Which Mode are You In | And How To Be Productive In It

Photo of nick calabro looking at the camera teaching us how to be productive.

Which Mode are You In | And How To Be Productive In It

Deciding and determining which mode you’re in can be the difference between getting a lot done with little energy and getting nothing done while using all your energy. Scheduling your day to optimize for context and your current mindset can greatly impact your effectiveness and time management.

What do I mean by mode? As we briefly discuss in the difference between habits and tasks, your mode can be anything from

  • The zone you’re currently in
  • The store you’re currently shopping in
  • The feeling you currently have
  • The level of energy you’re currently working with

Your mode is very important because it determines how well you’re going to perform at any given task that you’re working on.

Determine Your Mode

You may wake up one day and have the urge to clean off your desk and do some organizing. Similarly, you may wake up another day and have a similar urge but to do some heavy programming on the new app you’re building. You also might have urges to make some sales calls or even write your holiday postcards.

These are all natural modes that come to us without our consent. They’re just what we feel like doing and we’re going to usually do them. In addition to them being thrust upon us, they’re enforced by our environment and what we were doing previously.

This is how unoptimized mode-management can harm you.

If you started taking sales and admin calls at 9 am and at 11 am decide it’s time to switch gears it’s important to evaluate all the tasks at hand. Why’re you switching gears? We have a list of other calls to make and we’re already prepared to make them. We’re at the phone, we have our scripts and resources in front of us, and we’re in the mindset, or the mode, to get these calls completed.

The very obvious mode of making sales and admin calls must be scheduled in the proper manner so that they all get done in the same window of time. The harm here is when you unknowingly take on another task that requires a switching cost and time ends up being wasted — this is most prominent when after the switching cost is completed, one has to revert back to their previous task to fully accomplish it. If you’re following along, you can see that going back and forth between projects isn’t only ineffective because multi-tasking makes you lose focus, but also because the time it takes to switch from one task to another builds up.

Ultimately, your mindfulness and awareness to create proper schedules are what will keep you most efficient regarding your modes and how you cultivate them to work for you instead of you working around them.

Mode vs. Context

Some may see the similarities between modes and contexts. After all, they’re essentially the same thing if we’re referring to things like phone and grocery shopping. However, while contexts overall properties of a task, your mode is the feeling you have to do that task.

You can be in the grocery store and satisfy the grocery store context but at the same time be in the mode of sales calls if you were doing the prior. Sure, you’ll naturally migrate to the other mode once you find yourself shopping, but your mode isn’t something that relies on location like context does, your mode is simply what you ought to be doing because your body is telling you it’s going do that best at that time.

At the end of each day, determining which modes you were in along with which contexts you executed in can help understand how you work most effectively. The most efficient system is the one that works for you and understanding your different modes and how to bring the best out of all of them will certainly help keep you up to date with your body and make you aware of your energy.

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