10 and 2

April 30th, 2007  |  Published in etc  |  1 Comment

Quoth jbm on twitter:

“trying to resist the siren call of the futzmonkey to install Feisty on a thumb drive.”

So I twittered back that I’ve got my new top-secret weapon in the war on futz and I oughta blog about it. Leaving aside a lot of background information and contorted qualifications, here’s the condensed “10 O’Clock and 2 O’Clock Anti-Futz Get-Right Routine”:

Before 8 a.m.:

  • Blogging, personal e-mail and Twitter are all o.k. Personal interest feeds with something interesting get marked “toread.”

Before 10 a.m.:

  • Only work IM is turned on.

  • Twitter is muted and set to one hour refreshes.

  • I ignore my personal mail inbox.

  • I collapse my NetNewsWire personal interest folder.

The Two O’Clock List is an OmniOutliner list of anything that occurs to me that sounds like something I ought to do that doesn’t involve direct progress on the task at hand. Some from Friday:

  • set up file-sharing page on Backpack

  • markdown link glossary entry on bbedit

  • float headshots

  • strip leading/trailing whitespace in PTH filters

Nothing on that list gets touched until after 2 p.m. I reason that where almost every single daily work task is involved, I’ve been doing it with no important loss of efficiency for at least a year, but probably in some form or another for over four. Not changing something about that task until later on in the day (or week … or month) will not kill me.

Once 2 p.m. rolls around, I let myself look at the list. One of several things usually happens:

  1. Nothing I put on there seems like something I need to do right this instant.

  2. Some of the stuff I put on there doesn’t seem like something I’ll ever need to do, and I realize I was really just trying to get out of doing something dull.

  3. Faced with a list of things I’d like to do, and bearing in mind that the perfect is the enemy of the good, I tend to go down the list quickly and come up with something for each item that works even if it isn’t completely bulletproofed outside its intended use. The less bulletproofed something is, the less time I’ll spend fixing it when it breaks anyhow.

That’s it in a nutshell.

There’s a whole other entry on why this works for me, and why it’s essential for me to step away from the conceit that I can be some kind of master multi-tasker, but “blog about 10 & 2” was on the list from Friday and I’m just clearing a few of those things off before the day starts in earnest.


  1. gl. says:

    April 30th, 2007 at 10:47 am (#)

    neat! thanks! i’ve been recently trying for an “output before input” strategy: trying to get the stuff on my list or out of my head out before i start taking stuff in.

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