I was absolutely slammed at work and wrapped up in errands and prior obligations until nearly 9:30 tonight, so I didn’t have much time or energy left to do much else today. There was a thread I was participating in over on Product Lab, though, where I ended up writing out a little bit of information about my task and project process. From the quoted comment I’m responding to below onwards, I have pasted my outline. Hopefully this will be interesting to someone, and please don’t hesitate to drop a message in the comments if you have any questions!
I still have too many interests and they crowd each other such that it’s hard to get anything through.
Same, this is so challenging to manage! On one hand, you want to stay curious and interested, and to explore why things work or are the way that they are. On the other, however, I know that it is very easy for me to get wrapped up in the process and have it intrude on other potentially more reactive or time-sensitive objectives. Especially with a new hobby or concept, I tend to get a little obsessive initially until I understand core concepts and know enough to seek out and identify higher quality information. In a similar vein, I hesitate to abandon something prematurely.
Surprise surprise, I have adopted systems to try to manage and overcome these challenges, haha. I do not know if writing all of this out will be helpful, so my apologies in advance, but maybe there will be something useful to someone. I do not follow these religiously, but try to be mindful and lean on them when it makes sense to do so.
For longer-form projects and hobbies, I use a Trello board set up with columns that represent project lifecycle (intake, launching, launched, mature, and closed, as well as stale and abandoned) so, at a glance, I can see roughly where things left off. Each whole project is a single card, and contains task lists, an activity history of comments to myself, and links to resources so that I can quickly review and pick up where I left off, and larger projects contain links to external boards or cards for more detailed information. The active decision to mark items as stale or abandoned is liberating, in a sense, as it’s the conscious decision and forgiveness to let something go. With everything being archived through Trello, so I can always come back to a project in the future if things change.
For competing immediate focus, I’ve found tremendous benefit in running tasks and projects through a number of filters, both at work and home.
When I’m either short on time or resources and have competing objectives that should be addressed immediately, I’ve set up a Trello board with an Eisenhower Matrix that I use for rough-sorting. This is a quick gut-check way to very quickly calibrate myself when considering the whole of my objectives, rather than as isolated individual “wants” or “needs”.
After that, if there is still too much on my plate, or when comparing similar-priority items, the next filter I use is an Impact / Urgency Matrix to help me identify where my resources will be best spent (time being the most expensive resource). In extreme cases, anything left after that gets fed into my rank-order prioritization workbooks (but this is a lot of overhead for anything that’s not extremely life-impacting…gotta find that balance between time spent on process over time spent actually doing the thing, right?)
While these are going on, I really try to be cognizant of the Focus Funnel, and to consider the overall significance of what I’m working towards. Is there a way to build cohesion across skill sets? Can I reduce or automate things that I do regularly? Could I delegate a fraction of the mental load and lean on my network and reach out to an expert or mentor to get their opinion or be pointed in the right direction? Can I give myself permission to mindfully procrastinate on something and not beat myself up for doing so? Will I be impacted by taking on this action in 1 month, 1 year, or longer?
I realize that this is a lot of overhead for 85% of things, but for that remaining 15%, there’s often not much time to get to them at all, so I’ve perceived a lot of personal benefit from these processes.
- Post my daily updates on Product Lab
- Post my daily updates on the TD Collection discord
- Add a search bar component to the navigation element
- 30 minutes
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