A Simple Productivity Trick
Last week, I was in one of those irritating places where I had lots of things on my to-do list that were urgent, and no desire to do any of them. I am a superstar productivity queen when I am doing something I want to do… less so, when it’s something I’m not excited about. I am drowning a little bit in 1099 hell (both logging them all for my accountant as they come in, and getting them out to all of the various contractors I work with for my blog). The boring, administrative stuff is where I really procrastinate, right up to a deadline.
Besides the age-old advice of doing the hardest thing first, setting timers is the thing that helps me most. My system is usually 30 minutes on, 30 minutes off. I set a timer for 30 minutes and tell myself I have to do the tedious task (logging 1099 forms, entering expenses into Quickbooks). When the timer goes off, two things happen.
The first, best-case scenario is that I don’t stop. After 30 minutes of doing the undesirable task, I’m often so in the groove that I want to keep going.
The second scenario is that I set a new timer for 30 minutes to do more desirable tasks (writing! working on blog posts (I wrote this during one of those breaks) replying to emails! chores! seriously, truly – anything else!!!). And after that 30 minute period I go back to 30 minutes of the hard thing. And so on and so forth, until the annoying stuff is finished with. It WORKS.
This is literally the only thing that helps me when I have something urgent that I just can’t motivate myself to do!
Curious: what’s your best productivity tip?
photo by Laura Saur.