As I was trying to decide what to write about, I came across a new (to me) website called 43 Folders and found an “equation” that the creator of 43 Folders uses that’s just brilliant!
Here’s the equation – (10+2)*5
And here’s how it breaks down:
- You do 10 minutes worth of work (you don’t have to FINISH in 10 minutes, you just have to work!)
- You follow that with a two-minute break. Get some coffee, read a quick blog, update your Facebook status (no going down the rabbit-hole and getting sucked into Facebook, though).
- Rinse and repeat five times.
There! You’ve breezed through an hour’s worth of work! Congratulations! Now you should probably get up from your desk now and take a walk or something (remember, sitting all day isn’t good for you!)
If you’re like me, though, being able to focus for that 10-minute block can present a challenge. Why? Cell phone notifications, email notifications, instant message notifications, stacks of other work calling to me to be done!
So, take some time to prep and be ready to actually FOCUS!
- Clean your desk (and, while you’re at it, move that cell phone off of your desk, you can check it after you’ve completed your focused work sprint…the world won’t end. Really.)
- Set your priorities. Break large jobs down into chunks that you’ll be able to complete in 10 minutes.
- Schedule time to read email, return calls and answer instant messages. (Perhaps for a half hour between your hour-long sprints, you can spend 10 minutes on email, 10 minutes on phone related tasks and 10 minutes taking care of instant messages).
- If you’re able, delegate some of your non-critical tasks. What do you do every day that doesn’t actually require your expertise? Identify those things and delegate them!
- And, here’s a big one for many people… Schedule your social media time. Use a timer – when it goes off, you’re DONE and you need to get back to work.
Now you’ve cleared the deck and can get back to your tasks. Still having problems focusing?
- Write a list of the things you want to do on your breaks. That way you won’t go back to working and suddenly remember that you needed to play your turn in ‘Words with Friends’.
- Use color to your advantage – I am a huge fan of color coding and there are actual, scientific reasons why it can help.
- Find an “accountability buddy”. If you don’t have a boss or clients to be accountable to, find a colleague who will help keep you on track.
- Change your location. If you have the flexibility to do so, take your laptop or tablet somewhere else and work there for a while. Sometimes the change of scenery can be just the nudge you need.
Let me know how this works for you if you try it! (Schedule a time to make a comment!) Happy Increased Productivity!