Finding focus in the small things

I’ve recently been struggling with how to accomplish the things I want. Professionally and personally it seemed like my backlogs were growing and growing. Not the least of those was blogging here. Strangely, it took adding something new and huge to get me out of that trench I was digging.

We’ve recently purchased a new condo. It needs some work, and we are trying to get that done quickly so that we can move in. In the first weekend we had 3 carpet estimates, a painter, a contractor, and about a dozen boxes to get through.

While this was physically draining, I also managed to find 90 minutes to put together a detailed workflow and requirement doc for a project which was in sore need of attention.

Part of that is probably the timeframe. I was reading a blog entry from HBR recently where the author talked about a study which found that brilliant violinists who practiced for no more than 90 minutes at a time were much more skilled than their peers who practiced for hours on end.

I think it might have more to do with the satisfaction of having completed plenty before I even started. I wasn’t worried about all those little things I needed to do, instead i just focused on the problem at hand.

I think I will rearrange my to do lists, with my small achievable tasks up front, and then windows for bigger tasks with less defined endings. It seems to be working so far.  And chunking those 6 hour+ tasks into 90 minute sessions does seem to make it easier to get started…

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