If you’re like me, the first thing you do when going online is to load all your favorite websites, checking for any updates or changes. I call this the Internet Morning Routine (IMR). A nice dinner with Sasha over made it clear why it can hinder productivity.
I’ve configured my browser to load my email and blogs with one click. I begin every morning by spending an hour at most dealing with unanswered emails and comments. Getting those relatively minor items out of the way sounds like a good idea, right?
Then I recognized why IMR can be unproductive. By the time you’re done, your head is full of thoughts, since you’ve dealt with so many things. Instead of starting with a fresh mind, emptied by last night’s sleep, the little gray cells are packed with ideas. And this may make concentrating on the first task you have scheduled after the IMR a little hard, especially for a poor multi–tasker like me.
Of course, I’m not saying the only time to check your websites should be at the end of the day. That’s an easy way to build–up your backlog and stay out of the loop. My point is, before anything else, try to get at least one task done, then take a break to check things out. In short, it’s better to hit the ground running, rather than begin the day mired in minor details.
The Jack of All Trades – and Master of None.
I discovered the hard way why you should focus your efforts and not spread yourself, even if you know how to do a lot of things.
Now I’m not saying I can do anything, but thanks to my course in college, I learned how to use programs like Photoshop, Flash, and Maya. After graduation I also rediscovered my passion for writing. So initially I was involved in writing, graphic design, and computer modeling.
Then, about two months later, I realized maintaining such a diverse skill set was limiting my improvement. We all know that practice makes perfect, and by doing three different things, I simply wasn’t giving the time nor focus each skill needed to grow. To use an example, 12 hours devoted to one proficiency becomes 4 hours for three. The job still gets done, but the lack of general focus hampers the learning process.
So as a freelancer, I decided to stop making computer models. It wasn’t a hard choice. Creating 3D representations of complex objects can be time-consuming, and I honestly found it frustrating, spending the whole day just to see if my idea would work. And even though I spent four years learning it, I was actually least passionate about computer animation.
Remaining a writer and graphic designer came naturally. These two skills are actually complementary. I’m sometimes asked to write the copy for advertisements, aside from designing them. And since I write daily for three blogs, I’m sure that my writing “muscle” gets exercised. Even if I still have to divide my time between two skills, I’m in a situation where both of them enjoy the time and focus vital for improvement.