Timing For Productivity

My high school football strength and conditioning coach was very fond of yelling “ You got 30 seconds to run 100 yards” then he’d click his stop watch, which I’m convince he even wore to bed.  It never took me 30 seconds to run 100 yards but at the end of the 30 seconds, he’d yell it again!  I quickly learned that the faster I got to the end the more time I’d have to rest.

Increased Productivity

On the other hand were guys who chose to live and die by the slow and steady wins the race mentality.  These guys would just take 30 seconds to go north, then 30 seconds to go south, never stopping until the drill was over.

Whichever type of person you are, I’ve got an iPhone trick that will help you increase your productivity and keep you from wasting time on tasks that don’t matter.

  1. Set The Timer – The iPhone has a clock app preinstalled on it.  Open the clock and on the bottom right click timer.  Set the time to 5 minutes.  For an added bonus, use the iPhones multitask feature to jam to your favorite Pandora station while doing all this.
  2. Write your To Do List – On a piece of paper, or using the noteshelf app on your iPad (my preferred method) write down the most important tasks of the day.  In the example below I had 5 hours after lunch to finish my day, here is how I broke it down.
  3. Be Realisitc – if my coach had yelled out that we had 20 seconds to go 100 yards, we’d have all given up, 45 seconds and we’d have just trotted.  Set a time that is realist but my advice is to give a little more time than you think you’ll really need.
  4. Start the Timer – I leave Pandora in the background and focus on my timer.  I changed the setting on my phone so it doesn’t shut the screen off.  That time is right in front of me ticking away.  The closer I get to completing my task, the harder I work trying to finish as far ahead of the timer going off as possible.
  5. Score it Like a Golf Score – If I finish 5 minutes before the timer goes off, I add 5 minutes to the next task.  Then on the next task if it takes 3 minutes over the timer (use the stopwatch feature if this happens) and take the 3 minutes out of your extra 5 you had.  This means that whenever you want to take a break, you’ve got 2 minutes to do it, then it’s back to your next task.

Try to make as much time for yourself at the end of the day as you can.  If you’re office is flexible, head home early, take 30 minutes to read your favorite blog posts on www.jaysonfeltner.com (yes, self promoting plug here) or just take the extra time to play on Facebook since we all know that’s what you’ll do anyway

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