How to do focused, fulfilling work
Nice article, Michael. I relate to all of your struggles and your search for help to improve in these areas. Specifically the concern about over-scheduling our time—my brain seems to immediately buck against the concept. I don't want that sort of rigidity in my schedule. It sounds boring, lacking in variety and spontaneity which are the spices of life that get me excited. But I've come to realize that the bucking comes from a part of me that's addicted to the short-term rewards that are part of my current habits and routine. The greatest rewards in life seem to come from doing the most difficult projects—not that they're necessarily intellectually more challenging, but are often self-directed, have no deadline, and require tremendous and consistent focus over a long period. So if you really want those rewards, you're forced to reconcile your current self with the type of person you need to be to achieve those things, and suddenly the scheduling starts to seem more appealing :D
Love it. Cal Newport has a book/Ted talk on this called “Deep Work.” One of my go-to recommendations.
Great stuff! It seems monotasking and finding the blocks of time in a day you tend to be most alert and inspired go hand-in-hand. I also think there is certainly a time for multi-tasking, when you don't have as much focus and can handle tasks that don't require you to be all in. The spontaneity of going back and forth between jobs, letting your mind wander, can provide a creative spark. It can certainly be a disservice to yourself, and others, though if you are not locked in to the task at hand.