How Limiting Your Time Can Make You More Productive
You say to yourself, “If only I had more time to get my work done.”
Then you would finish your tasks… meet that deadline… or finally catch up on your todo list.
However, more time isn’t necessarily the answer.
In fact, if you had additional free time in your day, I would wager that you’d still get the same amount of work done.
What if I told you, that you were spending too much time on your tasks?
More Time Means More Work
Not having enough time is a myth.
You have the same amount of time as everyone else. Rather, it is what you are choosing to do with it. The activities and actions that you decide to spend it on.
You have probably heard the expression that “work expands to fill the amount of time you give it.” (Know as Parkinson’s Law)
One of my favorite strategies to be more productive is to spend less time on projects instead of allocating more.
By limiting the time you spend on a particular task, you “box it into” a specific period of your day. Not only does this save time, but you make a conscious choice about how much time to spend on your work.
One of the best ways to limit the time you spend on a task is to set a timer and pick a specific end point for that work.
Using a productivity timer is a popular time management strategy. Chris Brogan wrote a guest post about it on TMN a while back, and there are many apps and strategies that center around the Pomodoro timer.
Using a timer to limit your work time motivates you to concentrate on the task at hand and focus your energy.
For example, if you give yourself two hours to write a report… it is going to take you two hours.
On the other hand, if you only give yourself 45 minutes, you’ll put your head down and concentrate. You may feel like you’re rushing, but your increased concentration will surprise you.
Set a Timer and Get to Work
The next time you have an important task to do, set a finite amount of time to get it done.
Set a timer. And when the timer goes off… stop.
When you place a limit on your work time, you will surprise yourself just how much you can get done.
Here are just a few ways that using a timer can improve your productivity:
Get Things Done Quickly – Having a countdown clock drives your attention and task speed. It is not about rushing through the job, although haste doesn’t always make waste.
Motivate Yourself – Can’t get yourself started on a task? Surely, you can do it for just 5 minutes. Or 10? Start with a small interval, and before you know it you will have built the momentum to continue.
Shorter Meetings – Just like work, meetings expand to fill the time they are scheduled for. Put a hard stop stop on meetings to ensure that they end on time. You’ll discover that you will have shorter and more productive meetings. As well, another technique is to cut your allotted meeting time in half.
Less Email – Use a timer to limit your inbox processing time. Otherwise, you’ll end up endlessly slogging through your ever-filling inbox. Get out of your inbox and get to your priorities.
Set a Time Limit on Your Work
Setting a time limit on your work can help you get unstuck from endless tasks.
Hard stops prevent procrastination and build positive momentum in your day.
Set a timer. Get it done. And move on to your next task.