This is the second of 3 posts on The Renaissance Man’s Guide To Maintaining Momentum While Doing Everything. You can read part 1 here.
Making The Shift
Ah, implementation, always the hardest part. Let’s jump right in.
Remember from last time that shifting tasks is like shifting gears in a manual car. Once you got it, it’s no problem, you keep your momentum and you can go even faster. But, if you screw it up, you’ll jack up your gearshift, make a lot of unpleasant noise and stall out your engine. So let’s not screw it up!
The quickest way to make shifting easier is to do less of it. Say I have three goals: A, B, and C.
- Goal A = Get X number of hits to the Blog of Impossible Things
- Goal B = Build a successful side business in my spare time
- Goal C = Run a Half Ironman sometime next year
Each goal has their own set of things that need to happen in order to accomplish it. Things that need to be done right now, things that need to be done soon, and things that need to be done in the near future. Instead of focusing on the 27 different tasks that need to be done for each individual task, I start to block them together based on time & goal. You can see a visualization of this below.
This lets me see everything at once, but it also lets you see what tasks go together and what things have to be done now versus the things that have to be done later. It also lets me see which tasks need to be done to achieve each goal.
Block It Up, Man
Once, I get this organized, I prefer to attack the tasks in blocks based on my goals. So for example, I’d start with task 1,2 & 3. When I’m doing with that I’ll do 4 & 5 and then move on to 6, 7, 8, & 9. This way even if I only get to task 7, I’ve still finished off the RIGHT NOW stages for Goal A and Goal B and can move on to the soon tasks for both of those goals.
I could just do task 1 & 2 then skip to 4, and then skipped to 7, 8 & 9, but if I did that, I’d still end up with things to do in the soon category from each goal, I’d see less progress overall and I wouldn’t move forward.
Get it done, cross it off your list and then move on to the next project.
Create Less Friction
Answer the questions you know the answer to and then come back to the ones you skipped if you have time.
Every test I took from Kindergarten to College, I got that test-taking advice. You know what? It works. I actually took the advice, used it and aced a bunch of tests by doing just that (see, not everything they teach you in school is bad).
So what does that have to do with shifting between tasks? Take that advice, but instead of referring to test taking, we’ll apply it to doing tasks. When switching between tasks do the thing that causes less friction. In other words, do the things that are easy right away and come back to the harder ones later.
If switching to one task creates a lot of friction, do something else. That doesn’t mean forget about it entirely, you should come back to it later, but don’t be afraid to pass on something that causes a lot of friction. You won’t hear me say this often, but this is one of the times you should take the path of least resistance.
For example, if I’m working on Goal A, my blog, a lot of the tasks will involve writing. If I finish up the right now portion of my blog goals, and am on a roll writing, I might go right to the writing portion of Goal B, working on my business site, and keep writing, since I’m in a groove.
However, if I’m slogging through a blog post that’s hard to write and after finally finish it after spending too much time on it and find myself completely exhausted, I might take a break, go for a run, swim some laps or hit the gym to get me to closer to goal C and take my mind of off writing.
Remember, none of these are mindless tasks, but things that are actively moving me closer to my goals. I’m just making better use of my time and actions by acting intentionally.
Keep it moving
Remember the point here is to keep things moving and to keep doing things. Once you stop, it gets much harder to start back up again. You begin to stagnate and you’ll start rationalizing your inaction.
Stay tuned for pt. 3 next Tuesday, where we’ll wrap it all up.