karl taylor

3 minute read

I’ve given myself a constraint for this post. I want to make sure that I finish it as quickly as possible, because the truth is that I’m a little bit behind on a laundry list of tasks, and I just found out I may need to squeeze one more thing into a week’end,’ that was already operating on a ticktock.

It’s given me the occasion to think a little more about all of the different ways of managing time.

One of the constant familiar refrains of advocates of such systems, is that really, when you get down to it the biggest burden to productivity isn’t actually available time, it’s available focus.

Focus doesn’t always feel intuitive. It’s all too easy to get swept up in the urgency of a moment, and forget that one of the most powerful ways to change something is through small and consistent efforts.

But it’s exhausting to always be doing small things.

It’s just too easy to forget how those little pieces stack up.

With a proper keyboard and a little bit of practice you can easily get to the place where you’re typing at about 100 wpm. With a little bit of effort and a mechanical keyboard, you can likely get to the place where the speed at which you type rivals the speed at which someone can read.

When we’re writing copy for a client, we actually measure this. With a suite of different tools and metrics, we can evaluate the performance of any given text or line and the likelihood it achieves a desired outcome. Some folks even test readability at grade level and try to work around certain word density metrics to achieve a given result.

One of the insights Medium shares fairly prominently is an estimated length of time required to read an article. This isn’t magic, there’s an old rough standard that suggests a reader can navigate about 125 words per minute.

There’s such a demand for real documentary content these days, that I can understand why a lot of people feel overwhelmed when it comes time to actually sit down and make something, but knowing that you can type almost as fast as someone else can read, is something I think that makes it a little bit easier to stomach.

That’s why I started this post with a constraint. I knew how long I had, and I knew what I wanted to say — so it wasn’t hard to work backwards and figure out how long it would take. From there, it was just a matter of actually doing the thing.

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