My Secret Weapon
I have a secret weapon for getting more done, faster…
I want to share with you one of my secret weapons for time management. It’s this: a phone. And actually, it’s not just a phone, it’s a phone that has a stop watch on it. That little stop watch can help you get a lot of stuff done, faster than you ever would have thought.
Here’s how it works: take a job, or a task you want to make some progress on, pull out your stop watch and set the timer on it. Set the timer for 10 minutes or 15 minutes or even 60 minutes, but not much longer than that. And then, press start. Now between that time that you press start and that stop watch goes “ding” or buzzes or lets you know the time is up, you work your tail off at whatever that project is. You focus on that completely, no interruptions, no distractions and you’ll be amazed at how much work you can get done in a pretty short amount of time. That’s it: try it and watch what happens.
The reality is this will work great for just about any kind of task but I particularly find it helpful for the things I don’t want to do. I’m not big on cleaning, it’s just not something I enjoy, but I found if I use the stop watch and I set a time for myself even just 10 or 15 minutes and for that amount of time I just focus on getting the most amount of cleaning done in that room, or the garage, or the office, just go crazy and get the most amount done and when it goes “ding” I’m done. I’m not going to keep working, I’m done. I’ve gotten way more done than I ever would have imagined possible, and made way more progress.
Sometimes I actually keep going because I think “Wow, let me try that again” and I’ll add 5 or 10 more minutes and by the time I get done with that, often the job is completely done. Now the reason the works is the power of focus. Having a timer helps you focus in and put all your energy and all your attention on just one thing. And when you do that, that’s when you get the most done, you get it done the fastest and you actually get it done with the highest quality. It’s the same reason people get the most done at work the week before the go on vacation. They want to get everything wrapped up, they are focused they are working hard, so that when they leave they don’t have a bunch of things hanging over their head and they can enjoy their vacation. It’s the same thing, it’s just about the power of focus.
So try it sometime, try it with a task. And I would suggest that you don’t do it longer than an hour; two at the most, because you can’t really concentrate that long. Over time, if you keep doing it you will find your ability to concentrate will increase and you can do longer stretches. But after I do that, then I take a break I rest, take a walk, take a nap, whatever. Try it though, and let me know how it works, I suspect you will surprise yourself. Learning how to focus your attention and focus your energy is one of the secrets to peak performance and managing your time really well. So try it and watch what happens.