Many days, I am able to go through my day and complete several different tasks. Other days my list feels heavier and I am overwhelmed, confused and stuck with my never-ending list of responsibilities that I can no longer procrastinate. I don’t know where to start, or get easily side-tracked and ultimately I end up with a longer list the next day.
On those days when I am dragging, I implement a system that helps me focus and knock out my tasks throughout the day. Not only does this equip me to daily success, I also get to end my day feeling accomplished and not guilty.
If this tool is too specific, then try and get up from your seat at least once every hour for a water refill, bathroom, etc. break. Your overall health will thank you.
Here is how it works:
Create your list of things that NEED to be completed by the end of the day.
Prioritize that list, in order of importance (or timing, for example a trip to the post office, etc.).
- Start your circle
You can start anywhere, but make sure to keep going around your circle in 20 minute chunks.
Example, I work at home. I love my part-time jobs, so often ‘that’ ends up being my FUN, while housework ends up being WORK.
Or, Work is Work, and Physical is Housework. Fun for me could be: a game on my phone, or watching a show.
Regardless of how your set up your wheel for that day, you want to be diligent with the 20-minute timer.
Why 20 Minutes?
15 minutes is too short to really spend quality time with a task.
30 minutes is too long, and more difficult to ‘break’ from.
Here are other tips for making this work:
- Set your timer for 20-minutes without fail.
- This will keep help you return to a task if you became side-tracked.
- This will also help you take a break from a task you don’t particularly like.
- Ignore the clock, it will remind you when it needs to. Keep your eyes on your task.
- You need to reward yourself.
- You will also have an immediately mini-goal to work towards.
- I have a collection of favorite soundtracks, orchestral and other pieces that play in the background when I am working.
- Walking to the bathroom
- Refilling your water bottle
You may grow tired, bored or frustrated with the first circle. Obviously, if you work away from home, you cannot be away from your desk for 20 minutes, every hour.
This is how I use the 2nd one:
I set my microwave timer, instead of my phone. Every 20 minutes I need to stop or get up and walk to the microwave to reset my timer. That few minutes is my physical break, which also resets my thinking and can often give me a different perspective.
What happens when I cannot stop at the timer?
If my task overflows into the next ‘task time’, I will keep going until the next timer goes off. That usually ends up being a better time to temporarily switch modes.
No pressure to STOP something, but you allow yourself 40 minutes instead to complete.