Coming Up for Air

June 6, 2021

This past week, I finished recording videos for the newest edition of my course Big-Picture Productivity. It took me about a month to record the course. Prior to that, I had already spent weeks outlining the course, but recording videos is real heavy-duty work.

In this month of recording, I’ve paused almost all my other work. I recorded a few podcast episodes and I created one or two videos for YouTube, but that’s it. That’s because I like to focus, as much as possible, on one thing at a time. In fact, creating a course from scratch requires such focus.

Now, I’m finally coming up for air.

(Later this month, I’m going on a scuba diving trip, so diving metaphors have been on my mind.)

See, I didn’t only pause many work projects to focus on getting the course out. I also postponed many other tasks: from going to the dental hygienist to getting my bike serviced to buying clothes for the summer season, which finally started last week here in Amsterdam. Having postponed many of these small maintenance tasks, my task manager is now chock full of them.

Having finished the course content, I allowed myself to start working through my backlog of smaller tasks—and it felt like a complete deluge. But you know what? That’s normal! It’s good that things are this way. I am happy that I focused on my course for a month. I have a few things to do before the course is ready to launch, but it’s mostly ready. Once it’s out, I’ll have lots of time to catch up on what we might call the miscellaneous tasks, both the personal and the business ones.

In fact, it’s incredibly frustrating not to take this approach. I couldn’t have stayed on top of all areas of my life while also engaging in a big creative project. If I had tried to do that, I would probably have created a backlog of miscellaneous tasks while not giving the course the attention it deserved. It’s a lose-lose.

Does this ring a bell? Are you trying to accomplish big projects that require focus, while simultaneously trying to stay on top of everything else?

If so, what would happen if you gave yourself permission to focus singularly on your next big project for a defined period of time—without worrying about keep up with everything else? And what if you gave yourself permission, after that, to catch up on all the small things?

You might just get your big project as well as your maintenance tasks done with more ease and less stress.

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