APH #15: Create a Sense of
don’t have time right now.”
According to Parkinson’s
Law, the time it takes to
complete a task directly correlates to
how much time you give it. If you have a three-week deadline to do something,
odds are you’ll be finishing up at the end of day #20. The end result is we’ll
often create the excuse that we can’t do something because there’s not enough
time. But, if you create a sense of urgency with every task, you’ll complete
projects faster and develop a larger capacity to get more done with the same
amount of time.
A great anti-procrastination habit
to develop is to live your life like a task is “due” the next
day. It doesn’t matter if have a week
to complete a project—make a habit of getting things done as quickly as humanly
possible. In other words, create a sense of urgency with every task.
There are two ways to do this:
Remember, a task will often take
as much time as you give it. So why not
challenge yourself to do it faster? If something normally takes a week to
complete, try to do it in five days. Make it a game to continuously push the
pace and break your personal records for accomplishing a task.
Follow this rule
even if others
create the deadline. Let’s say your boss sets a project deadline for October
1st. Try to get it
in by September 15th. Not only does
this help improve your overall job performance, it also gives you more time to
work on other important tasks.
Multi-tasking can be a dangerous
habit to follow. While you might think you’re
successfully doing two things at once, what you’re actually doing is giving half the effort to each task. (Check out this
Mashable infographic for more on this.) If you regularly multi-task, then you’re probably producing inferior work. The simplest
solution to this problematic habit is to develop the habit of “time-blocking”
The idea behind time-blocking is
to break apart your day into small pockets of work where you’re 100% focused on
a single task without any sort of
interruption. That means no checking email, Facebook, texting friends or
switching between projects. During that block of time you do that task and
My preferred time-blocking system
is the Pomodoro
technique, which was started
by Francesco Cirillo in the mid-1980s.
Cirillo found that you can maximize results by completely focusing on a task for
a short period of time and then using small breaks for energy renewal.
Here’s how it
*1. Create a list of tasks to be
completed, start with your daily MITs.
*2. Prioritize tasks in order of importance.
*3. Set a timer to 25 minutes.
*4. Work on the first task until the timer rings.
*5. Record the “Pomodoro” as a completed task.
*6. Take a short break of five minutes.
*7. Continue working through Pomodoros until you’ve completed the
*8. Repeat this process until you’ve completed the
*9. For every four Pomodoros (or Pomodori?), take a longer break of
15 to 30 minutes.
*10. Continue until you’ve gone through the important tasks for the
It takes awhile to acclimate to
the Pomodoro Technique, but when you’ve
done it long enough, you’ll find it’s easy to get into “the zone” the moment you
start a timer.
Overall, it’s important to create
a sense of urgency with everything you do. Your time is a limited resource, so you should develop the
habit of getting tasks completed quickly. Do this often enough and you’ll find
yourself with more time to focus on the fun things in life.