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The Million Dollar Question

August 11th, 2011. Chiba, Japan.

A mix of confusion and awe as I step off the platform.

I must have made a mistake. But maybe a good mistake.

Birds caw and cicadas click gently, filling the warm afternoon air with sounds of nature. The train platform is open to the air and on the other side of the tracks is a high fence. Beyond it, a bicycle and walking path leading to a park.

Children are running around and playing in the park, but surprisingly quietly. Very Japanese.

Going Crazy In Multiple Projects? Fences. Build Fences.

If you work on multiple, unrelated projects, one of the biggest potential nightmares you'll see as you scale up is work flowing over into other work, blending together, getting mixed up, and otherwise ruining your ability to think without being stressed out. 

The answer? Build fences.

Clearly separate out different types of work.

Obviously, separating out completely different categories and unrelated projects makes sense, and is even necessary as volume increases. I used to have one email address that all my mail went through. It was easy for a while, but eventually work that was imminently crucially important got mixed in with casual whenever emails, got mixed in with bills to pay, and all sorts of things. I broke things into three discrete inboxes, and that helps. If you have too much email volume on things of varying importance, multiple email addresses by topic -- kept separate -- could be an answer.

Then, letting deals blend together is no good. I just recently created a "Deals" folder on my desktop, with subfolders with everything I'm working on. It's a godsend. All my files are in the right places. I used to do this much more ad hoc, and this is so much better. Actually, I created folders for every major campaign I have... and so far, I haven't had a single thing that doesn't belong in one of them.

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