Parallel Path Experiment Results and Winners Announcement

Results

Results are out. YAY!

The experiment is over now.

Time to share results.

Parallel Path Experiment Results

Parallel Path Experiment (PPE) proved to be more awesome than I expected. I discovered insights about how I can work and live better. More on that a little later.

[First the winner announcements:

Heartfelt congrats to Rahul Joshi who utilized PPE to learn Spanish and Anil Kuppa who got inspired to write on his blog. Rahul wins a Kindle and Anil a copy of “Choose Yourself” by one of his favorite authors. Also good luck to women in the tribe – Sheila McCann for her PPE in August and Jigyasa Laroiya for running her private PPE that is in works. Go for it ladies.]

As you would recall, my PPE started an effort to live the lifestyle of a person in a job or someone who has a significant responsibility – equivalent to a day job. This experiment emerged out of the idea I proposed in parallel path – that you can build your dream projects while working in a day job or while taking care of responsibilities as a mother.

The excuse people give – to not do it, is obvious – “I do not have enough time”.

For PPE, I decide to use my mornings and evenings over a 21 day period (July 8 – 28) to work on my dream projects and bigger goals. I wanted to be sure myself and to show people that what I proposed was workable.

I ended up using PPE to finish work on my upcoming blog post series (for first time entrepreneurs) here on MohitPawar.com, about how to start a business, also to find clarity about a new project scheduled to be launched in Jan 2014 and some work for my existing projects. Will share more details in a separate post soon.

I got most of it done on weekends. I utilise weekends well (not as much as I wanted) to finish writing 7,000 words and to edit about 10,000 words for 21 blogposts that I plan to post during next month. So PPE for me was a success. Bigger success were the insights and learnings that I will be able to utilize as I work to live my dreams going forward.

Here is what I learned during this experiment.

1. Single Tasking trumps Multi Tasking

I have talked about the benefits of single tasking before. This experiment confirmed that for me single tasking works much better that multi-tasking.

I am sure there are people who are good multi taskers. But I am not one of those.

For most of us, what we call multitasking is essentially single tasking – we just get out of one task and get into another. Think about it.

I get in and out of tasks during the day, and handle it well. But in my role as a creator I prefer to focus on task at hand – without any interruption for several hours.

2. Different Focus for Different Parts of Day Helps.

Because of PPE, I was forced to segment parts of my life; because i could only work on my dream projects, personal work in mornings/evenings or weekends.

Mornings are good for workouts (those who prefer evenings can do it then), reflection and writing, making plans, goals, creating vision documents, journaling, building foundation for your dreams.

Daytime for day job or doing the mundane but necessary work. Work that you need to do. Good if you get to learn something new in this part of the day. During PPE, I spent this time to do work that pays in short ters, to make new connections, to make and receive business calls ( I don’t take or make many phone calls related to business, and prefer emails and texts, but wherever it is important.) I am lucky that my day time work also provides me with opportunity to learn new things every day.

3. It is important to be able to Switch Off.

If you want to be at peace then you need boundaries, between different parts of your life.

You need a space which is personal. Where you can unwind. This is hard with constant streams of emails, texts, calls, social network updates. More so when you need not carry files and a briefcase to bring work home, like in old world. Your files and documents are with you all the time in your mobile device or your computer.

In such a scenario, it is important to be able to move from one space (work) to another (home) – without the thoughts from work moving with you to home or from home to work. This happens when you learn to switch off one stream of thoughts and get into another. Even better if you learn to find a quiet space between the two.

I do OK in this department, and I want to get better.

For me starting work or anything else that I love doing, is easy. Challenge is to stop in time.

I am learning 🙂

4. Avoid distractions.

This is important if you want to get anything significant done.

I am fairly good at avoiding distractions. These days I do most of my writing inside Google Docs, you need to be able to online to do that. Once you are online, it is easy for you to drift and surf and do nothing for hours and not get anything done. I faced this earlier on. Not so much now. I can get into a project and finish it without checking anything else.

But then there are days when you do mindless stuff. While writing this piece i got in and out of the doc about 10 times, to take a sneak peek at a NYtimes piece, to check on email, twitter, stats etc. But during the rewrite phase, I drifted only once.

So there are times when i slip and there are times when i don’t – i’d say i am at about 60% and will want to get to 80% and be ok with drifting 20% of the times.

By segmenting the day, I am able to do it easily.

This is something I would want to continue going forward.

5. You can do a lot on weekends.

I wrote 7,000 words and edited a good deal – over 3 weekends. This took care of my upcoming August series about starting a business. There is some editing to be done and some polishing needed. Guess i will be able to finish it in 2 days, may be over coming weekend.

Challenges I faced.

Early into my experiment, first five days or so – I felt that I was missing out on a lot of opportunities to do work that matters. I thought that by blocking my chance of working on my personal projects during the day, I am losing an opportunity to create more.

But this fear was short lived as I realized that being totally engrossed for a smaller time frame – not too small – we are talking hours not seconds – I am able to produce similar level of output. It may not be easy in the beginning, but as we continue to train our brain, it starts obeying our commands to work like this.

Initially I had to stretch myself a bit but then the way of the experiment became more productive for me. Something I wish to stick as I move on.

Here is what worked for me and can work for you.

  1. Batching works big time. Whether it is email (one of the biggest time sucks of most professionals), writing, calling friends and people who matter. Also for business calls (As shared earlier, I don’t do as many business calls as I do emails). But I love talking with friends and family. I mostly batch this. Helps me sail through and keeps my loved ones happy.

  2. I am at my best when I sleep early and wake up early. Even better when I work out in morning. There are people who work best at night. With due respect to them, I think most people can train themselves to be a part of “early to bed, early to rise” tribe. Give it a shot and decide for yourself.

  3. Quiet time, a good dose of it – brings out the best in me. It is important to find empty space between tasks to take a deep breath, smile and get going.

  4. Time with family gets me in the groove. Be close to those you love and who have selfless love for you – and you will do good.

  5. For some people it is their cell phone, for me it is my notebook – I feel incomplete without my notebook(s) – I am happy about this. So there are some addictions – you need not worry too much about and be cool 🙂

And if you love details, numbers and stuff like that – take a look here.

(I created details logs, only sharing summary here for those who care.)

Date

Wake Up Time

Time to Bed

Did I drift towards personal stuff

PPE related work done

July 8 (Mon)

7 am

Midnight

No

No

July 9 (Tue)

8.15 am

Midnight

No

Yes. Sent email related to dream project.

July 10 (Wed)

8 am

Midnight

No

Yes. Spent time thinking about a project TBL in Jan 2014

July 11 (Thu)

8 am

3.15 am. Was up watching sports on TV

No. One of the least productive days in PPE

No

July 12 (Fri)

8.15 am

11 pm

Yes. Twice checked personal emails

No

July 13 (Sat)

6.30 am

10 pm

Not Applicable (NA)

Yes. Updated newsletter drafts for a technology website I own.

July 14 (Sun)

9 am

11 pm

NA

Yes. Wrote mostly. About 2500 words.

July 15 – 20

8.30 am

Normally around midnight, 5 am on 21st July (intense days due to travel and chilling out a lot during night)

No.

No.

July 21 (Sun)

10.30 am

10 pm

NA

No.

July 22 (Mon)

7.30 am

11 pm

No

No

July 23 (Tue)

6.30 am

Midnight

No

No

July 24 (Wed)

7.30 am

11 pm

No

No

July 25 (Thu)

7.00 am

Midnight

No

No

July 26 (Fri)

8.30 am

Midnight

Yes. Twice

No

July 27 (Sat)

6.30 am

11 pm

N A

Yes. Wrote about 1000 words.

July 28 (Sunday)

7.30 am

Midnight

N A

Yes. Wrote about 1500 words.

My focus during this PPE was my upcoming series for 1st time entrepreneurs. I started with about 3000 words written already, and wrote 7000 words more. Not a great deal, but good enough to get about 21 posts ready with around 500 words each. Many of them are already edited and almost ready to live. So I am happy about what I achieved.

Thanks for following the experiment and congrats to the winners (notified by email already) and those who ran their own private PPEs.

Stay tuned for announcement about new series on entrepreneurship.

Photo by Fiona Shields

Comments

  1. Jigyasa

    Hi Mohit,

    The challenges look very familiar and in fact gives a sigh of relief that even if we are treading towards the ultimate aim of PPE – challenges are good.

    Learning which you have shared are awesome and a great take away, I am sure for all the readers. I agree Single tasking is way better as it betters the concentration, yes distractions are huge but even I am trying to get away with them, like you say a healthy 10 minutes on twitter, I feel the scheduling different focus can have a slot for these distractions and it really works well this way.

    Switching Off is necessary but I am trying to learn switch off between positive & negative thought flow! I am sure this would make life simpler 😉

    Weekends- as of now is a difficult to perform time in my case. The mind works that way, thanks to my work days at B’lore where weekends were ceremonious for lazing around! Need to think about it.

    Again a great post and yes, thanks for the good wishes! Looking forward to the upcoming series of 21 posts.

    Best

    Jigyasa

  2. Mohit Pawar

    Hi Jigyasa,

    Happy if you share how it goes for you once you are through phase one of doing it.

    As for chilled out weekends, i am all for it.. and it’s possible if we learn to spend our weekdays well 🙂

    Wishes are always there 🙂 excited to share the series.

    – mohit

  3. Sheila

    Hi Mohit,

    Congrats on the success of your PPE.
    21 posts ready to go is very impressive. Looking forward to getting my own PPE underway. Great tips!

    Cheers,

    Sheila

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