Carlson’s law is also called as “Law of homogeneous sequences” . This means continuous work takes less time and energy than when performed in several steps. This was invested by Sune Carlson, Swedish economist (1909-1999). Now when we read this it might look like no brainer. But I think we should give enough credit for this level of observation/research in those days.
I think this concept got more popularised/enhanced in the recent times with different names. One is “Batching”. Batching is same as doing all related tasks in one block of time. Latest and more populaized name is “Deep Work”. There can be some difference between these two. You can even think of Deep Work as an enhancement to Batching. You can batch all related tasks then do the Deep work. We discussed in earlier lessons about Deep Work – it is your ability to focus without distractions on a cognitively demanding task. Real challenge is to train your brain to be able to focus on longer hours in the distracted world. But this is where real value creation happens.
Carlson’s law is more from TASK PRODUCTIVITY and Deep Work is for MIND PRODUCTIVITY. When we combine these two then the real power of productivity can be achieved.
When you plan your tasks don’t simply create TO-DO list instead create batching and do them in the Deep work mode. When any task is done in several steps it will incur task switching cost. Hence it will take more time. Carlson’s law is essentially is taking about this.
Bottom line – Start to Finish. Get it done in one shot (as much as possible !!). See how much time you can save !!