Playing Hooky Gets Work Done Faster

2015-06-17 SundialMy Achilles’ heel is time management. Never have been good at it, and I’m pretty sure it’ll always be the thorn in my side. I’m forever devising new time management techniques, which amount to some way to trick myself into doing tasks I don’t want to do. I’ll come up with a new strategy, which will work for anywhere between a week and a month, before I point a finger at myself and say, “Oh-ho-ho, I see what you’re doing!” And I slip back into aimlessly wandering through my work day.

On the bright side, I’ve devised a myriad of time management strategies – one or more of which may work for you guys. Today, I share the one that’s been working for the longest stretch so far – more than a month – and sounds like too much fun to be work.

It revolves around playing hooky.

The Strategy

I set up a series of timers on my phone. One goes off at the top of the hour, and the next goes off 45 minutes later. The rules of the game are that I have to work for 45 minutes – after which I can do whatever I want for 15 minutes.

Why It Works

1. The Last-Minute Marathon 

2015-06-17 Clock fleur de lisI do my best work at the last minute. It doesn’t matter if I have a whole month available to finish a project – it always gets done at the last minute. Not a very effective way to work.

But what if “the last minute” happened eight times a day?

In the rules of my game, I HAVE to get up from my desk and do something else (something fun!) for fifteen minutes. That means that the bottom of every hour usually finds me glancing at the clock and saying, “Holy cow! I only have 15 minutes left to finish this before my next break!”

It’s like putting “the last minute” on steroids.

2. Anti-Tunnel Vision 

2015-06-17 ClockPart of why I’m so bad at time management is that I get really bad tunnel vision. Whatever I’m working on becomes All-Important – even if it’s really a non-essential task, like getting carried away with images for a blog post.

When that alarm goes off and I have to leave my desk for 15 minutes, I find myself rising back to the surface, looking around, and asking, “What was I working on? How important is it? Is there something else I should be doing instead when I go back to my desk?”

3. All Work and No Play … 

2015-06-17 Clock Play TimeI quickly resent anything calling itself “work,” even if it’s something as fun as being a writer! If I anticipate spending the next three hours on a project, I’ll never want to sit down at my desk in the first place.

But if I only have to sit down for 45 minutes, after which I can do whatever I want – heck, I can handle that!

Like I said, this most recent time management strategy has been remarkably effective. We’ll see if it sticks around longer than the other strategies that have gone to the wayside. If so, I’ll develop a new one and pass that along as well! In the meantime, what are your favorite time management techniques?

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