There is the thing about time efficiency. Even if I’m not full-time efficient, some of my hours in the day are efficient, and I can build and grow, even if slowly. It is a sign of professionalism that I can focus on a specific time hours at a time.
Then, there is the saturation of time, and here is where critical mass comes into play. The truly successful people (who technologically impact the world) are pretty effective in their use of time… and it’s not just the per-hour effectiveness, it’s the ability to hold these concepts in memory and in focus for a long time (days, months, years), and furthermore hold in focus non-trivial combinations of these things. Not just do one thing well, but integrate the work of others, and build a system which by definition is a varied mix of things (otherwise, it’s called a component, not a system).
There are some successes that are only achievable with a critical mass of focus. The truly successful people pack so much impact in their time (be it 8 hours a day or more), that they physically cause success to happen. And to do that, what makes it possible I think is a certain “continuous integration” of a person. Optimize the time at work, off work, optimize the little 20-minute pieces of time in between tasks, pack the tasks, and so forth, and eliminate inefficiencies everywhere. There is no distinction between on- and off-work time, everything is treated as on-work time. And the success of the company depends on how much punch the team (the team leaders and team individuals) back into the time, into each hour of operation of the company. That is my current view on personal efficiency at work.
– * – * – * –
Unfortunately here I cannot so much focus. I sleep in late (wake up at 10am), have to do a lot of walking to find food and places to study, have to constantly fight with sub-optimal weather, sun flare, and the rain. Further, I have to move every 2 weeks, unless I actually find an apartment. And there is drinking! In Silicon Valley I don’t drink on weekdays and that works out well. Here, I drink lightly, but it still costs me time and efficiency.
Further, my focus is divided into two equal parts: language immersion and engineering. And the engineering part is in English. When I do engineering, it moves me further from language immersion, and vise versa. So there is a certain conflict if my focus right now. It almost makes sense to do one thing for several days (study spanish for three days, without technology), and then switch to technology and not study spanish for a few days, thus avoiding context switching.
Of course, there is also the question of daily exhaustion limit. If I do programming for 6 hours, I’m done with programming, but the day may or may not be done. In that situation, it makes sense to switch to another context, say Spanish language, for 2-3 more hours. That may actually more effective than doing the same task for several days in the row.
There is also the obvious issue of a daily routine. It’s goot to perform some tasks daily, even if the results are not so great. If the same tasks are performed daily, day in day out, you will become good at them, *and* keep the ability to focus on all of them each day. So in my local example, my daily task variety is as follows:
- 30 minutes of conversational spanish
- some time studying vocabulary
- some time studying the grammar book
- some engineering
- some content-creation, writing or photos or editing
- daily cleaning: clean ears, teeth, keep everything clean.