How To Be More Productive By Doing Less
I’m going to show you how to be more productive by doing less coming up. What’s going on guys my name is Tim Ruswick and today we’re going to talk about productivity. And I talked about this a few times on the channel and I think it’s a really awesome subject because who doesn’t like to get more shit done right. But for me personally like there’s been a lot of ways that I’ve improved productivity.
And one of them that has really impacted my life in a lot of positive ways was a concept of being more productive by doing less. And at first that seems like it’s counterintuitive. At first it seems like how can you get more done by doing less. And I think it comes down to the key principle of understanding that in modern culture multitasking doesn’t work.
And it’s not even just what I mean by modern culture I mean in modern day society we have this trend especially in American culture where the person that can do two or three things at a time is more effective those are the people that we want we want the multitaskers we want the people that can can think and run at the same time and do all this other stuff and talk on the phone and write papers and do all that. But here’s the thing your brain can only really process one thing at a time effectively.
And programmers know this right. Like any programmer that’s sitting on the computer trying to focus on programming it’s really hard to focus on anything else. And if someone interrupts you or you zone out or something like that you don’t get anything done and you have to spend not only the time it takes when you’re distracted when you get a tweet or you get a Facebook message or something. But there’s also the time that it takes to get back to the task at hand.
And so first you have to adopt that the real understanding and the belief that multitasking doesn’t work. You can only keep one thing in your brain focused at one time. Now can people talk on the phone and drive at the same time sure can they do it safely no it’s been proven. The more mental focus the phone call takes the less effective the driving is. This works on so many different levels but specifically with game development.
I’ve seen a massive boost in my own productivity by deciding to do less. And what I mean by that is I schedule specific times specific tasks. I like to do a lot of my creative work in the morning sometimes I will will the morning for me sometimes this afternoon depending on how late I I stay up. But right after I wake up in that first two three hours is a perfect little time zone for me because I feel fresh I feel creative and the day hasn’t wait on me the emails and all the stuff that I got to do I got to get back to I still have that sense of creativity in my brain. I think creative work is best done in the morning.
So for me I would pick a specific time of the day earlier than chunk and I say hey I’m going to work on just creating images for my game or little sprites or I’m just going to work on the material section well I’m just going to work on the characters I’m going to try to get a little chunk done a really creative work sometimes like it’s writing sometimes it’s it’s doing whatever. But I like to do that stuff in the morning. So I think scheduling a specific time for a specific task is really effective. And the way to be more productive is to limit all of your distractions. Like and we probably heard all this a thousand times right like silence your phone get one of these browser plugins that blocks you from internet access or notifications or whatever.
And then work on your specific task. And schedule yourself for like an hour or two hours. I find that for me personally like that hours of uninterrupted time where I sprint to get a job done I think is really effective for me. Two hours a little long for some people and I definitely didn’t start it two hours. I found that 30 minutes to an hour at first was really effective for me.
Like I would always like tell my girlfriend or something that yeah let’s hang out in a half hour or an hour or whatever I would make plans for dinner or something to where I only have like a short amount of time and I found that doing these little short sprints of focused single task work with a very definitive timeline would make me extremely productive. And I found that if I did three or four those in a day I could get more done than if I tried to work the whole day with distractions.
And that fundamentally changed the way that I get shit done it really has. Because now I don’t think of like my work as an 8-hour workday I think of it as a series of tasks that I need to get done and I can sit down and I can sprint on those specific tasks. But the only way this works is if you really truly believe and you understand that multitasking doesn’t work.
Because if you think you can multitask you’re going to get distracted you’re going to have tweets you’re going to have messages and notifications and all kinds of shit popping up at you and you are going to be extremely less productive. And like I said it’s not just the time that you get distracted it’s the time you get distracted plus the time it takes you to get your mind back into the focus of things into the swing of things. And I think that focused time that focused little sprint of work is one of the most effective things that you can do at least short-term for sure like absolutely if I’m on top of my list if someone asks me what’s your top productivity tip that would be it. Just small focus short bursts of work and you get a lot done that way.
And if you think you can multitask again you’re going to fall behind because not only are you going to get get distracted but then you have to get back to the task and back and forth. And I—dude, lived that life for a way too long. I had emails popping up I’d have to respond to emails I have to do that. Now now I get that not everybody has that freedom right like some people have things that have to do during the day some people have to be available by email or call some people have to sit at a job all day for eight hours.
So I’m looking at this as purely a perspective how to get more done during your game time. And if you’ve got a job if you’ve got a full-time job and you come home in your work on your game, you need to understand that concept. You need to understand that you need to sit in your your shit and do it by yourself and have focused short bursts of these productivity periods. Because if you try and sit there and watch TV or something and work on programming.
Can you get somewhere sure you can. But it’s not going to be nearly as productive as as scheduling it out in the short focus spurts. In fact I used to have I like having a second monitor because that’s usually I don’t usually work on it but it’s like my secondary I’ll have Spotify or YouTube or something I like to watch documentaries sometimes. And I find that works okay for creative work but for any kind of logic programming work it takes full focus.
But what I found is it’s usually much more effective let’s say there’s a -minute mini documentary on YouTube that I want to watch or something I found that I can get way more done if I if I do a short work sprint for 30 minutes completely focused with no visual stimuli like music is okay music seems to amp you up especially music with no audio for me works really well. But I found rather than work an hour with a video in the background I found that 30 minutes focused on my tasks and minutes just watching the video passively without doing anything seems to be the most effective route for me.
Like viewing that video as a reward for my 30-minute focused work seems to actually work better than working the whole hour half-assed or half focused. And I found that kind of stuff has carried over at so many different ways for me but specifically a Productivity like you cannot be short focused bursts of these these work sprints. So I highly recommend that and again even if you believe you’re a multitasker just know that multitasking really doesn’t work.
It doesn’t work effectively. Minute for a minute you will get more done on these short focus person you ever will try to get multiple things done at once. And your mental brain takes time to shift between these tasks. So especially with something as deep as programming. Like I find when I go from programming to having to write stuff like a blog article or even make a video it takes a while for my brain to make that shift. That logical giving computer command shifts to the creative a little more naturally flowing communication to other human beings. It takes mental time to shift.
So just remember that and and try and limit the amount of stuff that you switch between in any given period and focus on the short little bursts. So that’s it that’s all I have for today. I hope you guys found useful if you did please leave me a comment below I’d love to hear your comments as always.
Once again I’m Tim Ruswick and I’ll see you guys next time.