A weekly review of things that came through my inbox that I found interesting and want to remember.
This week was a mix of a couple of intense days and a couple of less intense days where I was able to slow down and deal with the backlog of things I had neglected during the intense period. I even got to inbox zero at work, which was a nice feeling to go into the weekend with.
There wasn’t a lot that came through my inbox this week that really jumped out at me as something I wanted to remember and/or put into practice. The first thing I noticed was from James Clear, who wrote about the myth of multitasking in his weekly email.
I’m familiar with this concept so the article was more of a refresher than anything new. James observes that while we are capable of doing two things at the same time, such as watching TV while we’re cooking dinner or sending an email while we’re talking on the phone, it’s impossible to concentrate on two tasks at once. So what our brains do when we think we’re multitasking is actually switching very quickly back and forth between the two tasks. This uses a huge amount of energy and wastes a lot of time because of the time it takes to get back onto the previous task when you switch. And it results in lower performance.
To overcome trying to do many things at once and to enable him to focus on what’s important, James says he identifies his “anchor task” every day. This is the one priority that he has to get done that day. He says that, while he has other things he has to do during the day, the anchor task is the priority, and he plans everything else around doing that one thing.
What I like about this model is that James has a weekly schedule of these anchor tasks, which give his week some structure and allows him to know exactly what he needs to focus on that day. So, for example, on Monday he has to write an article and on Friday he has to do his weekly review. This is something I’m going to try out and see if it works for me.
The second article I found interesting this week comes from Asian Efficiency, which is about checking in on how you’re going with the goals you set for yourself at the start of the year. If, indeed, you actually did that.
The article suggests if you look at how you’re tracking half-way through the year you can adjust your goals accordingly so that they remain achievable for the rest of the year. The example they give is if your goal was to do 50 book reviews and you realise you’ve only done 15 by six months, the mid-year review would be an opportunity to either adjust the goal or to amend the number of reviews you do each week to help you achieve the original goal.
The article suggests some things to look at, which include:
- changing a goal, for example, because your circumstances have changed
- removing goals you no longer want to pursue or that aren’t as important to you anymore
- looking at where you’re at with the goals you set and what else you’ll need to do to get there.
It also touches briefly on the idea of setting more frequent goals, rather than 12-month goals. For example, rather than 50 book reviews in the year you could set a quarterly goal of 12 book reviews. By setting shorter-term goals, the article says you need to make more frequent check-ins. So you’re less likely to become overwhelmed by the length of time needed to achieve the goal.
I guess most, if not all, of my goals for this year are in my 19 for 2019 list, though I didn’t write the list with “setting goals” as an objective. Some of them aren’t so much goals as nagging tasks I keep putting off. Looking over the list there’s only two that I would consider to be “goals” that I haven’t made a lot of progress on and that I want to tick off by the end of the year. And I still have six months of the year left to do them so at this stage I’m not too worried. Ask me how I feel about them again in November!