Here’s my addition to getting things done. Tedious, odious, omnivorous tasks which require extra gobs of stick-to-it-ive-ness. If you are facing a day of digital drudgery (organizing files before a back-up, proofing long copy, tax receipt entry, etc.) try my “egg timer hat” solution.
What you’ll need…
Materials: Duct tape, a sixty second egg timer, and a cap of some sort.
Some kind of reward/treat/incentive
What to do…
Duct tape the timer to the top of your hat. Ideally you shouldn’t be able to see the timer at all. Ball caps work best. They are sturdy and have a blinder above your eyes in the form of the bill. You may want to curl the outer edges of the bill to the side, thus creating side blinder-like visual barriers. This helps focus.
Then, take a good look at your task. Whether it is vacuuming, email sorting, roto-rootering, or tedious SEOing you need to make a time-based prediction as to how long this task will take. It can not be over an hour. I rarely do anything over 55 minutes. Make the best estimate. Stretch your will. Guess the fastest possible time you can imaging getting this task accomplished. Hint: Have some fun with the predictions; guess 47 minutes instead of 50 or 33 instead of 30. Really challenge your precision. No peeking at mirrors, you’ll spoil the fun.
(if the task is way over an hour, break it up into small pieces)
Finally, dangle a carrot. What small reward will you give yourself? What fishy-flavor does the seal get today? What kibble does Fido fight for most? I know this is dangerous, but have some fun. Use food, spa pedicures, an hour of favored TV programming, a bath, a round of TIger Woods Golf on the Wii. Whatever. But it too, cannot take more than an hour.
Don the hat, wind the timer, and GO!
Let the tick-tick-ticking of the timer, and the suspense of not knowing if you are going to finish your task before the buzzer goes off, drive you through to your external reward
When external entities, i.e. girlfriends, boyfriends, spouse, UPS delivery person, mother-in-law, etc. appear, they are to be treated as non-existent. You are in the egg-hat zone. You are invisible. You are on another plane of reality. Looking up, or acknowledging another non-related task/person, is the equivalent to Christipher Reeves looking at the 1979 penny in Somewhere In Time. All chances of completion will spin down the swirling vortex of doom.
Try it. But don’t do it any more than four times per day. Diminishing returns set in.