|I’ll do it on Monday|
|Written by Seb|
|Monday, 09 July 2012 06:33|
As Operations and Delivery manager at ThinkShield, I have a huge number of projects to keep an eye on and tasks to do.
Naturally there are ones I like and ones I… “don’t like quite as much”. I find it very easy to find an excuse to put these tasks off and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who does this.
I’ve tried a couple of tips and tricks over the years about handling this, that may help you too:
This is my favorite (and simplest) method and the diary is a permanent feature on my desk at our Ealing ThinkShield office.
Get an A4 diary, with each day split into 30 minute periods. Every morning, break your tasks down into those 30minute chunks and tick them off one-by-one throughout the day. Include occasional “breaks for tea”!
Sounds so simple, but this is a very powerful motivator and goal setter and always works for me when I’m at risk of having an un-productive day or getting sidetracked by rogue meetings.
I used to use this at ThinkShield for the really mind-numbing tasks such as contract writing and server configuration.
Similar to the diary, you pick a time period e.g. 25mins, set it going on an egg-timer and work until the time has elapsed. Rules are that you can’t do anything else (even answer the phone), during a “Pomodoro”, and you completely stop once each finishes for a 5 minute break.
The idea is as 25mins is perceived as a non-threatening time to do a task, it’s easy to get started on work and your brain gets a perceived reward each time you complete a Pomodoro.
I haven’t used it in a while, but found it really helped getting you started on anything you were putting off. Tim did give me odd looks when I occasionally had a ticking egg sitting on my desk, but there are free online timers if you prefer.
Made famous by Jerry Seinfeld, and part-time writers who needed to complete books by writing a little every day. People mainly use this for projects outside of work.
I find it particularly effective for long-term studying and (apparently), it’s useful for dieting, exercise plans and quitting smoking.
Print out a calendar with a square for each day.
Set a goal and choose the MINIMUM you want to spend on it each day e.g.
- "I will spend 10mins updating our website"
- "I will study Objective C for 15mins"
- "I will eat breakfast every day!"
Every day you achieve your MINIMUM goal, simply put a big cross on the day. After a couple of days you’ll build up a “Chain” of crosses and a funny thing happens… you start to get proud and protective of it! This feeling encourages you to keep the chain from breaking and hence continue with your goals (usually exceeding the minimum once you’ve earned your cross).
I’m pretty sure this was the only way I managed to get our office network sorted out and I’m currently using it to learn Chinese. Zai jian.