How I Focus On Single Task And Why It’s Important To Improve Productivity

As you may know, it’s obviously important to focus on single task at a time if you try the GTD way. But it’s not easy to implement the concept in our real life. We now have too many projects, tasks, things need to consider. How can we handle it?

Why it’s better to focus on single task

Human brain is not like a multi tasking processor. We spend costs <energy> to switch our attentions. Once we loose our concentration from a current task, we need to use more energy to get back your concentration. We can work without extra stress if we can forget about extra things for a while and can focus on a current task. We can be more productive, and creative.

Single pocket strategy and my choice

The most important thing is here. Get our tasks done. Imagine if you write down your tasks on a piece of paper and then accidentally throw it away, how you can do the tasks? Same thing is happening in digital tools. If you don’t decide where to put a new task which came up your mind, it’s difficult to do the task because even if you put the task in somewhere, the next thing you need to do it to remember where the task is. It doens’t make sense. All tasks should be at single place all the time.

Some people send tasks to their own inbox as emails. I like it but what’s going to be happen if they don’t check the inbox or get too many emails. Maybe most of people never forget to check their inbox these days and some people organize their inbox with filters to help to find tasks inside the inbox. It’s ok if the strategy work. But for me, it’s not easy to focus on single task when I open my inbox. There’re tons of important emails and they always remind me important things which I can’t do right now. So I prefer a separated place to organize my tasks.

To decide the place to put all tasks, I have some required features.

  • On cloud
  • Mac/iPhone/iPad support
  • Simple to use
  • Less noise
  • Stable

There’re several tools around us but I choose Workflowy since they launched.

What is Workflowy?

Worfkflowy is a web application which let us to create a list. It’s a quite simple app. What we can do with the app is to create/edit/move/complete list items. And we can expand/collapse and nest list items to hide another items. My favorite part is UI to focus on nested items. Watch the video below to see how it works.

How I use Workflowy

I’m using it on my Mac/iPhone/iPad as a web app. And on my Mac, I made a Fluid instance for Workflowy to run it as a separated app. And configured the app to make a floating app which mean the app is always on top of my screen.

And I add a task as a nested item. My first task of the day is at the bottom like this:

Then I can see the next task liek this:

And if I complete the task, the next task will appear.

My ‘simple’ rules

To keep my brain clear, I have simple rules.

  1. Make a tasklist of the day on Workflowy
  2. Follow the list and complete it

And to keep my rules, I do one thing everyday.

  • Just open my Mac

That’s it. Workflowy is automatically launched as a fluid instance when I boot my Mac. This workflow is intimately connected with my daily life and difficult to forget or ignore.

My concentration is weak. I need this kind of medicine.

Author: Hiro SHINOHARA

Founder of an angel backed web technology startup in Osaka Japan. More about me here.

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