The last few weeks have been a bit of a struggle. Deadlines, unexpected server problems, support duty.
And that’s just been at work.
I’ve mentioned it in the past, but I have a ton going on. Family time, running this blog and freelance writing as well as running a few revenue generating side projects. As well as a full time gig as a software engineer.
Needless to say, I ran out of free time ages ago.
With that, this recent stint of having above average work commitments (both time and mental resources) should have been enough to have me putting a lot of other commitments on hold.
I even started the week with this mindset and scaled back my “to ship” list a bit. Lower your expectations and you’ll never be disappointed, right?
Wrong. This mindset is just a symptom of a problem. In my case, the problem was not having as much time as I normally would and being a bit more drained by the end of the work day before my night shift duties.
Fortunately during this time same time, I was also reading Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport.
Honestly, I felt that the book was a bit too dense with academic citations, but the meat and potatoes of the concept were dropped on me at the right time.
The tl;dr is that you need to cut distractions and focus your efforts if you ever expect to get anything meaningful accomplished.
Like most non-fiction / self-helpy type books, the content fell very much into the “yeah, no shit” category. Easier said than done though.
Admittedly, I am starting to think that I have a bit too much going on, but until I commit to cutting things out, the only thing I can really do is to continue to put in the work.
Given the limited amount of time I’ve recently had, the only way I can put in the work is to do so in an extremely focused manner.
For me that means shutting my office door, closing Slack, cuing up one of my “focus” albums (right now really into Time Will Die & Love Will Bury It by Rolo Tomassi) and the getting shit done.
Then usually I’ll end up wandering a bit, putting up resistance to getting the work done. Not this week though. With my time and resources already stretched terribly thin, and my own innate fear that not being productive just leads to being less and less productive, I fought the resistance.
While not one of my favorite weeks on record, being self aware enough to fight against the time wasters, I was actually able to get as much, if not more done than I normally would.
By focusing and working deeply I was able to find and recoup the time that I thought I had lost due to unforeseen circumstances.
Now I can’t wait to see how much more time I’m going to find in the coming weeks as I attempt to make focused work more of a habit in my life.