If you’re struggling to get your stuff done, and finding yourself alternately antsy, distracted, and tired, then try out this alternate approach to scheduling. Writer and podcaster David Kadavy organizes his tasks based on their mental load, separating high-level creative tasks like idea generation from less taxing ones like research, and more mundane ones like administration. Kadavy’s Medium post describes six kinds of mental work and how he arranges them in his weekly schedule.
Kadavy’s schedule takes advantage of the extra mental energy he has at the beginning of a week or day. He spends mornings and Mondays on creative work like brainstorming, mid-week afternoons on polishing existing projects (like editing a book), and Fridays winding down with miscellaneous admin work.
Most of us don’t have the flexibility of a self-employed “creative entrepreneur” like Kadavy. But you might have the freedom to save most of your paperwork or organization for the afternoon, or to schedule more creative meetings early in the week. Or do the reverse, if that’s how your mental energy works. The point is to notice what kind of work you’re doing, and when your mind is most prepared for it.
The mental-state philosophy addresses all kinds of productivity issues: splitting up idea generation sessions helps you avoid creative burnout; scheduling time for admin means letting fewer things fall through the cracks. You’ll do best to pick and choose, and only apply what works for you—as with most productivity systems shared via Medium post.
Don’t organize your todos by project, organize them by mental state | Medium
About the author
Staff Writer, Lifehacker | Nick has written for Gawker, the Awl, the Toast, the Daily Dot, Urlesque, and the web series "Jaywalk Cop." He currently runs the horror-comedy podcast "Roommate From Hell."