Everyone has their favorite productivity tools and techniques. Some people are into apps, fancy planners, or workflow programs.
All those things are awesome and I definitely use them, but do you really want to know the one tool that helps me buckle down and get things done?
The humble timer.
And no, that’s not an app called The Humble Timer. I mean the timer on my phone. Or an egg timer. Or the kitchen timer on my microwave.
It might sound too easy, but trust me, when that timer is running, my brain focuses like a laser and blasts through tasks like you wouldn’t believe.
How This Productivity Tool Helps Me Get Things Done
Think about it:
You’ve probably noticed that work expands to fill the time allotted for it. If you give yourself a week to do a project, it will take you a week. If you give yourself a day to finish, it will take a day.
It’s crazy how this happens. When we have more time, we find ourselves waffling around, playing with Slinkies at our desks, checking Facebook or email when we should be working, and doing a lot more messing around than if we’d given ourselves a tight deadline.
This is how the timer works for me.
If I have a task to do (like batch writing blog posts), I’ll set my timer for an hour or two and buckle down. I know that when that timer goes off, I’ll have to stop and move onto something else, so I have no choice but to focus and bust out those blog posts like there’s no tomorrow. So I do.
I use a timer for writing, housework, business tasks, you name it. And you better believe I have a timer running right this second while I’m writing this post!
The timer also helps me with hourly client work. Instead of starting my day with a to-do list for each client, I’ll chunk out my day into hours. I’ll set my timer for an hour or so to work on one client’s tasks before moving onto another. When I only have an hour, I immediately prioritize and get tasks done that need to happen that day.
This also helps me manage my client hours to make sure I get them all done during the month (because it’s not fun to end up with a pile of unfinished hours at the end of the month.)
Try switching from a to-do list mindset to a time-based mindset. Keep your tasks in one place (like Teamwork or Asana), set your timer, and get to work. You’ll be amazed by how much you can do!
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