, 19 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
1/ What if, and hear me out, the most important factor when deciding which task to work on is...internet bandwidth
2/ GTD identified the four main “contexts” in which people work as time available, energy level, tools needed, and priority. But these are no longer the best filters to decide what to work on
3/ I look at my possible tasks and they practically all require a computer. And I have a mini computer (a smartphone) with me at all times, with constant high speed connectivity. But should I really be editing my book manuscript in the Starbucks line?
4/ We need new ways of filtering for what to work on next, now that you can potentially work on anything at any time. And I think even small variations in internet bandwidth/speed are a good candidate
5/ Let’s say there’s slow internet (cellular internet, some cafes), medium internet (most homes, most cafes, airports), and fast internet (office, coworking space, some homes). I’m not sure what these correspond to in mbps but you know what I mean
6/ With slow internet, I don’t even think about doing WordPress stuff, clearing email inbox, promoting stuff on social media, or uploading anything. These things require a lot of rapid clicks and/or fast speed. Attempting to do them will be frustrating and error prone
7/ BUT slow internet is great for consumption (only requiring a brief download) or composition (writing in Word or GDocs, which only requires a little bandwidth). It’s actually better than medium or fast internet at these things, because you can’t do much else
8/ With medium Internet, I can do more, but only one thing at a time. Dropbox syncing in background or uploading a YouTube video, for example, will slow down web browsing to slow internet levels, again creating frustration. So ironically medium Internet is best for focus
9/ Fast internet is a whole different beast. The bottleneck is no longer the connection, but your ability to make use of it. It actually makes sense to massively multitask because you CAN make progress on many fronts simultaneously
10/ You can sync Dropbox, download software updates, upload videos, publish blog posts, stream music, etc all at the same time. And that is actually the smart thing to do, because fast internet is rare. You can actually save a lot of time running these things in parallel
11/ But this ironically makes fast internet the worst for focus. There’s too many distractions (social media, news, games, messaging) just a split second away. The feedback loops between clicking and loading are so fast as to be addictive. Slow internet breaks these habits
12/ This phenomenon is greatly exaggerated when digital nomading, because internet is so unpredictable and varies so much. But I think it’s actually present everywhere. What if you matched each kind of task with precisely the right kind of bandwidth?
13/ You would never check email sitting at your desk, because that is a rare, high bandwidth situation that should be dedicated to creating new things. You’d never read articles or watch videos or anything else that can be done on a mobile device
14/ And the reverse is true. You’d never try to create new things on a mobile device, because that’s always going to be subpar. They’re not designed for that (yet)
15/ Imagine if you performed ALL your short, relatively easy, low bandwidth tasks in the random snippets of the day between other things, on your phone/tablet whenever possible, so that as soon as you sat at your computer you were ready to create something of real value
16/ Instead of sitting down and performing a bunch of random easy tasks, so that by the time you’re getting ready to take on something big, you’re out of time and energy. Which is like filling a jar with sand, so then the stones don’t fit in
17/ So next time you are trying to decide what to work on next, ask yourself, “What is the highest value thing I can do with my current bandwidth?” Considering not just internet bandwidth, but the bandwidth between you and your device
18/ If you choose something lower value than that, you’ll have wasted bandwidth capacity. Something of more value could have been created. But if you choose smthg too high, you’ll run up against bandwidth limitations and be frustrated and stymied. It’s a delicate balancing act
19/ I think bandwidth is going to be the next scarce, precious resource after attention. It’s the only resource that can’t be stockpiled. But it does compound, since bandwidth can be used to increase bandwidth. It facilitates sensing and reacting to the environment or others
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