Focussed before unfocussed work


I have noticed a pattern of action that I have been taking when I have a full free day work which has been effective.

I will decide the one biggest/most important/challenging task that I need to accomplish at that moment in time. I will often set a target that will be difficult, but not impossible, to achieve within a day. I will not devote time to thinking about tasks 2, 3, 4 through to 50 that I should also achieve that weekend.

My entire day will then be guided towards achieving that top aim. The difficulty of the task forces me to focus and work intensely in order to achieve it. While my mind is in a higher state of focus, the other less important and administrative tasks will keep hopping into my mind. I will have a sheet of paper by me that I will note this activities down on before returning back to the one big task at hand. This in itself is beneficial, as the focussed state helps me to recall a wide array of to-dos and often think of other good things that I should do.

At the end of the day, I will have either completed the task or will feel cognitively drained to point that I can no longer work on it. It is at this point that I start to ‘wind down’. During this ‘wind down’ period, I will work through many of the smaller tasks that I noted during the day that do not require much mental exertion.

As a result, the day can feel extremely productive and satisfying; not only did I achieve an important, challenging task which progresses me towards my goals, I also passively recalled, and then completed, many small yet important administrative tasks that, if left for another day, could eat into valuable time.

Also published on Medium.