How to stop half-assing your goals (and get more efficient)

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Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.

 
The great Ron Swanson of Parks and Recreation

The great Ron Swanson of Parks and Recreation

This is still one of my favourite mantras. I’ve written about it before in the context of writing more efficiently. But it’s so versatile as a concept that I wanted to bring it up again, this time from the perspective of efficient goal-setting.

Most of us know by now that multitasking is bullshit. It’s inefficient and distracting. Most of us try to crush our impulse to multitask when we’re writing by doing Pomodoros.

Even though we know multi-tasking doesn’t work, we still try to multi-goal. For example: how many goals are you working on right now? How many projects do you have on your plate? Exactly.

It’s tempting to tackle a few goals at once, in the same way it used to be tempting to multitask: it staves off boredom and it makes you feel like you’re accomplishing a lot. But—just like multitasking—it's inefficient and distracting.

Think about how much you forget about a project every time you put it aside. Think about how much time it takes to re-immerse yourself when you return to it. Now imagine what it would be like to focus all of your energy on one thing only, until you’re ready to cross it off your list.

What if you whole-assed one project until it’s done? And then moved on to the next one? Instead of half-assing a bunch of projects at the same time?

Give it a try, and see how much more you get done.