My best work is always early morning or (occasionally) late at night.
Knowing this, I try to schedule all my deep work time for the mornings. I also minimize distractions during this time as well. No phone, email, or internet. Just me and a singular problem I’m working on that needs deep thought.
I also do my best work when I can work in one domain for a large chunk of the day, preferably the entire day, with no distractions.
One day on The Eureka Room, one day on the calendars, etc. There’s lots of evidence to show that multi-tasking (switching back and forth between tasks frequently) doesn’t work. Just because you are busy and things are happening quickly doesn’t mean you are being productive. Even if it feels like it.
I understand that often circumstances require us to multi-task, though.
But one thing I try to avoid at all costs is multi-projecting.
I refer to this as “switching universes” or “multiversing”. It’s when you switch from one domain to entirely different domain.
If multitasking is switching from doing sales calls for Big Weekend to doing some strategic planning for Big Weekend, then multiversing is doing sales calls for Big Weekend and then doing strategic planning for the Eureka Room.
I find multiversing way more costly than multitasking. Why?
I have to switch out the entire mission, which is the basis on which I make many decisions. I have to switch out all the people and processes and tools and vendors and customers. Everything.
I have to move from one spot on a company’s timeline to an entirely different spot on another company’s timeline. Established company? Maybe be more conservative and risk-averse. New company? Experiment! Take risks! More than a mental state change, it requires a different set of emotional tools and guidelines.
I do my best to silo universes into separate days. If I can’t do that, then perhaps splitting them between morning and afternoon or day and evening, making sure to have some sort of rest or mental palate cleanser in-between.