Why the 20 Minute Rule and Ignoring Yourself Increase Productivity
Thinking a lot about the apparent contradiction in the following: Is the best way of being truly mindful, creative and in the ‘here and now’ to be continually running a slot management and priority review system?
I know I’ve read about it many times in David Allen’s (see links in right bar) work, but it’s been difficult to make stick previously. Something’s definitely shifting. Again, I think it’s a left brain/ right brain thing. Let me explain.
My left brain, in Taylor’s words ‘chatters’. It’s continually raising into my awareness my commitments, to do list, undone business etc. It’s function as an awareness system has shortcomings. Dragging my focus onto those things that my other-than-conscious cannot currently sort on it’s own doesn’t help if I can’t consciously act now to sort those commitments or issues. They end up bouncing round my head and weighing heavy on my chest (at low moments)
So what to do? Accept that mindfulness and the ‘here and now moments’ are paid for by lots of little actions. These actions are normally dismissed: ‘I’ve only got 20 minutes, I’ll start thinking about that big project that’s been on my task list for weeks in that big slot I’ve got tomorrow afternoon’
Wrong. Why? Because 1. You’re already thinking about it. Have been since you committed to do the task and put it on a list. You can’t stop (consciously or otherwise) until you’ve started the momentum towards a goal you’re crystal clear about. 2. Why not do 20 minutes now? Pen to paper and start to list everything you can think of that you’ll have to do to achieve your goal. End the slot with a time commitment to just another 20 minutes tomorrow. (in that big slot tomorrow afternoon that will probably suck in loads of distractions, so you’ll only have another 20 minutes anyway)
Repeat the above every day for a week and you’ll have given the project that’s been hanging in your thoughts and on your chest 100 minutes intense focus. Set a deadline and you’ll be near completing it.
Do the above across all the things in your task list. It may cause a balloon of work (and make it seem you have even less time in the here and now) – but it’s a hump you’ll overcome to achieve efficiency.
If you notice, it’s virtually accidental. An afterthought to use a 20 minute slot rather than re-reading the emails that have been squatting in your inbox (which you never get round to because you’d never get anything done in 20 minutes, would you…….)
The point of the above in relation to a contradiction between a system and creativity?
We’re using our logical left brain to accept the shortcomings of it’s chatter, to then accept a system that it doesn’t believe in, to facilitate something at the polar opposite end of logical and analytical.