Don’t switch context

Do you ever have days where you feel like you’ve been stumbling from one thing to another but haven’t actually accomplished anything?

On those days, you go to bed with the face of the kid from The Sixth Sense and pray that the next day will be better. To avoid this happening every day, I have a golden rule, not because it’s valuable, but because if I got a gold bar for every person who breaks it, I would be rich.

The rule is: Don’t switch context. Such obviousness, right? I don’t know why you’re still reading this.

Your life is divided into contexts. You have friends you want to take care of, family members you want to spend time with, projects you want to grow. You also have a gym subscription that looks at you with disappointment and a mental health that is dustier than the roads in Mad Max. It would be very good to give it a review from time to time, don’t you think?

Thinking that you must do everything is a serious mistake. But believing that you can do everything and, moreover, thinking that you can do it well is enough to get you locked up for being crazy. You’ll probably end up stressed and burned out. Don’t fall into the trap, my friend.

To illustrate this, I’ll give you a very simple example: imagine that you have two weekend plans.

In one of them, you have plans with a group of friends whom you haven’t seen in a while and want to know how their lives are going. You find yourself in the restaurant talking with them, and between the noise from the other tables and the noise you are making, it’s quite difficult to understand what each one is involved in. The larger the group, the more complicated it gets.

That’s how your brain would feel every time you change context after an hour. In the end, you can’t remember if Rosa had a child or got divorced. Or if Jaime was fired from his job or if he actually quit. Or if Carmen had taken up pottery or in fact had joined the gym and was sculpting her body.

Quite a mess, really.

The next day arrives, and you’ve arranged to meet your friend Roberto at a café. It’s just him and the calm conversation. Delve deeper into each conversation, enhance your listening skills, and gather more information.

And this, my friend, is what happens when you focus on one thing at a time. When you don’t switch contexts, you are richer, more attractive, and a better player. Oh wait, I think Cristiano Ronaldo said that. But what I really should have said.

When you constantly change context (interruption) and are focusing on more than one thing (distraction), you become dumber. On average, you can lose 10 points in our IQ, which is twice as much as when you’re under the effects of cannabis. I don’t know if you’re handsome, rich, and a good player, but you’re definitely smarter by not switching context.

This is just an example, so please don’t leave that WhatsApp group where they’ve planned to meet up for a meal this weekend. I don’t want to cause a rift in your personal relationships.

In my case, I apply it in the same way I do with my training: one day, one thing. Currently, these are some of my contexts:

  • Kalm.
  • Clients.
  • Newsletter.

I dedicate an entire day to each project, but it doesn’t have to be the same task. I simply find myself in the context of the project all day. This also allows me to focus on sub-contexts.

For example, in Kalm there are various tasks that could be sub-contexts: developing a product, managing projects, doing marketing… and so on to infinity. Therefore, if I work on this project for a day, I try to specify the sub-contexts in which I am going to work.

  • Monday → Push (training) → Kalm (context) → Marketing Kalm (sub-context)
  • Wednesday → Pull (training) → Client A (context) → Developing a new feature (sub-context)
  • Friday → Leg (training) → Newsletter (context) → Writing this newsletter you are reading (sub-context)

With this, I’m not looking to do more, but to do it better and be more present. I’m totally against the propaganda of the 5am gurus, who sell you the idea that you have to be more productive just for the sake of doing more. You simply need to make better use of your time and do better in what you enjoy.

As I always think and believe I have said at some point, life is pure chaos. Therefore, aspiring to do this every day of your life is something I cannot guarantee.

As Schopenhauer rightly said in his book ‘The Wisdom of Life’.

Not even a hundred fools together are worth as much as one intelligent man.

And you, my friend, want to be intelligent. So don’t switch context.