Productivity loves focus. Our most productive chunks are those hours in the day when our heads are down and we are lost to the rest of world.
And yet, getting those interruption free chunks keeps getting harder. Our lives are filled with distractions – from emails, meetings and an assortment of other notifications. Despite their dent on productivity, these distractions cannot be done away with. These housekeeping tasks play their own role in keeping our work lives in order.
Nevertheless, housekeeping doesn’t mix well with focus. The best option is to separate them and batch them together. We could dedicate two hours in an 8 hour work day exclusively for housekeeping tasks – answering emails, attending meetings and so on. Alternatively, one or two days in a five day work-week could be housekeeping days. At the same time, we also need to block off time on our calendars for deep work, without which it would never happen.
A morning session with 3 hours of deep focused work and 1 hour of housekeeping is more productive than 4 hours that are constantly punctured by interruptions.