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February 8th, 2020
The speed of progress while working on a project is surprisingly and perhaps even depressingly variable. Hours can dawdle by with a mere pittance of work done, but see the clock, realize there’s only twenty minutes left and suddenly things get kicked into a gear nearing warp speed.
The day or two before a vacation are always incredibly productive compared to any old normal Thursday or Friday on the calendar.
There seems to be a sort of pressure that we can apply to our ability to get work done. As time falls away and looming obligations suddenly stand poised to topple upon our present moment, we hustle. But when time is but a rolling grassland of open opportunity, we dilly dally.
Walking away from a particularly hectic and productive bout of work, it’s frustrating to wonder why that kind of productivity can’t always be called up.
Perhaps it can? But how?
How do we build some sort of time pressure for our work? We try to covet those large swathes of time in order to really go deep on the project, but it backfires as we relax in stead of settling in.
Is it possible to chunk that large swath of time in order to apply pressure in small sprints? Like pumping a super soaker, creating a pressure to move forward?
It certainly is.
When Tinkered Thinking started there was a twenty minute allowance of time for each episode. This was simply to ensure that something would get on the page, but more than that it also ensured that something somewhat cohesive was left on the page when finished.
Repeating a timer of 20 or 30 minutes can be surprisingly effective. The alarm goes off and we realize we’ve gone down a rabbit hole with little promise of accomplishing anything. Instead of spending an hour or two down such a path, the alarm jolts us from the reverie of exploration. We can pivot far more easily and charge the pressure again, and with a different target, fire.
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