun slots get filled with.