This is something Jordan Peterson mentioned in a video I watched previously. He’ll work with clients who maybe say they need to study more, and that they currently spend 4 hours a day doing so, but he goes into it and between going to the library, getting a coffee, chatting with friends and generally procrastinating he’ll discover it’s actually about 15 minutes of real study that happens. So he tells them to study for 30 minutes a day every day for a week, at home, at their desk, no distractions.
The results of which can be incredible because it’s the 100% increase in output which compounding over time will have crazy benefits.
But what’s an interesting exercise is really stopping to think about how much time is actually spent doing the job at hand, for instance this morning I checked the time and realized I’d been sat here 25 minutes without an idea to show for it, but actually I spent 5 minutes planning some of the work I want to do later and another 5 minutes just googling unimportant things that were in my brain.
I’d sat for 15 minutes and then came up with this idea, a difference of 40%. So in fact, I wasn’t taking a long time to come up with an idea, it was slightly longer than normal (I’m normally about 10 minutes from sitting down to starting writing) but it wasn’t as bad as I was leading myself to believe.
A way to check this if you do computer work is to look at your history, you can see when you started the task at hand and when you got distracted on your computer and for how long, you might even notice a pattern that you get distracted ever 30 minutes, which would mean you know to take a break after that long and you can be purposeful about resuming work, break for 5-10 minutes then back to work cutting off your distraction and resuming.
Notice your patterns and don’t kid yourself.