You Can Have It All: How to Do Less to Learn More

This is Part 3 in a 3-part series on productivity. Part 1. Part 2

In Part 1 we discussed "backburner mode," the concept of focusing on a single area of personal improvement, then moving on to others while maintaining each of the previous areas.

In Part 2, we learned about the importance of narrowing your focus and organizing your priorities. 

Now comes the fun part: learning how to keep up old skills while you start learning new ones. 

After you have spent some time focusing on your frontburner, and the habits have had enough time to settle in (this will vary depending on what you're working on), determine the minimum amount of work you need to put into your skill in order to either keep it at the current level, or at least to keep it from significantly declining. Again, this will depend on what you're working on.

For example, if fitness is on my frontburner, as in when I have a bodybuilding competition around the corner, I might work out twice a day, 4 days a week. When I'm in the off-season, I use backburner mode, and work out 3 times a week to keep up my strength, but I don't expect huge gains. 

Fitness is coming up again to my frontburner, but in the meantime, I've started meditating and journaling, cracking through some books, and learned enough Cantonese to ask you out for dinner.  

It might take some experimentation to figure out how quickly your skills will decline. I know I feel great when I meditate for 30 minutes in the morning, but I'm not going to have that time in my schedule much longer. I know that if I can take five minutes before I start the rest of my morning routine, it still helps to keep me centered during the day, so that will be my new meditation habit quota as I inch closer to my next bikini contest. 

What are you working on? What do you have lined up? Leave a comment and share your daily/weekly rituals.