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The Most Powerful Productivity Tool EVER

February 19, 2013 6 Comments

Screen shot 2013-02-19 at 9.35.28 AMYou have a goal clearly defined, a task list, and limited time.  Never happens, right?

Here’s how to bust a cap in your task list’s ass:

1.  Egg Timer:  Get one of those cheap, wind-up egg timers (should cost about $3).  You will need to hear the not-so-subtle tick tock, tick tock in between songs.  Wind it to the amount of time you have dedicated to completing your task and display it somewhere you can glance at it.  This is the equivalent of feeding your productive wiring a bit of crack.  I recommend dividing your productive time into 15-minute intervals.

2.  Graph Paper:  For a mid-size goal, say “produce $25,000 in extra income within 12 months” divide your graph cells by the amount of time you’ll need to dedicate.  I’d give this one 500 hours.  Count out your 20 x 25 grid.  For every hour you dedicate you’ll get the satisfaction of making a large “X” in one of the cells.  You’ll know exactly how much time you’ve spent doing dedicated work by the egg timer.  For a lighter weight goal, say “finish writing my term paper” adjust your grid down to maybe 10 hours.  Use the graph paper to attach notes or capture significant items needed to chart your course.

3.  Music:  This is all you, my friend.  I pick the type of music I’d like to run to, but maybe you’ll do better with something soothing.  I find that looping Golden Earring’s “Twilight Zone” makes me feel like I can mule kick procrastination in the balls.  This is up to you.

You cannot fake productivity.  If you try, you will waste 500 hours trying to figure out how to do it the easy way.  There is no easy way, so don’t even attempt it.  Achieving anything worthwhile takes a tremendous amount of discipline, failure, and plain ol’ work.

I have not received a single comment!  If you make the first comment, you will receive a huge, virtual bear hug and high five.  Thank you!



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About the Author:

My goals in life are to not have a job and to work my ass off. I give your choice of virtual high five, cyber hug, or electronic fist bump for meaningful interaction.

Comments (6)

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  1. snacks says:

    This is a good idea! I can use all the help i can get for task management. A coworker has two hour glass timers in her office. One is an hour and the other a half hour. She also uses them during meetings and kicks people out when the sand runs out. High fives coming at you!!

    • Patrick says:

      Well, well — Snacks, you are officially the FIRST comment provider on this here blog!! High fives and virtual hugs… Many thanks.

      When I was stationed aboard my second cutter in the Coast Guard, I had a Commanding Officer that had a timer that he set for 20 minutes. I was a department head, but still the junior person in the room, so always spoke last. It forced me to get out all of my information (often quite complex) in about 4 minutes. In other words, I always came prepared.

      The key for him, as it is here, is to actually follow it. When that timer went off, he would allow you to finish your sentence, then he was gone. I’m sure, like most people, you feel the sword dangling above your head when there’s a time limit. It focuses you in and gets your task done. I bet nobody bothers your coworker when that hour glass is turned over, too!!

      Again, thank you so much. You’ve now taken a seat in history.

  2. Jack says:

    Good ideas! Can’t tell you how many times and in different ways tried to manage my time better. When I do it always pays off. Then I get lazy about it and shift off to some other so called tracking or motivational way.

    Can’t stand meetings that start late, have no agenda, people drift in and out, ends late, and nothing really accomplished. Shoot me or just let me go home and be on my own clock.

    When I run a meeting I start on time and end on time and what’s this about an hour being the typical length of a meeting in most organizations? I’ve had productive meetings (or personal time working on something) that can take as little as 10 minutes or even less. I’ve been accused of being rude but I also been accused of actually getting stuff done! I’ll take the latter.

    The other part of the egg timer and tracking seems to me to be not accepting stuff that other people send your way that is not important to you. You only have so much time so you have to find ways to protect yourself from other people’s “stuff.” That is hard to do if you work in some sort of service position but it is essential.

    Thanks for the thoughts.

    • Patrick says:

      You must’ve been in the military. I like the Admiral’s “handlers” because they will straight up walk in and tell the O-6 briefer to wrap it up. Can’t stand open ended meetings that start down the road to nowhere.

      Jack, you get a virtual high five. See you when you get to Virginia!!

  3. Moses says:

    Fantastic idea on the egg timer. People always come up to me saying, “There’s NO WAY I can get this done!” when the boss man throws a deadline at them, but strangely enough, it always gets done.

    Just ran across your blog today, and I’m already learning much more than I did reading other blogs. Your “pay yourself first” idea is what I’ve been using to get out of my hole since college, and it’s proven to be the greatest tool ever.

    If it’s not there (just like time), you will reap the greatest rewards.

    You and Mr. Ramsey need to have a showdown.

    • Patrick says:

      Well, Right on Moses.

      Yeah, I can generally only do this with pulses of productive juice. But, it’s like a muscle that develops over time.

      Thanks for reading, and thanks for the comment.

      pat

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