Three ways to do one thing at a time - Deepstash

Three ways to do one thing at a time

  • Use a personal kanban: Divide a whiteboard into three columns - ready to do, doing, and done. Write your tasks on sticky notes, and stick them under one of the three columns. Allow one or two tasks in the "doing" column.
  • Batch your tasks: You'll get through more in one unbroken hour spent on one task than breaking up the task in smaller chunks throughout the day.
  • Cultivate deliberate imbalance: Instead of a life makeover, pick one area to focus on each month or quarter, and postpone the rest.

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MORE IDEAS FROM THEARTICLE

Doing various things at once is usually a way to quieten anxiety. When you're drowning in to-dos, it's calming to feel that you're getting to lots of them at the same time. It's also reassuring to think that you're handling all the issues, not just one.

But the feeling is misleading. Research shows that you waste time and energy "task-switching". Worse, each activity becomes a way of avoiding the next. It means that you make less progress in many areas, and you make less progress overall.

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Doing too many things at once

The desire to do too many things at once is not new. It takes on an extra form at new year - the desire to also add a total life makeover, sorting out your work backlog, fixing relationship issues, your health, and your home repairs all at once.

The urge should be resisted. The one ingredient for a happier and more meaningful new year is the opposite: to improve your ability to do only one thing at a time.

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The biggest part of learning to do one thing at a time is trying to control that discomfort that comes from knowing what you're not getting done.

Success comes from building one thing at a time. There are limits. You can't put your job on hold while writing, or stop parenting while you work on your fitness. But you can strive to move your life in the direction of having only a handful of projects at any one time.

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RELATED IDEAS

You are 2x to 3x more likely to follow through with a habit if you make a specific plan for when, where, and how you are going to implement it. This is known as an implementation intention.

You can use this formula: “During the next week, I will partake in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on [DAY] at [TIME OF DAY] at/in [PLACE].

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Exploration and exploitation

Similar to the way you need both exploration and exploitation in order to foster innovation, you need both open loops and closed loops to produce great work.

  • In the exploration phase, you may wander through many creative paths. 
  • In the exploitation phase, you will choose a few select ones of these paths to execute. 

First, you create open loops to cultivate your creativity; then, you close those loops to increase your productivity.

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Time Blocking

Is a simple productivity exercise and means using your calendar to block time for your most important priorities

During that time, you only work on that one thing. This way, you don’t have to think, “What should I do next?”

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