You only have an hour to work today! How will you use it? What task will you complete? The answer to this question should be the item you work on first. This task, whatever it is, is the most efficient use of your time for today. To have colossal productivity, you should focus on that task. Your challenge is to work on it first and foremost, even if you have more than one hour to work.
My Productivity is a Blessing and a Curse
I am not the uber-productive man some of you might see me as. I have bad days, I make mistakes, some of them are within my control, others aren’t. I’m writing this on President’s Day, Monday, February 20th, after coming off of an unproductive week. Specifically, I should have finished this article last week. Now I’m working to get it in under the wire before it goes live Wednesday.
Two Days for one Lousy Article… No Problem
This dilemma is fine because I have two full days to write this article… right? Not exactly. I have found that my best work happens when I have exactly the amount of time that I need. I will use the extra time to procrastinate until I have the required minimum of time. Without enough time I stress and don’t do my best work. Therefore, having two days to complete this article is a blessing and a curse. I’m sure most of you can relate.
As I mentioned, it’s President’s Day, because of this my mother is off work. I haven’t seen my mom in awhile, so I agreed to do something with her today. This agreement means I only have a little bit of time to work today before I go out. With only two hours between when I woke up and when I had to meet her, I knew I would only have one hour left after getting ready. My subconscious mind instantly knew how to have colossal productivity during this time. I had to write this article.
I had to intentionally avoid my typical tasks because I didn’t have the time for them. Some of these were checking my email, writing my morning pages, and reading a short story. These tasks each suck away 30 mins of my time, time which I didn’t have the luxury of spending this morning.
I needed to treat my day as if there was only an hour for work. If I did this, I would have colossal productivity. I knew I would inevitably be derailed after that first hour. Know that I had completed the most important task would allow me to be more content. Some of you might be thinking this is a micro version of the lion mind.
Time and Energy are Limited Resources
We all have a limited amount of energy we can use each day. Sure, I could have gotten more time out of today by waking up earlier or spending less time with my mom, these were options I considered. However, they wouldn’t have solved the main issue. Productivity isn’t about getting the maximum amount of work done in the shortest amount of time. It’s about working efficiently in the limited amount of time given.
One Hour Helps You Focus on Colossal Productivity
How do you leverage that amount of time most effectively? The easiest way to achieve this is imagining that you only have the capability to do an hour of work. Better yet, put yourself in a situation where you are limited to only an hour.
If you’re a student with a pile of homework, what is the assignment that you should work on first? Is it the calculus homework that is due in a week and only worth 1% of your final grade? Or is it the political science test that is coming up in two days and is worth 25% of your final grade? If you only had an hour to study which task do you think is most important to finish?
Don’t Ask the Wrong Questions
This visualization works for the self-employed, managers, or even your side projects. Given a minimal amount of time, how would you use it most effectively? Don’t ask yourself questions like “how do I get more time?” or “which of these tasks in front of me is the most fun?” because those questions don’t make you evaluate the right issue. What is the most efficient use of this limited resource of time?
How will you use your next hour of work? Is it checking email or outlining the proposal that needs to get out the door in two days? When 5:30 pm rolls around, you probably won’t be willing to go home to see your family if you know you still have to outline that proposal. However, if your email is the only thing left, maybe you will leave on time.
I will be implementing this visualization system into my daily workflow. I will imagine what I would work on if I only had an hour to work. If you decide to use it, then let me know how it works for you. How will your only hour of work be used? Will have colossal productivity and use it for your most important task? Or just waste the time on email?