Focus, Or Else

19 Dec 2012

The more I venture into the whole "flying solo" mode, the more I realise the importance of being laser-focused on the stuff that really matters and ditching the stuff that doesn't. Oh, and discerning the latter from the former.

There's just too much going on around us - RSS, email subscriptions, Hacker News, Twitter, Facebook, Coursera, hanging out with friends - all of that is a great fun to do. Some of that creates an illusion of progress - like knocking the items off your reading list or writing short tl;dr type of summaries in Evernote. But very few of those things actually take you towards your goals.

So I decided to drop a couple of online courses - namely Design: Creation of Artefacts in the Society and Think Again: How to Reason and Argue. They both were great, but taking just too much time.

I am trying to limit my social media intake - and RescueTime has been unbelievably helpful in this. Have a look at the charts below:

Productivity graph when I just started time tracking:

And the last week:

On some good days I even manage to get out 8 hours of productive work.

Another cool tool that I've found for organising chunks of work is PivotalTracker - a full-on Agile tracking system. I don't think I use it properly, and although I try to stick to the whole "1 week long iteration" thing, I'm surely missing out on something. Yet it's been great for diving the work into manageable items and allocating those items to various buckets (they call it "Epics" in Agile world, I think). Also, both the Velocity and Burn-down charts are just crazy:

Yet there's just too much stuff to do. Sometimes I wish I could clone myself, provided there's a neural sync facility available, so we can merge and share all of the experience and knowledge acquired by all copies. That would be a really cool thing to have.