Wednesdays are simplicity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
We all have them. Projects that sit around on our lists with no progress, because we simply cannot find the time to do them. We’ve tried breaking them down to the absolute next granular action, and still that will take a good bit of time. What is a productive person to do?
I am a big fan of the Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management technique known as “little and often”. By this, you chip away at large projects in little doses, and end up make quite a bit of progress. For me, the technique gets me moving on something, overcoming my main source of procrastination.
But some projects cannot be done in little bits. Either leaving them half-done would be detrimental, or require setup/cleanup times that require more than a few minutes to maximize the return on the time spent. Two examples that pop readily to mind is mowing the lawn, and basting a quilt. Both require setup, and the jobs must be completed once started.
Some projects are just not going to lend themselves to little and often in certain phases. Because of that, here are some strategies for getting larger blocks of time to get these projects done:
1. Estimate The Length of Time Needed
The first key to get through this is to figure out how much time you need. For my two examples, I need about two hours to mow the lawn, and about three to baste the quilt. By figuring out what you need, you can look for open areas on the schedule.
2. Decide If It Can Be Broken Down
Some projects may not be able to be done in 10 minute increments because it would stretch the project time out; others need setup/cleanup time that makes 10 minutes impractical. But perhaps bigger chunks could be feasible. For my examples, I can’t break the lawn mowing down, but I can do three one hour sessions over three days on the quilt, because I can live with a quilt taped to my living room floor for three days.
3. Find the Time and Schedule It
Since these are not things that can be sandwiched in between other little tasks, find blocks of time and schedule them for the tasks. I scheduled the lawn care for one evening this week (checking the weather first, of course!) and have scheduled the quilt to start Friday evening.
Benefits of Larger Blocks of Time
While it is not practical to do this with everything, taking some projects in larger, carefully considered time chunks can lead to movement on projects that would otherwise be stalled by procrastination.
Photo by smaedli