The 1 major project heuristic

I spent most weekends in the 2010s attempting to do too much thanks to a propensity to say yes to too many projects. The result was disappointment on many a weekend as I got far less done than I wanted. My weekend to do lists were far too ambitious.

Occasionally, it meant a lot of pressure on the work week too as I tried to squeeze out time in the evening/early morning.

It wasn’t fun or helpful and this stopped working after we had our second kid (it was on life support after our first).

To counter this, I adopted a simple heuristic in the past couple of years – I only work on 1 major project at any given moment outside work.

There’s no fixed “type” of project. It could be a project related to home, family, side projects, or something else altogether. Some projects take a lot of time over multiple weekends and multiple months before I move on. Some are much shorter.

Either way, the rule has helped inspired a lot of clarity in my decision making. It has helped me go into weekends with clear expectations of what I can get done. And, most importantly, it has made it easy to say no or not now to everything except the project of the moment.

Simple heuristics go a long way in helping simplify our decisions and our lives.