How do you ‘finish’ focus time?

I’ve talked a bunch about focus time and that you need it. That you need to block out a few hours, I like three, and focus on the task at hand. But some of you have had questions.

Here’s one from Lucas:

Quick question about your focused time. Writing a book isn’t so different than design or development projects: these are long projects that need to be broken down into small chunks.

So my question is: do you have set goals for that block or do you just sit and work until the block is over?

In other words, do you start that morning with the idea that by 9am you will have chapter 2 complete (or “I have to get 2000 words done”), or are you just happy making whatever progress you can during the block as long as it’s moving forward.

Writing a book isn’t much different at all. I wrote this morning and I’m just waiting for some stuff to FTP and I’ll be coding. I certainly do both activities still.

For writing, I’m far enough ahead that I can usually just focus on getting my 1500 words a day done and I’m fine. Usually I far surpass that (2600 written this morning and 4700 total with outline for a new book).

There are some days where I end up needing to Finish X, and then I just wipe the slate of almost everything else and focus on finishing X until it’s done.

A while ago when I was doing some work for Asian Efficiency, I wiped my days clean for 3 days and only did the writing and videos that I needed to do. My fear was that client’s would notice, but not one person said a single thing about it in any fashion. They were all still happy with their level of service and I got to finish out a project with three days of focus.

I guess my answer is “it depends” but 90% of the time it’s forward progress I worry about instead of an arbitrary item resolved.

Especially with code, if you hit a bug and it takes 2 hours to figure out, it just takes two hours. I’d finish the bug even if it extended my focus time and if I have time, get to other things like email.

Have an awesome day!

Curtis

Photo by: isherwoodchris 

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