GTD SOP#2 – 48 minutes
[This is part of a series covering the Getting Things Done Standard Operating Procedures I use to manage my goals, priorities and workload. I thought I'd share these because they've made and continue to make a huge difference in my productivity, and I hope they will for you too!]
Timer… and WatchDog
What: An easy to read digital timer for blocking my days into 48 minutes of working time followed by 12 minutes of slack time.
Use: When blogging, writing, programming or anything requiring serious thought; to put a limit on how long I read posts, RSS feeds, surf the net and process email.
How: Two ways: I block significant (revenue related) work into 48 minute concentrated bursts followed by 12 minute slack times to check email, reload coffee, etc. I can string together five or so blocks and still stay in the flow – the 12 minutes is long enough to attend to life, short enough not to break my concentration. Secondly, when on the net the timer goes on so I don't lose all the productivity I gain (see this post at Web Worker Daily – they nailed it)!
Life is a marathon, not a sprint and this way I can go nine rounds with my daily workload without turning my brain cells into grey goo by the end of the day and without being tied hand and foot to the clock – I don't give a damn whether I start task x at precisely 10 am – it's the results that matter. Being in the flow let's me be at my most creative with the least amount of stress.
As I get closer to my 50th birthday, my memory is simply not as good as it was 20 years ago. More importantly, I have about five times more to do, read, process, code and write than I did then.
The timer is such I have present it to two intervals – 48 minutes on the top, 12 on the bottom half of the display. I can flip a switch in the back to go back and forth. The big display makes it easy to read. I think this big display timer is made for sparring rounds such as in Tae Kwon Do – which sounds just like my day!
So do you have a Standard Operating Procedure for alternating between focused work and taking a breather? If so, what? If not, would you be more productive with such an SOP?