From Time To Task

I’ve made a big change to my way of working this week. So far, it’s paying dividends. It’s made me more focussed, more efficient, and hopefully more productive.

What is this wondrous change, you ask? Egg timers? Planning charts with coloured dots? A man with a whip?

Nope. I’ve just shifted my planning from time-orientated to task-orientated.

I work from home, mostly (and from January – all the time!) and I was slipping into some bad habits. In particular, I had been splitting my work into 20-minute chunks, to ensure I took enough breaks. That’s fine. That’s a good idea. However I was letting the time element take precedence without paying attention to what I was doing with the time. It was getting far too easy to say “I’ve been at the computer for 8 hours today! Aren’t I fantastic!”

It sounds really obvious now, but looking back, I slid into that by degrees.

So this week, I’ve been listing my tasks and numbering them in priority order – something I’ve always done – but then paying attention to completing the task not spending 20 minutes on the task.

The change is entirely mental. I still take 20 minute breaks but the psychology is different. Before, I think I was tricking myself into thinking 20 minutes meant the task was over. Or that 20 minutes of facebook counted.

It’s a tiny shift in my attitude. But it seems to work for me.

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  1. #1 by Phil on December 16, 2012 - 3:35 pm

    Sounds good to me. I’ve always prefered being task-orientated. I used to get me into trouble at work though. I might have clear in/pending/out trays by the end of the day and saw this as success. I’d work hard to get to that stage but there was an objective to aim at. My boss felt differently and prefered people to just be there even if they were doing sod all.

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