Focus on Deep Work
UPDATE: I’ve moved over to a new blog, you can find me at https://bytesroute.com/
Multitasking is not what our brain is optimized for. You might feel productive when jumping all day between tasks or answering all the questions you get from your colleagues, but you are NOT. Sitting down at the end of the day/week and analyzing what you actually accomplished will allow you to realize that, and hopefully will motivate you towards a more focused work plan.
Every team member in a startup/small company should have a focus. There are too many things that need to be done perfectly (that is, if you want to succeed) that you simply cannot be satisfied with just normal results, you must aim and achieve at the next level.
This is not easy, it requires you eliminate or ignore any other issues that might seem important but are not, so you can put in as many resources as possible in the tasks that will bring you the highest ROI, your product being the first, but your colleagues should also focus on support services, marketing and even hiring (if you’re in a phase when you need to grow the team).
All of that can’t be done by a single person, no matter how much of a “god” is he as a leader. He does not have the time or energy to invest as much as he would want, that is why:
focus and deep work is what every one in the company should practice
How to Focus?
The basics: close all distractions, like chat, email, and any other software that might interrupt you. I use the multiple (virtual) desktops support from Windows to create dedicate screens with only the applications I need to complete a certain task.
Focusing takes time, on average 10–15 minutes until the person is really 100% focused on the work it is doing. Think about this the next time you interrupt a colleague: How much time are you really charging him for an answer that might not be urgent?
So, you’ll need at least 1–2 hours of deep work to get something valuable out of your time. Make this time periods known to your colleagues, so they don’t interrupt you, or if you have the opportunity, completely disconnect from them (in a separate office, ….) so they can’t interrupt you, even if they wanted.
If you are in a small company and need to handle multiple tasks, like writing code, answering support tickets and also helping on QA, split all these in very well defined time chunks or even days. For example: answer support emails only 1 hour in the morning and after lunch, continue with writing code for until lunch, then after the second round of support tickets you can continue all day with QA tasks.
This way, if at the end of the day you still have energy and time, you can take care of other minor tasks that you ignored while focusing on: support, development and QA. (ONE AT A TIME)
P.S. I’m just starting on this personal blog, follow me if you liked what you read, I’ll be back :)