(last edited on August 6, 2014 at 12:13 am)
It’s 9PM on Friday evening, officially the end of my first themed work week, which is an experiment to explore this question:
If I focused on one main project for the week INSTEAD of for the day, would I be any more productive, or would I just be giving myself a lot of room to goof off?
If I have a singular focus for the week, will that make it easier for me to tackle the harder work?
The theory behind “tackling the harder work” is that even an entire day does not seem like enough time for me to switch from one project to another, and get something done. Other people may be able to do it, but I suspect that I can not because of the nature of the most difficult aspects of my work and my own cognitive limitations. I say that not as something to feel BAD about, mind you! It’s just the way the situation might be, so let me deal with it like any other strategic challenge.
The Week in Review
This week’s focus was blogging week, so that meant I was (1) measuring my productivity by counting what “bloggy” things I got done and (2) whether I got the harder tech stuff done for my new website launch.
The immediate take-aways, writing off the cuff:
- Shoulda/coulda ramped up earlier on the hard stuff. If I had started the website launch work on Monday, I might have been ramped-up by Wednesday and “in the zone” to Friday. I started ramping-up late Thursday evening instead, and spent most of Friday getting to the point of clarity where I could write the actual difficult code bits. I’ll keep that in mind for the coming week.
Writing feels good, though. I DID get a lot of writing done, though much of it is probably not of a “timeless quality”. I got some content strategy thinking out of the way too, which has resulted in a change in my writing approach.
I strengthened internal processes by addressing perceived weaknesses. Some of my time was swallowed by fixing processes like JOURNALING; I re-instituted journaling in Scrivener, which is great for keeping all my notes in one place in a cross-referenceable form. I documented technical information related to all the work I did this week in Scrivener so I can find it, and then move it elsewhere. All my BLOG POSTS this week, in fact, were drafted in Scrivener in straight-up Markdown. The power of having a fast and decent side-by-side text processor with good formatting is really important for someone like me.
I limited WildStar time, and I didn’t explode. I detached from playing WildStar completely during the last half of the week, as insight-producing and fun as it had been, because I always felt like jumping into the world. Establishing a week’s focus on blogging had allowed me NOT to think about other projects, and putting “Playing WildStar” ended up being in the same category.
I felt less stress as I got more of a variety of work done. It’s only the first week, but I feel pretty good about the progress I’ve made. Some of this is due, of course, to the “experimental high” I feel when doing this kind of explorative behavior change, so it will be at least another four weeks before I will have a more objective perspective.
p>Overall, I feel…balanced? I was able to deal with life’s many social and domestic interruptions (which NEVER will go away) WITHOUT feeling like I was juggling too many balls at once. Instead, I had exactly one ball: blogging improvement. I had exactly one metric: counting the number of tangible, demonstrable improvements were produced. Switching between some sundry task then jumping back to “blog focus” felt luxurious. I was still exhausted at the end of every day, but it felt a bit different…I’m not sure exactly how, yet.
The Coming Week
Next week is devoted to a long-time client who usually gets a few hours a month on whatever available days I have. He’s willing to see what a whole week’s pace will be like. I’m really not sure what it will be like. It’s probably not going to be like a 40-hour a week 9-to-5 employee situation, but his business will have my default attention to advance the various projects we’ve discussed. Should be interesting!
So I didn’t get to the point I could launch the website, but I am in a much better position than I was before. I have diagnosed and documented exactly what code changes need to be made, down to specific function calls in specific files, so from this point on it’s a matter of implementing it step-by-step and testing. It’s a rather complicated change, modifying some code I wrote 10 years ago for WordPress 1.0 to provide image management and caching support before such features were built-in, then test-applying the changes to nearly 2000 posts and seeing if it worked. Maybe I will try tackling it on the weekend, but we will see!
[Total Writing to Post/Post Edit Time: 56 minutes]
This reminds me of Mark Forster’s Spinning Plates method.
It sounds like by having a weekly theme, you have fewer plates to spin during the week, and can do a good job spinning them up. (Next time you work on blogging, you’ll know if they spun down nicely, or they crashed, or you chose the right maintenance speed.)
Thanks for the heads-up, Cricket Just reading up on Mark’s method here.
His use of the word “project” in this post is much finer-grained than mine, from what I can tell in the example photo he provided. The idea of getting momentum going, though, is really interesting. Sort of a way of multi-tasking across many tasks and maintaining some sense of continuity?