On my desk, there is a legal pad and a pen. These two tools help me stay focused on whatever I’m working on.
They protect me from distractions and side quests.
When I’m working, I’ll often get distracted by a small, related task:
- Fix that webpage
- Place on order for that shirt on Amazon
- Send that email
- Post that tweet
And I’ll jump around and start working on that next thing before I’ve finished working on the first thing. Oy vey.
Now? When I get that “oh, I should take care of This Other Thing!” feeling, my first step is to write This Other Thing down on my legal pad:
Take care of This Other Thing
Then, I get back to work on whatever I was working on before. Once I finish working on that, I can start work on the next thing.
This small habit helps me fight fires throughout my day.
Let’s say I have a call with a prospective client. I’m writing them an email with a link to the page for my Business Strategy Session (https://kaidavis.com/call/). Before I hit send, I remember “Wait, I need to add that new testimonial to the page!”
Once I have that thought, I write it down:
Add new testimonial to 1-on-1 call page (https://kaidavis.com/call/)
And then I get back to what I was working on.
Does the page need to be updated? Absolutely.
Do I need to do it this minute and break context on what I’m doing? Absolutely not. Updating the page isn’t an emergency. No one is bleeding.
The flow I’m working on looks like this:
- Start work on That Thing
- Remember This Other Thing that’s related to That Thing
- Write This Other Thing down on The Legal Pad
- Continue forward with That Thing I’m working on
- Finish That Thing
- Look at The Legal Pad and This Other Thing. Decide, “do I need to tackle This Other Thing now?” If not, add it to Omnifocus/Trello to sort in later.
By writing the ideas, distractions, and thoughts down as I come across them, I avoid getting lost on these small, related projects. With this little habit, I’m able to focus on my priorities and avoid getting distracted by side quests.