Focus, Scission

Five Favourite Time Savers

So, I got a little feedback from that five favourite timewaster’s post. Basically it went like this: okay smart guy, anyone can list what makes them waste time. What do you do that actually works? Or do you just sit around all day trying to think of what to put up on the blog? (Of course not.)

Well. The thing is that for me, it is a bag of tricks, and I have to pull out several and hope that one works for me. But from that bag, I present herewith my five favourite ways to get moving.

1. The 25-5 rule. With a timer. The 25-5 rule is described here — read the last section, but basically it means work for 25 minutes then stop for five minutes, and repeat. I find that I can work in short bursts when I know there’s an end in sight. So when I know that I’ll be done in 25 minutes, I fell less daunted by the work. The five minute break is long enough to rest the brain, but too short to get into anything else. When I use a timer, I turn it around, stop watching the clock and focus on working until the alarm goes off. This one is number one by a longshot for me.

2. Cleaning off my desk. I’m not one to order people to clean up their desks. I probably lean towards the camp that says a messy desk is the sign of a creative mind. But sometimes putting things in the right place can get that mind to focus, and that always helps get me started. Here are some tips for cleaning up your desk, though probably more than I would ever do…

3. Making a list. But only one. And a really short one. To-do lists are great, but if they get too long, they just depress me. I try to keep my list to about three items, and add to it as I cross one or two off. It makes things so much easier to achieve!

4. Step away from the computer. Or any electronics for that matter. But the computer and the TV are the worst. I can’t seem to run a computer without having several programs and several windows in each program opened up. So it’s best just to walk away, do whatever work I have to do away from the computer and only do the computer work when I’ve done everything else. This sometimes means writing on paper, yes.

5. Um, well, daydreaming. Taking a few minutes (like those 5 minutes in the 25-minute rule) just to space out can be like a nice little vacation from the task at hand. In fact, when I focus on daydreaming, rather than just passively letting myself daydreaming, I find myself wanting to get back to work. I dunno, maybe it’s just me and my contrary nature.