It has now been a month and a half since I resigned from my job. Last Friday, I stopped to think, what I have accomplished with all this time? I can sum it up in just a two words: “not much.” This may surprise some of my regular readers who have realized that I’m not nearly as Lazy as my nickname might make you believe.
I was on my honeymoon for two weeks, despite that I should still have something really significant to show for it. You know, perhaps an outline of a novel… a big stack of papers… a little story… a compelling protagonist… an obstacle for him to overcome… nice little narrative… some friends become enemies, some enemies become friends… main character is richer from the experience… something like that. (Bonus points if you that reference.) I’ve gotten so little done that I’ve joking said to friends and my wife, “You’d be surprised how much work not having a job is.” Behind every joke there’s a bit of truth. It’s amazing where the day goes.
I’ve found a solution to my problem. Remarkably it’s an extremely easy solution. Despite my love for all technical gadgets, the solution was a simple kitchen timer. I set it for 20 minutes and focus on doing whatever task is at hand. Often that is a computer task such as writing, reading blogs, or programming. When that 20 minutes is up, I stop, reset the timer for 10-20 minutes and do some housework or a separate task. On Friday, my housework tasks consisted of washing the kitchen floor, doing the dishes, cleaning the counter tops, folding laundry, and vacuuming (though I cheated and let Roomba do this while I washed the kitchen floor).
This method prevents me from context switching before I finish what I had set out to do. Before I implemented this plan, I’d try to multi-task everything. I would fold a few items of laundry, stop to check e-mail, stop to check if there is any Patriots news, stop to read a couple articles in my feed reader, and then go back to folding a little laundry.
If you don’t have a kitchen timer handy, download InstantBoss for Windows. It can help you in exactly the same way.