Updated April 9th, 2020
I’ve noticed that I procrastinate on many tasks on my to do list. Which means my to do list just does not work. And yes David Allen, it is an actionable task and it’s broken down into next steps, so that’s not why I resist doing them.
I resist working on it because I’m not sure how long it will take and most often I feel I won’t have the time to get it done. Most of the time I’m 100% confident that if I start attempting anything on my list, one of my kids is sure to smell productivity on me, and require something from the kitchen or their butt wiped.
When I first started blogging, somewhat consistently, I first said to myself “Ok self, lets put up one post each day for a year”. Two days in I realized that was going to be unrealistic for me.
What would be realistic with all my other commitments? How about 3 posts a week? Two weeks passed zero posts. Third week I put out one post. So how about just one post a week? That hasn’t worked either.
Seriously I can’t muster up the time and effort to do just one blog post a week? Apparently Not. Please note if you are an avid GTDer I know that “write one blog post”. Is not the next action.
It could possibly end up being a small to huge project. My next action would be to decide on topic that I’m going to write a post on.
But at some point the next action becomes, sit butt in chair and write. Perhaps that can work for you, but has not worked at all for me.
Then one day I was on Pinterest and I clicked through to a blog. I started reading some of her articles on her goals for the year. She didn’t have “I will write 1-3 blog posts a week”.
Her goal was beautiful and for me, I feel life changing. She was going to write for 10 minutes each day and edit for 10 minutes each day in her first month. In the second month she upped that to 20 minutes of writing each day and 10 minutes of editing.
A light bulb went off. I was doing it wrong. I was breaking down my big projects into tasks, which is great if you need to narrow done the next action steps. But narrowing down the the next action steps wasn’t moving me into action.
I was missing the time goal in the project. Most goals require consistency over a number of days. I needed to plan my level of realistic consistency to each goal.
After looking at my time, I decided that writing for 20 minutes on each of my two blogs, adding products and affiliate information for another 20 minutes and editing for 20 minutes each day, totally one hour and 20 minutes was totally doable.
I set the timer on my [email protected] app for 20 minutes, start my get focused music and off I go. I write and write pretty much non stop for 20 minutes straight. I try not to edit anything at all, because I know I can come back later and do that. My job is just to write.
I don’t stress that it has to get done. It will be done when it’s done, if it ended up taking me a week to write one blog post, I’m pretty confident that the quality of that blog is going to be worth it for the time spent.
A blog post that I can finish in one 20 minute session might be awesome but it’s certainly not going to be an authoritative article on something important.
Before I might have been tempted to publish something before it was really done, quality was lost, just because the goal was to post. Now the goal is to write. When it’s done, it’s done. but I have a feeling that I will be posting more content then I ever have before.
I was listening to a podcast just this morning that said “You want to make a commitment to be productive and disciplined while you work, instead of working more”. Most people are working 8 hours a day and then still feeling anxiety that it wasn’t enough so they need to work evenings and weekends on top of that. What did you do with the first 8 hours of your work?
I totally relate to this because, I’ve always felt like even if I worked 16 hour days, I would still feel stressed that things were not getting done fast enough. In setting time task goals of only 20 minutes, remember this is my part time job, if this was your full time job you would probably be able to set longer or more chucks each day of time task goals.
But with only 20 minutes, I don’t have time for any distractions. It’s like on your mark get set go! And for 20 minutes I’m 100% focused. I’ve been accomplishing more, making more progresses and really making sure I’m working on that 20% that is going to bring 80% of the results because I’ve given myself no choice.
It really is a game changer. I love the idea of being an entrepreneur for the freedom the ability to choose what I do with my time, and yet for most of my entrepreneur journey I’ve attempted to spend any spare time I could on my business, yet it was mostly unfocused, scattered time that never produced enough results.
I realize now that when you need more results that does not mean you need more time. It means you need to evaluate the time you are currently dedicating to it and perhaps the problem is in fact that you’ve dedicated to much time to it.
Have you noticed if you have a week to get something done, that’s how long it takes? End you actually end up really getting most of it done in the last day or two.
The point of my whole ramble, is simple. If you are resisting the tasks on your to do list, it might be time to switch some of them up to a time task list.