Transitioning from one activity to another is difficult. In elementary school, my first report cards pointed out that I struggled with transitions. I’ve always been obsessed with completing tasks right now, no matter the consequence, and this does not bode well in the real world.
Oftentimes in knowledge work, there are issues that you can't tackle on a particular day. An idea or challenge might need to sit a while, and after a good night’s sleep, what seems impossible today might be a cinch tomorrow. Rather than staying up all night, the transition from work to bed allowed you to refuel and tackle the problem very quickly. Transitions during daylight hours can be similarly beneficial.
In my past post, Micro-Boxing: How to Make Effective Use of Time to Do What You Love , I discussed the importance of laying out a plan of action to accomplish your goals, and mentioned two great macOS applications to get started. Laying out your day is the first step to getting the pain out of transitions.
I use Due ($4.99 for iOS, $9.99 for macOS) , a reminders app for iOS and macOS, to enforce my transitions. Due separates itself from the pack with its great iOS interface and it’s ability to nag you into completing your tasks. The app can get very annoying if ignored and helps you become deliberate in transitioning to other activities.
I recommend only using the iOS app on one device for now because there are serious sync issues between devices. The developer plans on implementing a more reliable syncing system in the future, but he has his hands full with other projects so I don’t think a major update will be released for a while. This video on the iOS app by Robert McGinley will get you on your way.
With Micro-boxing and the incessantly nagging Due app, you’ll begin to see the benefits of putting down your work once and a while, taking a breather from the present problem, and improving at your craft more quickly.