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138 – Are we happy with how we manage tasks?

138 – Are we happy with how we manage tasks?

In this episode:

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Discussion – Are we happy with how we manage tasks

Today, the podcast talks about tasks. Not so much the tasks themselves, but more the way that we approach them.

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A few weeks ago, I posted a poll in the WP Builds Facebook group asking people about their approach to getting tasks completed. At the core of it was the fact that I (as in me, Nathan Wrigley) get pretty caught up in a task and I find it quite hard to move on to do other things until the current task is complete. I’m not joking about this, I really do. I find it hard to do anything else, be that something work related, or something utterly unrelated to WordPress and websites!

I got to thinking that this is a failing of mine and perhaps it’s something that I ought to address, but just to be sure that I’m the only one who behaves like this I created the poll with the following three options:

This is a thing that I don’t always like about myself and I just wonder how many of you are like me.
When I start on some task, I get fixated upon it. I find it very hard to break off that task to complete another task until it is done.
There are so many reasons why I would change this, but I wonder if, in the end, it’s a good quality.

  1. I struggle to stay on a task for any length of time
  2. I can go from one task to another, and it’s fine
  3. I have to finish what I’m working on before I move on (this is the one that i best fit)
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You can see that there were not too many options (aside: don’t limit the ability of other people to add options to the poll in Facebook as I did).

The results were as follows on 15th July 2019:

  1. 36 voles
  2. 18 votes
  3. 17 votes

Which is interesting because I’m in the minority. It would seem that the majority find it hard to gain focus on a single task, fully half of the respondents, and the remaining half as split down the middle being able to flit between tasks and fixating on one task at a time.

So…

Are these universals (to a greater or lesser degree):

  • We all will feel we have wasted too much time and not prioritising our tasks (we are running a business – time is money etc.)
  • We we all think we have a system that nails it until we revert back to 1
  • We probably need a balance of easy tasks (to feel we are achieving without pain), but need some harder challenges to stop the boredom of our existence
  • We do achieve more with a single focus (no stopping and starting time) but we probably also undervalue distractions and how they can widen our vision and keep us human
  • Dealing with tasks becomes really hard when our overall purpose and aim in life has been lost
  • You are probably a sociopath if you don’t struggle with these things! 😉

A few “tasks” that could trip us up

  • Learning tasks. You start and there is always more to learn. Where to get off / stop? Stopping a starting make things hard, but how much do we need to know right now?
  • New products. There is always something which could extend or make your business better (so so we put time in the calendar for it or look at it as and when needed?).
  • Social / networking (is this a task or just some down time?)
  • Ignoring things with money
  • Ignoring customers (service)
  • The future of our business (the industry)

As always, it’s great that the WP Builds community feel like they can chip in to help others out and offer their opinions, as as such…

Some great points:

Adam Lacey (Nick Gulic, Kyle Van Deusen, Mark Werle) – all can get fixed when the interest and motivation is there. Depends on the task

Sunil Posse – is a developer because like solving problems

Chris Hughes – self discipline right up there with working for yourself

Matthew Granat – I always seem to get fixated on the one project that is the least urgent (yep my flat was never cleaner than when I had to finished my final dissertation)

Chantal Edouard-Betsy – I’m the same Nathan … which works with my model.

Sara Jackson – I struggle with getting started but once I’m in the zone, I’m ok.

Mor Cohen – Deadlines keep me in check. If there is no deadline, I tend to go off on tangents and find multiple rabbit holes to occupy my time.

Rachel Seago – works better under pressure (yep – so easy to have too much or little of that)

Dave Toomey – offered a gif with a dog distracted by a squirrel – yep!

Lori Berkowitz – could not pick as it depends on the task

We don’t have all the answers, but it was a really interesting chat nonetheless! I hope that you enjoy it.


Mentioned in this episode:

The WP Builds Facebook post that inspired this episode.

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Transcript (if available)

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Nathan Wrigley: 00:00 Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your host, David Waumsley, Nathan Wrigley.

Nathan Wrigley: 00:21 Hello there and welcome to episode number 138 of the WP bells podcast. This episode is entitled, are We happy with how we manage tasks? It was published on Thursday the 25th of July, 2019 my name is Nathan Wrigley from picture and word.co. uk, a small web development agency based in the north of England and I'll be joined in a few minutes by David Waumsley from David Waumsley.com so that we can have our regular discussion, which we'd like to do every couple of weeks. But before that, a couple of things, if you wouldn't mind heading over to the WP Builds.com website. Forward slash subscribe. You will get to a page full of all sorts of ways of keeping in touch with what we do over on WP Builds. So for example, as a couple of email lists you can sign up to to be notified about these podcast episodes, but also any deals that crop up in the WordPress community.

Nathan Wrigley: 01:13 I send you a little short email to let you know about those. We've also got the options on there to subscribe on your podcast player or join our thriving Facebook group of 2000 nearly 2100 people are talking about WordPressy things and there's links to things like our Facebook channel as well. A couple of other things to remember. If you go over to WP Builds.com forward slash deals you'll find our, well surprisingly our deals page and on there you're going to find a whole load of coupon codes for WordPress plugins and themes, et cetera. It's a bit like black Friday, but every day of the week we've added a few recently, so perhaps go and check it out. If you're in the market for any WordPress products, you might be able to save yourself a few pennies over there and WP Builds.com forward slash webinars if you want to keep in touch with all the stuff that we're doing over at WP Builds regarding webinars.

Nathan Wrigley: 02:03 Lastly, WP Builds.com forward slash advertise if you would like to advertise your product or service. On the WP Builds podcast. A bit like the page builder framework. How do you use a page builder to create your websites? The page builder framework is a mobile responsive and lightning fast WordPress theme that works with beaver builder, elemental breezy, and other page builders with its endless customization options in the WordPress customizer. It's the perfect fit for you or your agency. So go to WP dash page builder, framework.com today, and we do thank all of our sponsors who help support and put on the WP Builds podcast. Okay. Today the podcast is called, are we happy with how we manage tasks? This whole thing was inspired by a poll that I put in the WP bill's Facebook group asking if people are like me because I obsess about getting one thing finished before I, before I can move onto the next.

Nathan Wrigley: 02:58 I already it very hard, very, very hard to flip between tasks. So I put a poll out with some options and this whole episode was inspired by that. We had lots and lots of feedback and so we do mention quite a few people in our Facebook group. So maybe you'll get a mention if you participated in that poll, but it's just a nice discussion about how we manage whether or not we can flip from one thing to another, whether we can focus at all or whether we just focus on one thing. I really hope that you enjoy it.

David Waumsley: 03:27 Hello. This discussion would call in. Are we ever happy with our we manage tasks? Nathan, you probably should introduce this properly because you started this as a post and you are on the WP bill's Facebook.

Nathan Wrigley: 03:39 Yes, that's true. I will. I'll probably link to it. Um, uh, so that you can click on it and look at what the poll was if you're in, if you're in our group and essentially, I can't even remember really what it was, but I posted a poll with only three options because I kind of was wondering if I had a bit of a personality flaw. Um, and the, the personality floor revolves around the fact that I really kind of struggle to, to, to move on from one task to another to be able to flip between things. So, for example, if I begin a task, I really like to see it through to the end and I, I get quite obsessed with the beginning and then just working, working, working, working, working until it's finished to the point where all sorts of ordinary things get chucked out the window.

Nathan Wrigley: 04:27 And I don't do them like eating. I'll just keep working until it's finished and then suddenly look up and 12 hours have gone. And I haven't put a, uh, a particle of food anywhere near my mouth. And so I was wondering, is this normal? So I said, when I start on a task, I'll get, get fixated upon it. I find it very hard to break off and to complete other tasks until that one is done. Um, there are so many reasons why I would like to change this, but I wonder if in the end it's a good quality. And then I posted three possible outcomes in this poll. And the one which got the most votes was I struggle to stay on a task for any length of time. So that's kind of the exact opposite of me. That was the winner. And then kind of joint secondary with very similar number of votes was the one that I plumped for, which was I have to finish what I'm working on before I move on. And then slightly in the lead, but only by one or two votes was I can go from one task to another and it's completely fine. So that, that really was what prompted all of this. And we're going to talk around that and it's going to be a very clumsy talk. I think we've got, we've written downloads and ideas, but I'm trying to try to make them coherent is going to be a little bit difficult. So that's what we're going to talk about.

David Waumsley: 05:37 Yeah. And we'll, we'll sum up really, I guess what, what people said to us. So yeah, Adam lacy kicked as often the, and he was echoed, there was nick gulic Catholic, uh, Kyle Van Deusen and mark will all, we're pretty much the same in the sense that, um, they can get fixed when the interest of the motivation is there, but it's gonna totally depend on the tasks that they're doing. Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 06:00 And I think, sadly, I wish that I had the capability. Once you've set a poll in Facebook, you can't, um, as soon as it started to receive results, you can't then go and adapt it. Um, and I selected nobody can add any other, any other options. Again was a very stupid thing to do cause it would have been nice to put those in. But yeah, I think there's a bit of that in my, uh, answer as well. You know, it really does depend on the task so those people can all get fixated just like me. Um, so long as there's motivation and the task is of is of some interest. Yeah.

David Waumsley: 06:32 Yeah. And that I think is probably a, there's a truism. There isn't the, there was, I thought it was interesting. Some points were really good because it just reminded me of things like a, Sunil, I don't know how you say surname, is it posse? Sunil Posse, but maybe someone else can actually phonetically write out how to pronounce this. And then we'll, and then we'll know. And these are developers. So, you know, he kind of, that's the thing, he likes solving problems, so he's kind of just going to stick on task isn't he? Yeah. And I'm sure that that I'm sure that that capability is probably,

Nathan Wrigley: 07:07 there's a certain benefits to it. There's obviously drawbacks, you know, in my case you don't eat enough, but, um, you know, the ability to sort of stay with something until you've actually got to the end is good. Now obviously there's going to be a load of psychology at play in, in terms of whether you are successful on how your anger management works on that basis, but getting, you know, not losing focus and keeping going. I suppose

David Waumsley: 07:31 there are benefits to that. Yeah. We'll get to actually, probably just step back a bit. What kind of tasks do you think you'd be doing where you couldn't leave to eat? Um, literally anything.

Nathan Wrigley: 07:44 I think, you know, as soon as I'm, as soon as I'm doing, so what we're talking about here is, um, is like building websites, you know, so it's those kinds of tasks. So it might be, um, a simple case of I've prompt, you know, let's not get into the whole life promise thing, but I'm building a website and I can't do it until it's done. Or it might be that I'm wrangling with, Oh, I don't know, some sort of page template or something and it's not putting out what I want or I cannot figure out the CSS for this particular thing to make it look how I want. And you know, whether that takes three minutes, Ching Fabulous, I can step away from that one. Or it might take several hours where you're just banging your head against the wall and nothing seems to be working. So it's those kinds of things really. Um, but, but it could literally be the whole website or it could be the, um, you know, a small little task. Now obviously if it's like a whole website, I've, I'm not naive enough to sort of keep going for like 48 hours with no sleep and no food. At some point I have to break off. But it does, it does kind of, um, it just annoys the wrong word. It irks me that I have to step away from it and I haven't finished it.

David Waumsley: 08:53 Yeah. But you know, I mean that's, I do, I bet sue does. She's the same as you and that's why she's got her one day model, isn't it? Or one day builds model because it's just perfect for that kind of mentality, isn't it? Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 09:06 I think it's, I think it's basically when I've set my mind to something. So as soon as I've decided that this is the thing that I'm going to concentrate on, that's the one thing that I want to do. And I find it really difficult to kind of break off and do a bit of something else. Um, so as an example, you know, we've all met people and there's people in very close to me in my life who have completely different capabilities in this regard. You know, they can, they can do a quarter of one task, go and do 10 minutes on something else, 15 minutes on something else, then come back to the quarter, finish tasks and do another eight minutes and, and it all works. And I just can't do that. And it's a bit like when I was a kid, I could never ever not finish a book before I started another one. I just had to finish the book that I had already begun, even if I wasn't enjoying it, which is ridiculous, just so that I could say, Oh don, that one. All right, great. Now new book found it very difficult to, to break off halfway through and, or on the idea of having two or three books on the go at once. Oh No, no, no, no.

David Waumsley: 10:18 Do that, you know, I was just thinking about, you know, building site. So if you're having to do the design yourself, um, would you find that easier to break away from?

Nathan Wrigley: 10:28 If I put this, this may come to, this, might speak to another topic which we're going to record on and non on for another day. Um, if, if it's something that I'm capable of, I think, but that this, this leads to the frustrating, I suppose this leads to the irking, you know, the earthiness, if that's a word. Um, if I'm not really very good at doing it, that presents all sorts of other problems, which we probably won't go into now. But you know, things like design of I've long since learned that that's a fruitless task for me to get involved in. So that's best left to somebody else frankly. But you do some of it though it a little bit, but I, I know my limitation, so I've, I've definitely, you know, uh, you raise the bar for yourself in certain areas, don't you? And probably lower the bar in other areas. And so in that case the bar is pretty low.

David Waumsley: 11:16 So yeah, that, um, I was just thinking on the same as you in the sense, like if there's that kind of problem or I need to get that job finished and it, I don't know how long it's going to take, then I can't kind of leave it. And that really annoys me. So I almost need to start that on a day where I know I don't have something going on or I've ident started. But you know, it's interesting, I have to do some of the design myself and because I'm not particularly good at it and because of the fact that I think it is, it's usually improved by stepping away and looking at it again. I could walk away from that even though it's not working for me. Do you know what I mean? I'm stuff around things on looking right.

Nathan Wrigley: 11:55 I can, I can get away with the fact that I know I need to come back to this one. Oh, I see. So if, if it's something that you have categorized as a David Waumsley as good at this, then you want to, that will, that will force you to stick with it until the bitter end. Whereas if it's something that you've already decided, you're not so good at this, this is not your area of strength, that might be something which you're more inclined to be able to half finish and then come back to it later. Okay. That's interesting. So I think it's that, I think it's when it's a problem that I should be able to solve yes. Or get done in a certain time. Then then I'm dogging, I'm going to stick with it, you know, and not eat like you. I think timing is a really crucial one in here because judging the amount of time that something takes can, can directly impact upon well when you begin it and how, how important that is.

Nathan Wrigley: 12:45 So as an example, if I judged the task is only going to take me an hour, then I'm, I'm really happy to begin that at any point because I know that I can give an hour here or give an hour there, whatever, you know, I've got time in the day for that. But if, if it's a two day task or you know, like a whole website, let's say that some that's fraught with difficulty for me because I just, I really struggle. Let's say for example, it's five o'clock and in my house that would be like a traditional time to put everything down and let's all gather together and eat, you know, with my family. Um, I find the, the sort of anxiety levels going off as it approaches five o'clock because, because it's not done. And of course I knew it was never going to get done. This task was way bigger than, but, but I still feel that I don't know what it is. And then, you know, uh, inevitably five o'clock rolls over and there I am just, Oh, be another minute, just a minute. I'll just be in a minute. It'll be another minute. And, uh, you know, that's ridiculous.

David Waumsley: 13:44 I know, I know this, I know when I disappoint my wife because I'm stuck on Sunday and she's expecting that we'll go off and do something else. And uh, yeah, I feel that pressure there and, uh, I've learned not to say something like, I'm doing this for us. Don't you know? Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 13:58 Oh yeah. I mean, there's definitely a whole bank of things that you shouldn't say. There's another episode right there. Um, but that, that's interesting that you, you behave in the same way as me and as, as that time approaches and you know, that you've got to do the other thing. Um, I'm wondering, you know, sort of sending this message out to everybody that's listening to this, I'm wondering what kind of emotions we experience when this, this happens. You know, you've, you haven't finished something. In my case, I don't really get, I don't think I get angry. I just sort of get a bit, um, I get a little bit tense. It's sort of like a tension feeling. I would certainly wouldn't describe it as anything particularly uncomfortable or something that I can't deal with. And honestly, the minute I walk out the door of my office, it's kind of forgotten. But actually taking my fingers, my, my cold dead fingers off the keyboard and actually getting out of the chair. That's, that's the, the thing that I can't seem to manage. I just want to keep going until it's done. Don't know what it is. Deep, deep, weird psychology. We've both got David.

David Waumsley: 15:01 Yeah, I know, but he's just saying Sarah Jackson is, she said about, she's okay when she says she has difficulty getting started, but what? She's in the zone and I think that's where I'm at the zone and it's when something's creeping into my zone and dragging me out of it. When I'm in it, that's, that's where I get the anxiety maybe. Yeah. Do you think that's it?

Nathan Wrigley: 15:21 Yeah. Well certainly, you know, there are certain tasks which I don't enjoy as much as others. Um, and that's in all walks of life, you know, in every aspect of my life, not, not necessarily anything to do with the web. And Yeah, I would definitely say that if you're enjoying something then you are far more likely, aren't you? To just sort of have that mentality of I want to keep going, I want to keep going, I want to keep going. Um, and I don't honestly recognize that at the time. I don't think I'm, I'm not consciously thinking, oh, I'm really enjoying this, so I'm going to keep going. It is, it's far more about the, the, the, you know, the, the finish line for me, but I get, yeah, it would be important.

David Waumsley: 16:02 Do you think you'd just lose all sense of everything around you and time?

Nathan Wrigley: 16:05 Oh, without a shadow of a doubt. That's true. I mean, I can literally, I mean, so I'm working on a computer obviously, or whether you're on a windows machine or a Mac or whatever, there's a clock. But even that I can, I can absolutely not see that for hours and hours on end and I will look up and suddenly think, wow, that's five hours. Where did that even go? Um, and I have to set, because of the fact that I have family and I have responsibilities for picking people up from school and things like that, I have to set alarms like all over the place to make sure that I don't miss it. So just this is ridiculous this, but I'm gonna let you let you into it. So I have, I have to collect my child and I have to leave the house at three o'clock. If I don't leave at three, there's a problem. And so I have, this is shameful. I have, um, I have email alerts to let me know that it's getting close to three because I quite often check in on email. I also have two physical alarms, like noises to the separate ones because I'm so inclined to literally like silence one and then forget that I've silenced it. So another one comes on and um, if that one comes on, I'm thinking, oh, stop, go and get yourself from school. Oh dear.

Nathan Wrigley: 17:33 Yeah. You know, that's kind of like my wife actually, she's a big alarm set as she sets alarms to remind her about the alarm that's coming up. Well that's it. That's exactly it. So I've got like, I've got backups all over the place and, and that's just because I know that I can, I can absolutely go through the day and not realize what the time is. Um, yeah, totally. Totally possible. What about deadlines though? More Cohen speaks about deadline. She says that the sort of, the way that she manages things, you know, deadlines, keeper in check if there's no deadline, she says that she goes off on a tangent, um, and finds a whole variety of ways to sort of occupy her time. Um, you know, the, that aren't productive. How about you with that? Deadlines work? Yeah. I want to know about Moore's deadlines, where they're self-imposed wants self-imposed ones.

David Waumsley: 18:23 Absolutely useless. I'll just ignore them. You told us, you told me earlier about what you do with your own deadlines. Oh

Nathan Wrigley: 18:30 yeah. I mean I've got this to do lists. I'm really sounding ridiculous on it, but I've got a to do list and basically most of those tasks I just move to the next day, each day. Um, because they're self-imposed and I can move them wherever I like. Frankly, I could move them to next year, but I moved them each morning to the next day and then occasionally I'll cherry pick one of them out and get it done. So in a sense, there's absolutely no point in having that to do list, but that's what I do and it, it just sort of keeps them bubbling up in my mind. Oh yeah. That would be a good thing to do. I would like to achieve that. But um, yeah, self-imposed deadlines, no good client imposed deadlines. On the other hand, very good. They work very effectively for me. And you've spoke about that as well. Do you feel that you feel that there's more, um, more weight, more importance and it's more likely to be done if you feel like you're letting another human being down?

David Waumsley: 19:28 Yeah, absolutely. They, yeah, the sector for me, they're just absolutely, if I said I'm going to do this for this person on this time, I absolutely hold by that because I, I used to manage people and they had to do that deal for me. So I kind of set that discipline in myself and I can't get rid of it. So, you know, they would waste my time if they didn't appear at the time that we planned to meet and they would really annoy me and I couldn't do my job. So it's carried through through life. So that's true. But my own self imposed, or if I said, uh, you know, some vague idea about putting, say some content out in January, I just probably, I would just let that slip cause I, I know there wouldn't be one person expected to see it.

Nathan Wrigley: 20:09 So is it very much about sort of disappointment? It's about literally letting an individual down and you know, that what this person like, is it important that you've met them before in any way? So let's say for example, that you said to somebody, you'll get a proposal to them by a particular day and yet you've never met them. You don't really know them. Would that be important or is it the fact that you know them, you've got an acquaintance with them, they've become like a friend or, no, I think it would be, it would,

David Waumsley: 20:36 the more the business style side of things. So I want to be, I want to treat others the way I want to be treated myself and it'd be really, really keen for them to, to, you know, respect my time. So that's how I would view it. The abouts set in this kind of deal about respecting each other's time.

Nathan Wrigley: 20:53 Yeah. And I think that's, I would imagine that's the case for most people. Otherwise you wouldn't get in fact a lot done in life. But um, yeah, self-imposed deadlines don't really work for me. Whereas client deadlines really do. And I'm a lot like you. Interestingly in that regard, I, I really, really try to stick to, to those things. So if I've promised something to a particular person for a particular time, whether that's showing up for a meeting or making a phone call that a particular time or doing whatever it might be, I, um, I get, I don't like it when people don't respect that, uh, you know, in reverse toward me. So I try to, I try to do that as well.

David Waumsley: 21:30 Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It's interesting, you know, cause that I didn't realize until just now that the fact that, why that's important to me is just because I literally had to discipline people for not making deadlines. So you, you can't do that and not do it yourself. Can you,

Nathan Wrigley: 21:46 well, that's a good point. Yeah. I've never really been in that position, but I think that's, that's an important distinction to make. Although I think I had that as a child. I do remember being quite punctilious. Is that a word? I think it is. Um, and showing up on a lot of my friends, much more laissez faire about it. And back in the day when there was no mobile phones, if you said you were going to go somewhere and you know you're waiting for 45 minutes for a mate who decides to rock up a bit later than that, that can be, it can be the, the cause of much tension, shall we say. And I remember disciplining my friends who took it with uh, a different amounts of, um, different, you know, they took it on the chin or they didn't, but I remember thinking no, but we agreed. We said that we'd be here at three 45 and it's now four 30. Why have you done this to me? You greatly, greatly aggrieved. What's Rachel's saying? Rachel? Um, cr go, I'm going to say is her name. She says that she works, um, better under pressure. What about you?

David Waumsley: 22:46 Yeah, uh, true. But maybe that I've mentioned to you earlier that it just scares me pressure now to avoid it all costs because I did work well on depression. I worked too long before and kind of lost the, I don't know, just lost what life was about by working well and doing too much work. So now I'm really scared of pressure so I have to get the the right balance. But definitely, yeah. For me,

Nathan Wrigley: 23:15 I wonder, I wonder though if, if you know the pressure at some point, now obviously you and I are probably not ones to, to talk too much about real pressure because we both both got lives. We're freelance, everything seems to be all right. But you know, um, uh, a proper degree of pressure should we say, or a degree of pressure, which becomes debilitating I suppose is the exact opposite. You know, it'll cause you to sort of shut down and be on able to move. So whilst pressure can, can be a good thing, I'm a manageable amount of pressure, which is, I expect what Rachel's talking about. You know, there's something in the distance and the time pressure is working against me or this, whatever it might be that that motivates you. I think the opposite is also true in that too much pressure completely. Debilitates you and makes you unable to, to work, you know, and, and, and get started and pick out the important tasks and have perspective. So I think that works works possibly in, in all sorts of ways.

David Waumsley: 24:16 Yeah, absolutely. I think that, yeah, money pressure if you're doing your work is a really tricky one to, to work to. Is it because then your focus goes off the work, particularly you, you're just fearful you're rather than fit in under pressure. But I think, I know that there's a certain amount of pressure that used to be good for me for work. It was like they were like challenges in that pressure. It was almost like I was set challenges. They came with a certain amount of pressure to deliver. I could have easily failed and it would have been okay, but that kind of pressure made me want to do more.

Nathan Wrigley: 24:50 No. Yeah, no, I understand. I think this is, this is a really difficult one actually. The whole pressure thing because it's probably at the root of a lot of what we're talking about and it does very much depend on whether that, that, that pressure is overwhelming or as you just described it, if it's a challenge now, challenging pressure can be fun county, you know, it's just, yeah, we've got this thing to do and I'm sure I can do it as opposed to, you know, your boss is being completely unreasonable and giving you far too many things to do and expecting you to do it by tomorrow and uh, that pressure is, is, is awful.

David Waumsley: 25:23 Yeah. I see another point on it here that I really like because it's so true probably of everybody as well. But Matthew Grant, it's wall and above of how they seem to get fixated on the one prod. That project at that is least urgent and bless us so much. Do I do that?

Nathan Wrigley: 25:42 Well, you made a, you made a nice comment earlier before we started recording about, um, you know, w w when you were working as a student and a and how that worked out. You should share that cause I think that's good.

David Waumsley: 25:53 Yeah. Well I'm always reminded of the fact that when I had to get my final dissertation in the uni, that was the time that my flattered never been cleaner, excuse me, of white voters again. But you know, just found all of these little tasks to do that was so urgent. And you, you shared something as well, you should share that as well.

Nathan Wrigley: 26:13 It's not a personal story, but it was a story. I do remember there was, there's a comedian in the UK who's still with us, I believe he's probably getting on a bit now, Ben Elton. And, uh, and he was, he was doing his comedy routine and it was about this exact thing, you know, the pressure of, of getting something done as a student handing in an essay or whatever it might've been. And he said that, uh, you know, that that article about the Queen Mother suddenly became absolutely essential reading. Whereas the task which actually needed be done was not so much. And so for you it's the exact same thing, you know, tidy in the flat, getting the work done. Which should I do, oh, I don't know what, I'll just just do five minutes of tidying up. And I suppose that must come from like the desire to do the task, whether or not you're enjoying it, but also you know, how achievable that task is. And maybe going back to what we were talking about a minute ago about the, the sort of anxiety of the pressure involved, all of those things probably are a cocktail of whether you can get started, but I'm sure all of us can identify with this thing of finding a thousand little jobs to do as opposed to the one really quite important job which needs to, and I bet we've all done that over and over again.

David Waumsley: 27:29 Yeah. And we, you know, we were talking before about how this is, this is a tricky one, but I'd love to know if there's folks who are listening who are raised in the east rather than the West because I think, you know, when you do that, you take something less important. It's because you feel like you want to achieve something. So you're doing some work. So you know, the West is very much time is money, isn't it? So you've got that connection together so you feel like you want to have done something with your time that's productive, but you might not be feeling it for the big job. And I just wonder if it's diff, if that's just a, a western hang up to work like that.

Nathan Wrigley: 28:08 Yeah, I really don't know. I mean, presumably, um, there's varying degrees of that, you know, the cultural significance of getting work done in, in different countries. I mean, obviously you will have more experience of that than I have because you live in different countries quite, quite a lot of the time. But I guess you're not working in offices, so having an insight into that. But it would be interesting if there's anybody listening to this who is not from in inverted commerce of the West and they've got an a, you know, if, if you, if none of this speaks to you and you're thinking, well they aren't about the sis, this is bizarre. We have such a different approach than you do. I'd be really interested to know because I'm, you know, I'm sure there's something at play culturally.

David Waumsley: 28:52 Yeah, I think so. I think, you know, I offer, I've always known it and I can see it in action and I've changed a little bit. We've been out in the eastern, particularly in India, that in me, we know that time is often considered as more of an imperialists concept. Something to kind of work against and, and work more on kind of families. You are mentioned in this as well about working together that way and you don't, you don't put everything to a time in that way. You give the time that's needed to the people that you're with, which is entirely different, isn't it? From the West. Yeah. And, you know, it just makes me think, well, maybe all of our anxieties around this efficiency thing, which we're obsessed with in the west, using our time effectively and making more money, you know?

Nathan Wrigley: 29:38 Yeah. Yeah. And I wonder, I wonder, there is something in there, I'm sure, I'm sure there is. I'm sure there's some component of that, you know, the way that you've been, um, brought up the way that you've been raised, the culture, the society that you live in and so on. But I don't really have a great deal of insight into that. So I'd be, I genuinely would be really interested to know, you know, if the way that you manage your tasks, your work, your environment, whatever is, is significantly influenced by the culture that you, that you live in. Yeah. Um, other, have we missed any of those comments out? Laurie Laurie book of it said, um, chic, she didn't really want to pick any of my three options because um, for her, the, the, the actual task itself. Now we have mentioned this already. I suppose the actual task itself create the, whether she wants to get it done or whether she can stick at it or not. And I'm, I'm sure that's true. I'm sure that's true. Just about everybody you pick and choose the tasks. Um, I just wonder if I'm on the end of the spectrum here, you know, and once I've started something, for some reason that becomes important, whereas maybe not. So for other people different, we're all different. And then you've re you've written out in our show notes, you've written out some things that you, you believe may be universal. Should we go through those because they're interesting.

David Waumsley: 30:51 Yeah. Well the first one was just that I think we probably all feel that we wasted too much time and not prioritized our task because just the thing that was mentioned in earlier, but this is what I'd like to be challenged, you know, the time is money kind of idea. So I think that's what puts us on those pressure. I'd be really interested to see if people don't add these anxieties, maybe I wonder to use them.

Nathan Wrigley: 31:12 I wonder if there's literally anybody who feels that they manage their time amazingly effectively. You know, initially looks at themselves, stares at themselves, really introspectively and said, no, I'm really good at it. I'm excellent at managing my time. I have a real great balance on the, the, the importance which, which tests are important when to stop work and all of that. Um, I don't know. Maybe there are people who have that, that feeling, but clearly it's not me or you.

David Waumsley: 31:42 Well, I guess the second point I actually put down here is that I think at some point we all think we have a system that nails it until we revert back to number one, which is the feeling we don't do enough. You know, I just think we have these moments when we think we've got something, don't we? That's got to work. You know,

Nathan Wrigley: 31:59 I have fleeting glimpses of being very efficient and managing my tasks really well, you know, and getting to the end of a particular day thinking, oh yeah, that went really well. Everything that I sort of decided I was going to do a wrote down that I was going to do whatever your system is. I achieved it and, and I feel very good about myself. And then the next day I tried to replicate it and it doesn't

David Waumsley: 32:23 book. [inaudible] the next one I put was the balance of easy and hard tasks and that we probably need the easy task to feel that we're doing something without too much pain. Like a shame you again with your loading up of all plugins

Nathan Wrigley: 32:40 individually to a new build. Yes, yes. Sorry, sorry. Yeah, I know that this is, this is appalling to absolutely everybody, but that's what I do. Um, you know, you, you mentioned that and I love what you said about that cause it was, that opened my eyes really. You said Gut, um, that it's like some of the other things you do in life, which you repeat, which we enjoy doing. Yeah. So just to give context, when I start a new build, I always start it from scratch and I go to WordPress.org and I doubt this again, forgive me. I know everybody thinks this is ridiculous. Go to WordPress.org, download the tar ball on tar. It, um, you know, uh, log in, set up the usernames and passwords, delete the sample posts and whatnot. Set up the blog in all the stuff that everybody knows that he's doing.

Nathan Wrigley: 33:30 And I do it all and I do it manually and I rather enjoy it. And, and I think it's the analogy that I made was, it's a bit like why do you go back to the, I dunno, the same restaurant. You, you don't go back because it's different. You know, you go back to the same restaurant and you know, we've all done it. We eat the same plate of food that we had last time we went because you enjoyed it. And there is a simple pleasure for me. I can't explain it. I just like repetitive tasks. I suppose there's some pleasure in the repetitive nature of that task. And I, I quite enjoy it. Sadly.

Nathan Wrigley: 34:07 No, there is something that we, we, we do like repetition. Uh, you know, it's uh, we like rocking. We rock babies, don't we Kinda, we like these patterns. Yeah. You think of the amount of things that you repeat on a daily basis. It's probably extraordinary, you know, just, just to the, I don't know, the routine of getting dressed. I expect there's, uh, a certain routine in the way that you do that and the way that you prepare your food and the places that you put things in the house. So there's just repetition all over your life. And unless you're like supremely chaotic, in which case maybe there's non, but that is a repetitive task. I rather enjoy it. I kind of get some sort of Cathartic pleasure from doing all those things and I know it's not efficient. I realized that it's terribly inefficient, but it only takes me 15 minutes and I'd like it.

Nathan Wrigley: 34:52 So there. Yeah. Yeah. No, and I, I kinda like what you said about it cause it just reminds you that we, we got to enjoy the work and um, you know, we've got to be healthy with it. So why not, you know, we are obsessed, aren't we with efficiency or is it really a conversation like this brings that out. You know, it doesn't really occur to me and my daily life that th this, the society and the culture that I live in is obsessed with efficiency. But having a chat like this with you kind of really does bring it out and make me feel yes we are. And sometimes efficiency has to be replaced with other things and I don't know what those other things are, but things like compassion, empathy, relaxation, downtime, whatever it might be. You, I think you need aspects of those and efficient efficiency is all that we've got. Then life feels a bit, um, like an Auto Marta. It just feels like everything is robotic and that's probably not healthy for us.

David Waumsley: 35:52 Yeah, absolutely do the point at that one was easy task we pulled in, did a combination of that and harder tasks, which I wrote. It's a stupid what I wrote. They would stop the boredom of their existence, but really just to feel like we've really moved on and done something, accomplish something. We need something hard, don't we? That challenges us. Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 36:11 I mean I, I'm, I'm sure that's true. You know, it was a very young age that I decided that I didn't want to do a job, which was ultimately repetitive. I know we just talked about the pleasure in repetitive tasks, but I think probably that's an escape from the non repetitive stuff that we've got to do all the time. And you know, I decided early that I was going to try quite hard at school so that I didn't end up in a job where there was no variation and everyday was identical to the last one. Um, and I think you're right. I think it is nice to, to have things which aren't, um, repetitive as well to know generally have I mentioned

David Waumsley: 36:50 before about, I think he's called Daniel Pink. He does a book. I think it's on motivation. And he did lots of research. He advises companies because you know, his works kind of found out that really money wasn't an incentive to work beyond. But yeah, beyond kind of a rudimentary jobs, you know, what people needed all the time was to feel that they were, had some kind of control over their work, but that they were challenging themselves and learning something new. They needed that in their work. And this seemed to go across the board. So it seemed to be a universal, again, probably you was only dealing with a western sample of people, but uh, it's interesting. I think it's Daniel Pink. Really interesting work. Just that money doesn't come into it. People need these challenges. Yeah. Autonomy.

Nathan Wrigley: 37:40 I can't really speak to the psychology of that or the, you know, the, the data that backs any of that up. But that feels right to me. It feels, it does feel nice when you have learned something. I was saying to you earlier before we recorded this that I don't really feel these days that I'm on a, I'm on a massive, purposeful journey to learn a load of new stuff when I, you know, go back 20 years and I was, I was always consuming new things and I was always keen to keep up with the latest thing. And I think now that I've reached a certain age and, you know, the, um, the arthritis has begun to set in and so on and so forth, less of that, I don't feel the, the importance of learning quite so much, but I do enjoy it when I have figured something out and I've, I've learned something new, but I'm not buying the books. I'm not signing up for the, you know, complex courses on how to do this, that and the other any more, not so much anyway. Yeah. But

David Waumsley: 38:35 I challenge that a little bit because you're doing a lot of new things, but you're just, you're not needing a book to do them. Yeah. I think that's true. Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 38:45 There's a lot of new things in my life. You know, podcasting was quite new to me and yeah, I'm all of those kinds of things and, and you know, managing a podcast and trying to grow it and those kinds of things. But I think the learning there is more osmosis than it is a bookish. So I don't find myself reading articles about how to do this. I just go through it myself and try to figure it out, um, successfully or otherwise and, and so, yeah, definitely there's learning going on and, but I don't go out and sort of study it. I don't even know if there's a place where you can study things like podcasting or things like that. And probably there is, but I, I don't know about it. Yeah, no. Do you, do you still like handcuff to learn new things? Do you go out and sign up for courses and whatnot?

David Waumsley: 39:35 No, it's really interesting. Just not for long, long time. And then when I did, and they tended to be really short courses though, or bio or very short books, that would just teach me one particular thing. But then you know, I say this, but when you think about it, there's so much free stuff that there's always an article that I feel I need to re, yeah, so I don't really know.

Nathan Wrigley: 39:56 But also interestingly you put out content and although you may not regard it as you know, like mind mind bendingly difficult to learn, you are, you're constantly at the cutting edge of let's say for example beaverbuilder, you're always putting out tutorials so that people can learn from your experience. So in some way you are, you are interested in the process of learning or maybe more teaching.

David Waumsley: 40:20 Yeah, that's interesting because everything that I've put out that's gone with videos really is come out of the fact that I've needed to learn that thing. So I then turn it into a video of what I've just learned. So that's, that's how it's worked. So I guess there's a document of, it's my videos are slowed down, so it probably shows you that my learning is slowed down as well, but it's the arthritis setting in there was a point, actually we moved on a bit. But going back to what I thought was key behind all the tasks was having purpose. Because I'm, I must say I'm having a bit of a break in a way from doing lots of work and I've lost my way a little bit in terms of getting tests done and I get annoyed with myself. But I think it's just because of the fact that earlier I had a real vision and overall purpose of why I was doing tasks. So they were working even if they were tedious that we're working towards something. So they were manageable. Now while I'm changing things, I'm, I'm struggling with tasks.

Nathan Wrigley: 41:20 I think this is truly important, you know? Um, well for a lot of people, you know, whether there's an overall aim, a target, something in life that you're aiming for, and it might be a financial thing, you know, you need to grow the, to buy the house, or it might be, you know, you need to finish this product so that you can get it out there or whatever it is. I'm sure that's enormously important. And obviously in your case, things have been changed around a little bit so that that purpose has been sort of redefined or lost temporarily or whatever it is. Um, yeah, so I, you know, I think tasks become more difficult to justify if you can't see where they're going and what the, what the point is. And I actually think that this, this speaks to a lot of people's frustration with their work.

Nathan Wrigley: 42:05 They can't see the point in it. And if you can't really see the point in it, sure enough, that's fine. There's a significant proportion of the population I'm sure who will happily do the work just because the purpose is the cash, you know, the pay slip at the end of the month and that's fine. That's why I'm doing it. I'm not really interested in, in its deeper purpose, but I think, I think it is good to have a handle on that and to know why you're doing things, to have a goal and all of those kinds of things. But again, me and you weren't, we're not probably not the best, best to talk to, to talk about that, but I think it's important. And I'm sure there's some sort of deep psychological reason for that again, but I don't know what it is.

David Waumsley: 42:44 Yeah. I mean that everybody, I mean, all the efficiency people we'll talk about that kind of need to have an aim or goal, which almost when somebody says something like that kind of puts me off setting one. But, um, but I did, I, I remember in life and I, this was key when I needed to leave my job and move around the world and stuff and I needed to do this, you know, made websites for living. I knew I wasn't going to have enough money, but we managed to kind of inconvenience ourselves all the time to save him money because we had this vision of as being somewhere else in the sun at that. And it really helped. Um, and everything that we needed to do that was a bit painful to save money, just turned into a game was that goal. Right. So the whole outlook to it. So I do think it's really quite important isn't it? If you can kind of turn boring tasks into something that you can be see as just part of a game or a challenge. Yeah, we like challenges towards that bigger aim,

Nathan Wrigley: 43:40 get gamification of things. Yeah. I think this is an area where I have, there are certain jobs I think which would have always been closed off to me because of this purpose reason, um, certain jobs that I didn't, so this is going back to me being a kid again and thinking about what I wanted to do. There were just certain things that I thought I, I really don't want to ever be involved in that because I, I just don't see the point in it. Um, I can't see that, you know, forgive me, selling dog food or something would not be, that wouldn't be a purposeful enough. So I ruled those things out. So I think, I think that one as you so rightly made it bold on our, on our show notes is a, is really important.

David Waumsley: 44:21 Um, yeah. So, oh, we're getting close to the end. Shoot that there are a few tasks we would touch in on that like could trip us up. I did fairly quick. Yeah. Yeah. So learning tasks, we need to do some learning and I just wonder, that's a tricky one because we kind of do on, on the hoof. I do anyway, but I just wonder if people or anybody does actually set time aside for that. I'll tell you one thing that, this is the thing about courses. You said, do you do them the really good courses out there that I'd need to invest money and my time in, I put off because it's too big a time and I think I should be doing something else. Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 44:57 Yup. I don't, like I said, I, I've kind of stopped allocating time a great deal of time in my life to, um, to learn things. No, I, I've, I've kind of stopped. But, um, I think if you're, um, if you're trying to go from a to B, trying to change things up a little bit, I think it's important to, to make time for those, the task of learning very important. It just, I don't feel that I need to learn anything again. Excuse me. That's not what I meant to say. It kind of feels like there's nothing that I want to learn at the moment. So that's why that's been put off. But in the past, like I said, I would consume loads of that stuff.

David Waumsley: 45:36 Yeah, yeah. No, I can imagine that getting in the way though, learning when you know, you, I guess, you know, you're going to take on certain amounts, jobs or something or expand yourself, then you probably, you know, let's say needs some java soup skills that you don't have and you know, you're going to have to put a load of time aside and I can see the anxiety. I've felt that before the anxiety building up of the fact that actually I need to allocate some time for a, an inner task. So I don't do it.

Nathan Wrigley: 46:02 No, no. Well yeah, you go. Interesting. So what's this next one you've got, you've got a new products. What were you meaning by that?

David Waumsley: 46:09 Just the fact that there's always something that we, I guess should be looking at because those things are always changing. There's always ways to extend and make our business better. So we need to put some time aside to look at the new stuff that's coming out. But yeah, that's it. Just one of the, you know, I, cause we struggled with this. Don't wait cause it's again, shiny objects. We talked about this before, should we be calendarizing this kind of thing. Is that a word? Yeah. Oh yeah. So literally

Nathan Wrigley: 46:35 blocking off space in the week two. Well a the first one, learn new things, tasks of learning, new, new information, new procedures, whatever. But also spend, put actual calendar time aside for exploring new word pressy in this case products. Yeah. No I would, it wouldn't have occurred to me to set time aside to do that. But that's really interesting because I expect that if we all added up our combined time frittered away looking at this stuff, we'd probably be appalled. But again, it gets back to the efficiency thing that we're so obsessed with. Uh, you know, maybe that maybe that's a meaningful frittering of time as opposed to a wasteful time.

David Waumsley: 47:18 Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And of course, where we bet to skip over this one quickly, this, the social network inside of life isn't there in our business. We need to do a bit of that and I don't know whether that's business time as task, whether people set that as it or whether it's they consider it as downtime. Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 47:34 we're all on a different journey there, aren't we? Some of us have, yeah. Like really need to be involved in social networks or we love it or we're grappling with the whole, I am overusing, this city's wasting my time that I could be doing more productive things and you're lonely. I guess we'll all know where we're, where we are and what levels of guilt we need to feel about that.

David Waumsley: 47:56 Yeah. I'm guessing you're good with this next one. The other thing that's easy to ignore as tasks is um, money stuff. Boring money stuff. Well, just, just making sure that you've got the money in from clients who over you or that your just keeping your accounts.

Nathan Wrigley: 48:11 Oh, I see. Yeah. The year, that kind of stuff. Yeah, that kind of stuff. I've pretty much got dialed in. My procedures work for me and you know, following up doesn't happen too often. I usually get paid so I'm not wasting a lot of time. I've got, you know, I've got SaaS products and I've got um, self hosted products which take care of that side of stuff for me. And, and um, and with this new advent of Internet, sorry, app based banking, that makes it even easier on my, uh, for me. So yeah, that, that sort of stuff. I'm not really not really worrying about too much.

David Waumsley: 48:45 There was a guy in one of the other groups who, um, the, it just shared how much money he realized he'd kind of lost through not chasing up what clients owed them. I mean it was more than I was earning in a year. I'm thinking about half a year. It was like, wow. Yeah, he's just like my brother who's tell where this kind of stuff. So engrossed in the tasks that you need to do on a daily basis in running his business. He really nearly tripped himself up and

Nathan Wrigley: 49:13 just went on to follow up the Monday. No, I don't have, I'm not overwhelmed with the number of financial leads that I need to keep my hands on. It's just not that many. So it's easy. Rarely, and I've got it all on one screen if you like. So yeah, there's nothing but I can imagine it would and that's why we employ accountants and that's why we have a, you know, payroll staff and all that kind of stuff, isn't it? Because those tasks simply can't be managed at scale by one person.

David Waumsley: 49:41 Yeah, absolutely. I don't know, just other tests that I, again, that thrown it. We've got so many things to do. So customer, customer service stuff, you know, following up on old customers, checking that they're okay. These are all things that we end up doing these days, particularly when we have care plans and stuff, which you can easily get skipped and uh, and just genuinely looking into the future of our industry. Um, just keeping our eye out on the aim of our business. That's something that we all also need to find tune. It's a task isn't it? In a way of some. Yeah. Yeah. I know what

Nathan Wrigley: 50:12 you mean. You could spend, spend your whole life doing the customer service thing and worrying about the future of the industry. There's, you know, it just suppose at some point you've just got to decide which parts of the calendar it's going to occupy. And by that I mean how time you're going to actually use on it. But, uh, not something I've got a great deal of time, time for shall we say. By the time you look into this, you get overwhelmed and start asking the question, which was, I was, oh, we ever happy with the tasks that we manage? Well, pretty clearly the answer for both you and I is a big fat no, isn't it? With where we think with do we know we're right with the way we manage some of it and hopeless of the way we manage much of it, but we're happy.

Nathan Wrigley: 50:55 Yeah, yeah, yeah, I think so. I think, I think happiness is an important measure of all of this stuff and if the tasks are getting you down, maybe it's time to rethink, so it's time to say good night, Gracie. Yes. Good. Good night, Gracie. Thank you for listening. Well, I really hope that you enjoyed that. Perhaps you've got something out of it. If you did, please head over to either the Facebook group or the comment section on the post on the WordPress website and let us know what your thoughts were. Maybe you agree, maybe you disagree, maybe some of that rung a bell and you thought, yeah, I approach my tasks in exactly the same way as you. Either way, I hope that you enjoyed it. The WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by WP and UP one in four of us will be directly affected by mental health related illness, WP and UP supports and promotes positive mental health within the WordPress community. This is achieved through mentorship, events, training and counseling. Please help enable WP and UP by visiting WP and UP.org forward slash. Give. Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 52:06 Okay. Perhaps we'll see you next Thursday for another podcast. Perhaps we'll see you on Monday. There's two things that we do on a Monday. The first one is that we do a, well, I put out the audio WordPress news from the previous week that comes out very early in the morning in the UK, but also at 2:00 PM UK time in the Facebook group, so that's w p [inaudible] dot com forward slash Facebook. We get together with some special guests from our community and we talk about that WordPress and use live, and you can join in and comment with us and make your opinions felt right. There is nothing else for me to say except Leo Mendel. Here is some short, cheesy music

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