100% Less Yak Shaving — Or Your Money Back
I keep a yellow legal pad on the desk with me. When I’m working on a project and have an idea, I writer it down on the legal pad. Then I go back to what I was doing.
Why is this important?
There’s this whole thing about multi-tasking and context switching that you should Google and read about and I don’t want to get into because I only have 500 words and I could spend three hours talking about it. Google “Context Switching and Multitasking” and watch “Who Moved My Brain?” by Merlin Mann (and his Inbox Zero video too, while you’re at it).
The long and short of it is this: by having that pad there, you’re able to capture the idea as you think of it (immediately) and not get distracted. This has three benefits.
Capture It Now
There is no pause between me thinking of the idea and writing it down. It is captured for later. I can reference it
No Context Switching
I hear you, friend, “Yeah, I do that too, I save it to my task manager and” —
Nope. Stop right there. Instant capture to a task manager (even, I’d say, Omnifocuses quick entry feature — and I say that as someone who used Omnifocus for nine years.) is a distraction and breaks your concentration and attention.
When you flip to Things, Omnifocus, Wunderlist, Taskpaper, Trello, Asana, Jura, Teamwork, or even a text file you keep open, you are switching context and breaking attention.
That means — google it — a 10-30 minute period before you are at full attention again.
No Chasing Rabbits
NARRATOR VOICE: Has this ever happened to you?
- You’re working on A Thing
- You think of an idea, a quick thing just 5 minutes
- You switch tasks to work on that other thing
- It’s taking longer than you thought and you discovered two other things you need to fix — ugh — to get the first thing working
- Shit, now you need to run an update on a thing
- Oh wait this headline has a typo in it
Thirty minutes pass
You get that thing done yet?
This happens to me all the time. So I nip it in the bud
- I am working on a thing
- I think of a quick thing, just 5 minutes to finish it
- I write it down on my note pad
- I continue working on the original thing
(I wrote down three things while writing this letter)
The notepad grows. Some days I have 10-20 things noted down there. Some days I only have 2 or 3.
What matters is you’re capturing the idea when you have it and not breaking your attention to focus on something else.