A while back I switch the way I approach to getting things done to follow something similar to the Lisperati article which is one of the more sensible ways of getting things done. By sensible I felt it tackled the art of keep things balanced.
My only reservation was having 4 tasks on the go at any one time but I decided to follow it. I really liked the idea attempting to pick one non project task per day.
I am going to assume you have scanned over the linked post, the rest of this post may not be coherent if you haven’t.
The 4-20hr projects turned into things like blog posts. My output increased somewhat. The other three projects focused on attempt to clear my book and article lists. I realised the pile has gotten too big so my only hope if to start tackling that mountain.
How I failed at this system
It is me not the system that’s at fault! First up is time. I think this system is designed to run you life, rather than run you hobby projects. So if you are an independent creator or running a small indie business then the process is great.
If you loose 8-9 hrs a day doing the day job then splitting you time between 4 hobby projects results in slow progress. There just is not enough time in the evening.
The past month or two I have been focused on learning and honestly the process didn’t fit with me for those tasks. I was thinking mmm I will only read On Lisp for an hour tonight then flip to something else. I suspect I would have been better over allowing myself the whole evening on the learning task. But then the hours get all wonky.
Full on 100% learning is quite different to learning on the job as the 100% part means you have to focus and there is no grind. I can listen to twitch streams while I am working on a project, but learning is usually done in silence or perhaps a bit of music. At least for me. Some days my heart was not into learning Lisp and would have been better spent on something else, except the hour counter was saying learn lisp.
The article says it is for being productive on projects and while that usually involves learning I don’t think it was designed for the intense style of learning I was attempting.
So how am I going to fix this?
The time constraint can only be solved by reducing the number of project on the go at any one time. I have traditionally gone with three projects but I think I need to experiment so for the duration of October I am going to try just two projects on the go at any one time.
One project is going to be a learning project (book work etc) while the other one will be a productive one, where there will be something to show at the end. This allows for my brain just not being in the mood to absorb information.
I was also failing at do a no project related task each day. I was managing one every few days. This is really good and I recommend it to every one who finds themselves putting things off. There is a removal of cognitive load that is just nice. So I plan to keep this going.
Blog posts will be done outside of project time. These things are often thrown together on my laptop while relaxing to a bit of YouTube or waiting for something to cook.
On the balancing side of things, I plan to allow a 10 hr difference on time spent on projects. This will allow me to pick a learning project when my brain is into it but has a brake if I start to obsess about on project. As I finished a project I will reset the counter for both projects.
That’s the plan. I really like the productivity scheme that Lisperati talks about but the constraints I am currently facing just gel with it. If a few small things we different in my life then I suspect it would be working very well. As reality stands I need to make alterations.
By the end of October I should be able to have an idea if this is working out for me.