For a moment entertain the shoulder angel and devil in the context of time management.
The devil represents your easy hard tasks, e.g. responding to emails or slacks, joining a meeting, etc. These things are easy to do in the moment but often make things harder in the long run.
The angel represents easy hard tasks, e.g. research, putting together and practicing that presentation, following up on that deadline, ironing out the details of that process. Things that aren’t fun to do in the moment but make things easier in the long run.
Easy hard and hard easy will vary based on the person, but these are a few of the common ones you’ll likely see.
The mistake that I used to make was letting the easy hard tasks rule my schedule and continuously pushing off the hard easy. This caused anxiety when another day would go by and I realized I hand’t completed those hard easy tasks.
The solution to this bad habit?
I time block my hard easy tasks and do my easy hard tasks in the windows between those work blocks.
Practically this looks like just having an hour blocked out for a task that I set on my calendar and I only do that thing for an hour.
At the end of that hour if I don’t get as much as I would have liked to done I move that time block to another open slot later that day or in the week.
The Pomodoro technique, which is what I had tried to do before, can be good for some tasks but I’ve found this method, which aligns a little closer to deep work, to be much more effective in addressing the voices of the shoulder angel and devil.
Keep the fight for productivity, it’s a worthwhile one.