I’ve been playing with four organizing theories lately. You know, trying to do more with less, be more productive, make better use of my time.
Flip The Switch – In Flip the Switch, the theory is that while immersed in a project, you’re either all in or all out. Thinking that the fence-walking we do, the ideas that pop into our heads in our cars or in our showers, the disjointed tidbits that stream in….well that’s what Flip the Switch wants to break. This requires full, exerted concentration, complete immersion into what one is doing at the moment, and then, absolutely nothing at all. Work becomes work, play becomes play and there is no in between.
Bullet To Do – In Bullet To Do, your laundry list is written in bullet form, simple statements such as “Call Carly” or “Pickup Dry Cleaning” or “Pay Bill”. Verb and noun. And this theory lends to the tiny little baby steps that lead to any large overarching goal, you gotta walk by step. You complete the action, bullet point done. 1/2 completed, bullet circle 1/2 colored in. Bullet To Do is also based in the idea that you can quickly scan your lists (digital or analog) and immediately see what has to be revisited.
Three A Day – Three A Day is based on the idea that your major goals for each work day should exceed no more than three large projects. So today, I had a morning appoint, an afternoon booking, and an evening event. There’s my three. And in the windows of those three is where all the little stuff happens, the filler material. The bulk of the day, is the completion of those three projects and when done, successful day. It’s a balance of scale. Large projects versus small actions. This one’s been working for me, at the end of the week, when it’s successful I’ve been mastering more by refusing anything but my three main goals each day.
20 Minutes – In 20 minutes, the theory is that three segments of 20 minutes does an hour make. So you do one task for no more than 20 minutes. Have extra time, take a rest. Need more time, TOO BAD FOR YOU. Schedule another 20 minute block. This is based on the idea that we really in the modern age can’t concentrate on anything for more than a full 20 minutes, and if you haven’t tried it, away from the computer feels like a reallllllly long time. Online, now 20 minutes feels like 2, so get real.
There’s a fifth concept out there I’m courting presently, and this is the work of Jason Fried who basically says stop trying so damn hard. Stop with the competition of your neighbors, stop the striving, stop the endless scheduling, stop the glorification of busy. And then he goes on to say purposely creatively destruct what you’ve grown used to. Well, here. Hear for yourself. Is he onto something??
“The easiest thing to do is become comfortable and complacent,” says Fried. And the more comfortable you become with a way of doing things, the more willing you are to protect it, even if it no longer is the most effective way to create something.
In this talk, Fried provides a blueprint to change our work habits. “When there’s a forced change in the way you work on a regular basis, you create moments to look at something fresh,” he says. “If you begin to do that, you will see it a little bit differently and you have a chance at making a change.”
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