Dave Meier
January 9, 2023
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Tackle Tasks by Cognitive Effort

I have been learning and experimenting with productivity for years.

Along the way, I have done all sorts of things to try to get better:

  • Took courses
  • Listened to Tim Ferris & others
  • Read Deep Work, Atomic Habits, Make Time

And all of these things helped me a ton.

But if I had to start all over again (as a beginner), this is the simple framework I wish I had for learning how to do the right thing at the right time.

Group tasks by cognitive effort

If you do this, here are the results you can expect to happen:

  • Prioritise efforts
  • Increase productivity
  • Align action with ability
  • Create habits and triggers
  • Group tasks into focus sessions

Most people think of tasks as one list.

Instead, I want you to think of tasks by cognitive effort.

4 focus modes to categorise every task:

๐Ÿ…ฟ๏ธ Park

  • No focus
  • Shed mental focus
  • Switch off and relax

๐Ÿงช Off-road

  • Deep focus
  • No interruptions
  • High cognitive tasks
  • Gain new knowledge

๐ŸŽ๏ธ Sports

  • Deep focus
  • No interruptions
  • High cognitive tasks
  • Use existing knowledge

๐ŸŒณ Eco

  • Shallow focus
  • Allow interruptions
  • Low cognitive tasks