How Doing One Thing Per Day Increased My Productivity

Ignacio Zambello
May 17, 2019 · 4 min read
Image by Estée Janssens, from Unsplash.

There was a time in which I just wanted to do a lot of things on the same day. I would get up early, read the news and go to my job or to classes. Then I would come back, take a nap, then going for a football or tennis game, read a book, cook and write. After that I would watch a movie or some TV Show. I would also make some time for talking to friends, watch some YouTube videos, make some research on the Internet, etc. During weekends, a night out would be also part of the plan. Yes, all that in just one day.

It’s not impossible at all. In that period of my life I used to by very strict with times. I would set 30 minutes to read, 1 hour to play football, 20 minutes for a nap, 20 minutes to commute, and so on. How maniac was I? If I started something at, let’s say, 13:03, and I considered that 20 minutes were enough for that, I would become kind of desperate if I didn’t finish by 13:23. If I were to go the cinema, to the theatre or for a drink with some friends, I would do as much as possible to also set some time aside during that day to do other things, such as reading, writing, exercise, etc. If I didn’t do that, I would feel useless.

I reached a point in which I realised that, even though I was doing a lot of different things, I was actually doing nothing at all. I was thinking about cooking while I was reading, I was trying to finish thinks quicker because then I had to do something else and I would finish everyday without really knowing what I’ve achieved in the last 24 hours. And I seriously needed to change that.

First and only step: doing less

All the things that were in my everyday agenda needed to stay, but in a less urgent category. A week, for example. I took 7 days instead of just one to do all the things I wanted to do. During the whole week, I decided to give each day a particular goal. It doesn’t mean that every Tuesday I had to write, or that every Friday I had to go jogging nor that those days were totally inflexible. It was just a way to convince myself that when I was committed to one single thing, I would have to set my priorities into that particular goal.

Believe me: it totally worked. I can’t describe that amazing feeling when I knew I was hanging out with some friends and that all my attention during that day would only be put into that. Or when I just chose a book and spent hours and hours reading it, knowing that during those 24 hours I only belonged to it. What about sports? They are an important part of my life, and giving them the priority they deserved made me enjoy them even more than I did.

Image by STIL, from Unsplash.

What about “actual” priorities?

Most of us have to work everyday, that’s true. Most of us like to read a book or do some sport more than once a day. Here’s the truth: I must admit it’s impossible to do just ONE thing a day. I don’t do that. The examples in the paragraphs above were just an exaggeration for you to understand what I was trying to say.

I would also recommend to do more than one thing a day, but not that much. Try not to read a book, watch a movie, go out, work, play football and write on the same day. You may be able to actually do everything, but you won’t make things right and you won’t completely enjoy them. If you must go to work, go. If today’s the only day you can see your friend, go. You can read tomorrow, can’t you? The movie you want to watch will be on Netflix for months, it can wait. Do things that are unpostponable. And when you have some free time, do those things you wanted to do before.

There are days in which everything’s a chaos and you have to juggle with this and that, and that’ ok, there’s not such thing as perfection. But try to give yourself time not only to do the things but to to them properly, to enjoy them, to be able to discuss them, to process them, to feel it and to give it the time it deserves. Watching a movie with a friend is the plan for tonight? Ok, read about it before watching it, then go and discuss with your friend about it, then watch it and then take all the time you need to discuss about it again, read some reviews or even to write yours. That is how you make a day out of a single activity. You’ll see what a nice feeling it is when you go to bed and instead of saying “today I did a little bit of this and a little bit of that” you actually say “Today I did THIS”.

Originally published at http://nachozblogcom.wordpress.com on May 17, 2019.

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Ignacio Zambello

Written by

Call me Nacho. Argentinian in London. I love sports, lifestyle, music, writing. I try to mix them all in texts. English and Spanish. Visit me www.nachozblog.com

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +793K followers.

Ignacio Zambello

Written by

Call me Nacho. Argentinian in London. I love sports, lifestyle, music, writing. I try to mix them all in texts. English and Spanish. Visit me www.nachozblog.com

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +793K followers.

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