A few weeks ago, I wrote a rather tongue in cheek post on time management.
Time management isn't necessarily one of my strong suits, but as I continue to find personal and professional projects that I want to tackle, growing my blog audience, publishing a fitness book, mowing the lawn and other household chores - I find that I need some type of system to help me be productive in a way that feels satisfying by the end of the day.
After writing a post on the five minute action from two weeks ago, I tried to manage last Saturday a little bit differently than I normally would. I did a brain dump of all of the tasks that I wanted to tackle while I drank my coffee - clean out some clothes (to make room for the new ones - I'm a shopper at heart), wash my car, wash Sheila's car, write a section of my new book (yes, I'm working on another one).
Typically, after this kind of a brain dump, I'd pick one task, try to do it for an hour or so, get tired or bored, decide I needed to take a nap, and that would be the end of it. I often wouldn’t get very far with my list. I would try to tackle the entire project in one go, but when I either got bored or ran out of steam, I would fizzle out and so would the rest of plans. Then I'd get to the end of the day feeling frustrated with myself for not having done more when I had the chance.
So last Saturday, I split my day up into 10 minute blocks.
I sat down to write and set a timer for 10 minutes. It was tough to sit there, but after about five minutes, I started to write. When the timer went off, I started it over again. I was able to do this for 30 minutes. When the timer went off for the third time, I was feeling antsy, so I stopped.
Then I went to the next task. Cleaning out my clothes in the spare room felt like a monumental task, but I took my phone with me, set the timer, and just started. I started. That was the key. (Isn’t that always the key? And yet doesn’t it always feel so hard?) Once again, I reset the timer multiple times before moving on to my next task.
I’ve always joked that I'm a commitment phobe - not with relationships, but certainly with my time. If you want to see me truly unhappy, lock me into doing one thing for several hours (except for going to a baseball game). I'm not wired like that. I don't think in a linear fashion, and I certainly don't like to work in a linear fashion. I'm scattered. I like variety - a lot of it. And I found that using a 10 minute timer as my gauge worked with my personality and not against it.
Sure I did several tasks for 30 minutes or more, but I only made 10 minute commitments. Three 10 minute commitments felt more manageable to me than one 30 minute chunk.
For me, life always works better when I embrace my personality and tendencies and work with who I am - not trying to change who I am, but finding subtle ways to be the best version of me. I'll never be Marie Kondo (yes those socks bring me joy!!!), but I can find a way to be more productive in a manner that works and feels good to me.
I don’t know if this 10 minute thing will work for you. Heck, I don’t know how long it will work for me. But I’m going to ride the wave and see how far it takes me.