RE: Time=Life

Michael Butler (
Mon, 16 Dec 1996 14:58:47 PST

The first is learning how to switch from one thing to another almost

<much good stuff snipped>
Minimizing the context-switching cost is crucial to the success of
this strategy.

I'll add one observation if I may: the [desire to do]
best is the enemy of the [desire to do] good, or it can be. In order
to minimize the stumbling blocks when I switch contexts, I have
cultivated a different way of seeing the world than the one I grew up
with, which tends to be too perfectionistic and quick to feel
thwarted. It seems more like cultivation than technique.

And of course, a description is not always a roadmap. I've been
there, but I don't know how to tell someone else how to get there.

My training is basically to be more sensitive to what I feel most
like doing and to evaluate that course of action rationally and see if I still
feel like doing it, and if I do feel most like doing something, then I will do

10-4 on that. For myself, I let the evaluation stay nonverbal, mostly--
but it still is _conscious_ (or perhaps _purposive_); I don't catch
myself being conflicted about it.

Do you notice, when that's working, that you can stay up for loooong
periods of time, without feeling either particularly fatigued or
particularly "wired"? I do, and it's grand--there just happens to be
something I'd rather be doing than sleep, moment to moment to moment.

And, contrary to some predictions, my ability to relate to other
people goes *up*, not down. They're only as much "interruption" as I
make them. When the context switching cost is minimized, it's almost
impossible to stay rattled or put off by interruptions--there's no
blocking (recovery) time to speak of.

It basically involves maintaining a
mental plan of one's course of action, clear enough that it can be followed
without hesitation.

For me, it also involves practice at handling plan-vs-reality
mismatches in a fluid way. I think it's kind of like applied
beginner's mind, if that's not a contradiction in terms... :)

MMB, at but not for OCC