Being productive and staying on top of things that need to be done is important to me. But I’ve never been as good at it as I’d like to be.
I’ve often tried to analyze why I’m not a “natural go-getter,” and have concluded there are multiple factors at play. All of which conspire together to sometimes hinder my efforts at being a more productive person.
Factors such as…
- Even though I eat healthy and exercise, I’m simply not genetically wired to be a super high energy, go-getter. Thus it’s always a been a bit of a challenge for me to be as productive as I want to be.
- I’m a natural “night-person” who, due to various responsibilities, is forced to live as a morning-person. Having to subsist on a sleep schedule which is almost the exact opposite of my natural circadian-rhythms wreaks havoc on my energy and motivation levels.
- As an introvert, I sometimes feel overwhelmed at the mere thought of tasks which involves intensive interpersonal interaction. Such as dealing with a customer service rep over a billing issue, or similar situations.
So there’s a lot of things working against me, in terms of being a productive human being and achieving my goals in life. Nonetheless, I do have a little trick up my sleeve that helps me cope with these challenges, and get more stuff done.
The Power of “10-Minute Blitzes”…How a simple stopwatch can put tasks into proper perspective, and help you get more stuff done
About 10 years ago, I came up with a technique that significantly improved my productivity levels, which I refer to as 10-minute blitzes.
The premise of 10-minute blitzes is simple.
So simple you’ll wonder why you didn’t already think of it yourself.
Let’s say hypothetically, for instance, you tend to procrastinate on cleaning your dirty dishes and kitchen after meals.
Why do you do that?
Maybe because the mere thought of the job feels somewhat overwhelming to you? Especially after a long, hard day at work.
Happens to the best of us, right?
Even if you’re a natural go-getter, who easily overcomes all obstacles in your work-life, you might feel like you’ve finally met your match when faced with a pile of filthy, greasy dishes.
But have no fear, for 10-minute blitz guy is here!
So, here’s what ya do.
Simply set an audible timer on some kind of stopwatch. Either digital or analog.
How long should you set the stopwatch for?
10-minutes of course.
Now, get your butt moving, and be amazed with yourself as you knock out that dishwashing and kitchen cleaning in less than 10-minutes.
Take a little self-congratulatory bow on a job fully completed.
Wow, what just happened there?
I’ll tell you what happened.
In the above hypothetical scenario (though probably a very real scenario for many), the 10-minute timer put that loathsome task into proper perspective. Almost like a “time clarification field” which overcame the “time distortion field” you were temporarily stuck in.
Yep, almost all of us can get stuck in counterproductive time distortion fields on occasion. Meaning we sometimes tend to greatly overestimate how long certain unpleasant jobs will actually take to complete. We’re especially vulnerable to this productivity-killing phenomenon when feeling tired and unmotivated.
But I’ve found that setting a 10-minute time limit on various tasks makes them feel much less overwhelming and time consuming. Even if I am feeling physically and mentally drained.
There’s something almost magical about putting a 10-minute limit on a task I’d normally put-off until “later.” Because even if a particular job does seem a bit overwhelming to me at a given moment, I can almost always muster up the mental and physical energy to give it at least 10 minutes.
Which helps me get a lot more stuff done, even though I probably tend to more easily feel overwhelmed by life’s demands than the average person.
And what’s really interesting, is that over half the time I apply this technique to a given task, I’m able to wrap it up in less than 10-minutes.
Other tasks are of course too big to be completed in 10 minutes, but I find I can usually at least make some decent headway on them within a single 10-minute blitz.
In fact, I’m sometimes so surprised by how much I was able to get done within a mere 10-minutes, that I go ahead and try to complete the job within one or two more 10-minute blitzes.
It becomes almost like a game to me. A fun challenge in a way.
But wait, there’s more! (In my best cheesy infomercial voice)
Getting stuff done frees up my mental energy
Staying on top of my responsibilities, with the help of strategic 10-minute blitzes, goes a long way towards freeing up my mental energy for other things.
When I’m not forced to maintain a “mental backlog” of uncompleted tasks in the back of my brain, I have more mental headroom for my family, for writing, and for life in general.
I could give lots more examples of how 10-minute blitzes have helped me to be less of a procrastinating slacker, but I’m confident you’ve grasped the concept by now.
I commend you for being such a fast learner.
I’m not saying 10-minute blitzes are a total panacea for improved productivity, but I find it really does help a lot.
So, if you sometimes (or more than sometimes) find yourself feeling overwhelmed by a looming task, try opening up a can of 10-minute blitz whoop-ass on it.
I think you’ll find it really helps put things into proper perspective, when you realize most jobs don’t take nearly as long as you might’ve thought.
Enjoy your new life as a productive, force of nature to be reckoned with. Or at least as somewhat less of a procrastinating slacker.