Getting things done


Not Getting Things Done

One of the most soul destroying things in life is having a whole heap of things that need to be done, and then reaching the end of the day and realising that you have achieved nothing! On the other hand, one of the joys of life is have  whole heap of challenges to address and smashing your way through them!

Getting things don has a number of benefits:

  1. Less stress during the day
  2. Sense of achievement at the end of the day
  3. Better sleep!

The most interesting thing a find happens when I have productive days is that I sleep at lot more soundly at night. Again the opposite also applies: if I have a day at work where I allow jobs to stack up, my sleep will suffer. For example, I may dream about work, or just have more stressful dreams in general. Either way it means that I do not rest as well during the night.

A standard Case for me not getting things done.

Recently I had to carry out comprehensive research on the current A-Level Chemistry national curriculum. I knew that this would take days of work. So how did I first address this task? Answer: the wrong way!

I sat at my desk for hours each day working at about 30-40% maximum efficiency. Facebook and eBay were my main distractions. I was spending hours doing the ‘work’, however I was getting the work done but very slowly an missing out on other things that I wanted to be doing. And to meet my target I was having to ‘work’ just before I went to bed. This was having the following effects on my life:

  • Huge amounts of time wasted on unfulfilling things such as ebay and facebook
  • Effecting sleep due to looking at screens last thing at night
  • Missing out on social events, an thus feeling isolated
  • Boredom
  • General feeling of unsatisfiaction with the way things were going.

Here’s what I have come up with over the years to tackle this: 6 Minute Sprints!

6 Minute Sprints!

  1. Buy a digital countdown timer – either a physical one to go on your desk, or a program to go on your PC.
  2. Work in 6 minute sprints – every time you set the timer for 6 minutes you need to commit to not allowing yourself to get distracted. If you do get distracted – which you really shouldn’t as 6 minutes goes very fast when you’re working well – add another 2 of minutes to the timer to make up for it.
  3.  Once you’ve done your 6 minutes, record that you’ve done a sprint, and then decide whether to do another one or to rest.
  4. At the end of the first day, count up how many sprints you achieved and how much progress you have made. Use this to work out how many sprints are needed roughly per day to get the work done.
  5. Carry on doing the required number of sprints per day. You will find that actually you may only need to do 20 sprints to get the require work done. This is just 2 hours work per day. However, the 2 hours will be fast and focussed work. And you’ll feel much better for it!
  6. You may find that you are able to do double sprints each time without getting distracted. If this is the case, excellent – you will get your work done even faster!

Finally reward yourself. If you’ve done your required 25 sprints. Then do what you like doing: watch a film, go out for a drink (but not too many), make some nice food etc.

I will also cover the following in the future

Concentration Food

How to have Effective Break from Work

How to NOT get Distracted During Work


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