“If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.”
An issue many freelancers have is having several tasks competing for attention. Having too many things to think about can lead to lack of focus, and with it the inability to get much done at all. We’ve all been there. Prioritising will solve this, but it’s important to know how to do this easily.
Let’s break this problem into three smaller problems:
1. We often have many tasks
2. It is difficult to know what to prioritize
3. All these tasks compete for your time
Here are three simple strategies that address these smaller problems:
1. Reduce your tasks
If you have too many tasks, the solution is to simplify your task list. Take 10 minutes to list everything you need to do. Now just pick the 3-5 most important tasks. All the small tasks will go on a “do later” list, and you’re not going to worry about them now.
A good way to deal with the smaller, routine tasks that must be done (check email, pay bills, fill out paperwork, and so on) is to schedule a block of time later in the day to deal with them, perhaps the last 30 minutes of your day. Early in the day, focus on the important tasks.
2. Choose the task that excites you
Now that you’ve simplified your task list, look at the 3-5 tasks left and pick one task. Just one.
How do you decide? Choose the task that most excites you, that feels compelling, that you’re most passionate about.
If you’re dreading the task, put it aside for now, and pick something more interesting.
If you have several tasks you’re excited about, you might also consider which task will have the biggest effect on your life. What will make the biggest impact?
3. Focus on the single task
Now that you’ve chosen one task, put the others aside for now and just focus on that one task.
Clear away all distractions, including your mobile device and the Internet. Just have the application open that you need to work on that task.
Now get to work. Throw yourself into it, and do it for at least 10 minutes. After that, you can take a break, but try to immerse yourself for at least 10 minutes. And enjoy doing it.