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a blog by Chris Barrow

Why getting things done is getting in the way

On the recommendation of my coach Rachel Turner (and others) I’m currently reading “Deep Work” by Cal Newport and, even though I’m less than half way through the book, I already know that the author has me thinking deeply, questioning the way I work, opening me to change.

I’ll not attempt a synopsis of the work here – you can read that on the web – better still, read the book.

There is huge synchronicity in books that seem to appear in our lives just when we need to read them.

Whichever analogue or digital time management system we use – Franklin Covey, TMI, Filofax – Wunderlist, Things 3, Asana – there are always two main sections to the binder/application:

  1. Ideas we would like to develop

  2. Projects that may or may not be off the runway

  3. Tasks we need to complete

Here’s my challenge (is it yours?).

I seem to spend 80% of my time working on tasks that need completing (including the daily torrent of email), 15% of my time thinking about projects (not necessarily making any progress – just reminding myself of the lack of it) and 5% of my time jotting down great ideas that will never get off the ground.

Are you drowning in tasks – stuff that needs to get done – NOW – today, this week, before the month end?

On the advice of great coaches like Covey, Sullivan and Gerber, I book a day a week to work “on” my business and end up using most of that time as a catch up for the stuff that has to be done “in” my business.

Have you ever spent a day at your desk writing up treatment plans when you wanted to plan next year’s marketing?

As if to add another layer of madness – I’m then tempted to break off from the tasks to check on the likes, posts, comments and notifications that may have appeared across my social media channels.

I’m just so busy being notified and doing stuff – that I never have sufficient time to grow.

To quote Mr. Gerber – doing it, doing it, doing it.

In his book, Newport promises to share some strategies and tactics to redress the balance between idea time, project time and task time.

Frankly, I can’t wait to read the rest of it.

Just as soon as I’ve cleared my email inbox, my post tray and caught up with today’s tasks.


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