Work, efficiency, and flow

Work, efficiency, flow.
This series is about how to actually get things done.
You’ve already decided what you want to do, what you consider to be worth doing, but now how do you actually go through the steps to actually do it? And I’ve run into so many different roadblocks along the way, as I’m sure we all have.
Especially when you’re trying to go on some kind of new route, do something different.
Maybe you’re not being guided step by step through what you have to do.
You have to do it.
And so there’s so many ways that real work can get blocked or sidetracked.
And one thing is just simply having too many things to do.
It’s like this overload of just task after task lined up.
Sometimes it just seems like there’s just so many things to do that it’s distracting.
It’s hard to focus on just one thing, because there’s always this big cloud of tasks that are somehow hanging over my head.
Like oh, I have to do this.
Don’t forget about that.
Don’t forget about that.
Just sort of hanging there.
And so in many ways I find the ideal state is just to have only one thing.
Imagine this sort of ideal state that’s so difficult – I don’t know if it’s even achievable, really – but to have simply one activity at a time, and to do it as if it’s the only thing that matters, and just go into that activity with full focus and attention.
Of course, easier said than done.
One of the other things that interferes with that is just that there’s often so many interruptions in the day, so many different things that distract us automatically just as time goes by that it’s hard to just focus on one thing for any length of time, because there’s always something coming up.
And so finding this uninterrupted time, blocking out time for focus, and letting there be big chunks of time with pure focus, can be very powerful.
Then there’s the problem of having the wrong energy level.
So you’ve scheduled out your day, you have your nice chunk of time ready for work, so “OK, I got four hours to work right now.
I don’t feel like working.” I’ve also had this problem.
So no matter how well organized your day is, there’s kind of a back and forth between the part of ourselves that wants to program like a robot and say “Do this and this and this” and plan out a whole plan, and the other part of us that just wants to have fun, feel good, and not want to do any work.
Unless it’s fun or interesting work.
And so learning those different energy levels: maybe there’s certain times of day, and with certain environments where we are able to be in a good state of focus, ready to work.
Other times of day, other environments where no matter how much time we schedule, we’re not getting much done.
So learning how to work with those energy levels that we have can be very powerful.
And that also includes accepting unproductive time.
It’s OK to not be some kind of machine of productivity where we’re just maximizing every second.
We can say OK, life is short, so we should make the most of every second.
But we can’t work the most out of every second as if we’re just pure work machines.
We can get a lot of work done, I believe.
We can work a lot harder than we know.
But in order to be able to get the best work done over a long time, we have to be able to accept time where we just don’t try to be productive.
And we don’t always have to make it a big fight to be productive at all times, and every unproductive hour is a big loss.
I’ve found it helpful to simply allow myself to have certain unproductive time, and just go with it as part of an overall program that allows me to work better when I am working.
Another thing, when it comes to inefficiency, is to accept that every time we do something new, it’s always going to be inefficient.
When we’re exploring, we’re trying new things, it just takes a long time, and often there’s not a lot to show for it.
Whereas if we have an established system that’s just going time after time, maybe we can be a lot more efficient.
But anytime we’re doing something new, that exploration is part of what we’re achieving with that time.
So that idea of exploration can be factored into our feeling of how much we’re actually getting out of our time.
And finally, there’s the question of well, what do I do? What do I do next? I don’t know what to do.
And sometimes the answer, the simple answer, to all this is to just do anything that is somehow useful.
You have a big list of things, you don’t know where to start: just do one thing.
Do some little simple thing.
Just do anything.
If you’re not trying to move forward with the work, just hit one of those things that you feel like you really should do, you know you need to do, something has been nagging at you, something you know is coming up, you know it’s on your plate, you know you need to take care of.
Just start, and do anything.
And sometimes that’s the best way to get through the day.

#work #productivity #getthingsdone

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