Let us imagine I’m making a PowerPoint presentation for my boss. I have been sitting on it for a while and have to get moving!
So, I begin – work a bit on the 1st slide. Then, spell check alerts me that there is a typo and I start fixing the typo. Then, I realize that I don’t quite like the slide layout. And before I know it, I’ve spent 1 hour trying to beautify 1 slide.
Stever Robbins suggests breaking down every task into the various types of focus. For example, a better way to have done this task would have been to focus on –
a) Ideas: Here I should have put in all my thoughts on the presentation into a few slides – never mind the look or the formatting. In fact, I should even turn spell check off as the goal is to generate ideas.
b) Editing: This phase would have been checking the various sentences grammatically, improving the English and the flow.
c) Formatting: This would have had to do with the design of the slide.
The reason for this split is that our brain is best at work when focusing on ONE task and one task alone. Despite the ‘Make a PowerPoint presentation’ being just 1 task in our heads, it actually involves 3 kinds of focus!
For this week, let’s remember to ask ourselves if we are breaking tasks down to kinds of focus and watch our productivity zoom. :)
Source: 9 steps to work less and do more by Stever Robbins