I can do anything well for a short period of time.
When I run as fast as I can, I can only do so for a short period of time. In that burst I am crazy fast.
If I give something or someone my undivided attention, I can only give it for a short time before my focus is broken, even if I don’t want it to be. It takes all my mental energy to focus completely and absolutely on just one thing. In that moment I am like a laser beam.
This principle intrigues me. If I can do things well for short periods of time, why not approach important tasks in this fashion? Don’t spend an hour obsessing over the details of an important email, spend 15 minutes focused with maximum mental energy, then walk away, regather, and hit it again.
Approach a task with just that task in mind, do not stray to the right or the left, do not click to that photo slide show article about “Crazy apartments you won’t believe people live in!” Stay on target (yes, I recognize the irony of placing that link there). Accomplish the task and then stop. Step away for a few minutes, refocus, and attack again.
Every morning write down a short list of things that must get done for the day. No more than 3-4. The list is intentionally short. Every day should be a new list, do not copy the items that didn’t get accomplished from the previous day, instead, write them down again as if brand new.
Tackle the items one by one in short bursts until they are complete.
They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I’ve never actually found that particular saying very encouraging. I know it is usually used to impart the wisdom that it takes time to build great things. But Rome wasn’t built in one lifetime, and one lifetime is all I have. Am I really supposed to be encouraged that great things take time, and if I’m working on something (even if it isn’t great) it might take really really really long, so long I might not even see the fruition of my work? Why not say something like “the Hoover dam wasn’t built in a day”. It actually took 5 years to build the Hoover dam, and 5 years is long, but not lifetime long. Just some thoughts.