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Productivity tip: Interstitial journalling

McKinley Valentine — 2 min read
Productivity tip: Interstitial journalling
Photo by Thought Catalog / Unsplash

The other thing advicey thing I read about is called 'interstitial journalling'. Interstitial means the spaces between places or tasks. The 15 seconds while a new Netflix episode loads. Airports, where you're not really in one country or the other yet.

The interstitial spaces in your day can massively derail you, if you're like me. You finish a task, you don't want to start the next one immediately without a transition, but you can't take a proper break because you're working, so you just look at twitter or the Guardian and now 45 minutes are gone and you're also maybe furious about the state of the world.

Interstitial journalling is a minute or two of journalling that you do in between tasks to help you clear the old task out of your head and re-focus on the new task. You have a running Word doc and you switch over, write the date or time, what task you just finished, and what you need to do next. So instead of knowing you need to email someone and switching over and then instead of sending the email you read the new emails that have arrived and then you're like 'that reminds me, when is my package arriving' and you find the email with the tracking number, and...

A huge amount of what to do with interstitial spaces is check our phones, and that's not necessarily that helpful because it's so, so unfocused - there are a million things that 'looking at your phone' can be.

So instead you switch to a Word doc: Finished writing intro to Whippet. Next, reply to Nat's email asking which sunscreen I use. Google the name of it because I can't remember it. Don't read reviews of other sunscreens I want to try.

It could be longer for a more complex task, but you get the idea. You probably need a transition task, but looking at your phone/email/facebook is a really high risk one.

This idea comes from Charles Chu.

This piece was originally published in The Whippet #31 – subscribe to get the next one in your inbox!

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