Using a Stopwatch to Get Out of Being “Busy”

I haven’t written anything for awhile. In fact, I used to post to a professional group weekly and when I didn’t three weeks in a row, I got an email asking if I was OK. Yeah, I’m good I told them, just busy.

It started in December with a new job, travel, holidays, kiddo sporting practices and events, church council, and a host of other little tasks. Before I knew it, the time was 10 PM and I was heading to bed. The only thing I was advancing was reading as I learned the careful craft of reading while running on a treadmill.

But what I found I was trying to do too much at once. “Multi-tasking” became my middle name. I had a lot of balls in the air without feeling the sense of accomplishment getting any one of them done.

So, I took some advice I’d read about; I set a stopwatch on my phone for 25 minutes and focused on one thing. After 25 minutes, I took a 5 minute break and hit it again for another 25. What I found was I got much more done in much less time. In fact, I have a stopwatch next to me right now with 11 minutes remaining!

Since I know my attention span is also short, going beyond 25 minutes will have diminished returns. Short, focused bursts get more done than longer times, at least for me.

When you’re busy, and we all are, and you need to get something done, set a stopwatch, shut out all distractions and focus on that one task. Set the timer for as long as you feel you can focus on one thing. Then take a break. Before you know it, you’re “stopwatching” yourself into getting things done!

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