A couple of months ago, I gave a talk to a group of ladies as part of Superwomen in Switzerland. As entrepreneurs, there’s so many things we need to do. I have the feeling we all need to be superheroes to not only get things off the ground but to keep them moving too.
I’m a big believer in the multiple action plan – tackling things on many levels. I work with people on the subconscious level, helping people overcome procrastination. Yet, it’s important for people to take action as well.
I’d like to share some productivity tips I use. Let’s take an example where many people are familiar with when it comes to procrastination – tax returns. Somehow this task looms just as we finish the previous year’s one.
So how can superheroes bend time?
1) Parkinson’s Law – “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”
I like to see it as “A task fills the time you give it”
With my tax return example – the first thing I do is set an appointment with my accountant. This gives me an immediate deadline to work with. There is no way I will turn up to the accountant without having my accounts done. Then I know how much time I have to work with and start allocating it in my calendar.
This applies to many tasks. Let’s say you give yourself a week to get a newsletter out, it will take you a week to get the newsletter out. If you give yourself half a day, it will take you half a day. Of course we need to be realistic but you get the idea.
2) Pomodoro Technique *
I love this technique – especially when you want to get started on a task. Here’s the steps:-
1) First decide on a task (e.g. preparing receipts or entering data into tool)
2) Set a timer for 25 minutes. Focus with undivided attention on the task. Switch off all distractions – you’re not even allowed to go get a drink or go to the bathroom.
3) Set a timer for 5 minutes break. Get up. Get a drink. Pop outside for some fresh air. Whatever you want.
4) Repeat steps 2 and 3 above, giving yourself a longer break (15 – 30 minutes) after a few repetitions.
Over the years, I have often spent more time worrying about doing my tax returns than actually doing them. There’s always a sense of relief once they are finished. It also surprises me that it didn’t take as much time as I expected.
Combining Parkinson’s Law and the Pomodoro Technique have worked wonders for me. You’ll be amazed at how much work you can get done in a short period of time.
Even superheroes have times where they procrastinate. So, try out the techniques above and see how far you can bend time – happy tasking!
* time management technique developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s