Four Masterful Mini-Methods
Episode #8 of the course How to overcome procrastination by Jurgen Wolff
In the previous lesson, you learned how to easily get into the best state of mind to match the requirements of any task. In this lesson, you’ll find 4 additional methods to employ to keep your successes coming.
Chunking and Micro-chunking
Several times in this course, we’ve referred to the importance of breaking down any large task into smaller chunks.
For tasks you find especially difficult, you can use micro-chunking. That means cutting the task up into really tiny pieces. For instance, let’s say you’ve been avoiding a difficult phone call. With micro-chunking, it could look like this:
Day 1: Write down the name and phone number of the person you need to call.
Day 2: Write down what you need to tell them.
Day 3: Dial the phone number. Hang up before they answer, but keep talking as though they’re on the line. You’re rehearsing the call.
Day 4: Make the call.
Use Nudges and Reminders
Often, we conveniently “forget” the tasks that we want to avoid. You can counteract this by using nudges and reminders. These can take a variety of forms:
• Sticky notes where you can’t avoid them, like the mirror in your bathroom and the door of your refrigerator
• Alarms set for the time you’re supposed to start
• A timer to control your work sessions and breaks
• Emails you send yourself
• Physical reminders, like preparing your gym bag and leaving it by the door
Use the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management tool many people find very useful. At the heart of it is using a timer (“Pomodoro” is Italian for tomato, and a popular kitchen timer is in the shape of a tomato). The steps are simple:
1. Decide on the task. Make it a chunk that you can do in 25 minutes.
2. Set your timer for 25 minutes.
3. Do the task without interruption until the timer rings.
4. Put a checkmark on a piece of paper to show you’ve completed 1 session.
5. When you have fewer than 4 checkmarks, take a 5-minute break after each session. Use the timer for these too.
6. Go on to the next task the same way.
7. When you have 4 check marks, take a break for 15 to 30 minutes.
When you set the timer, take a moment to decide on the Alter Ego that fits the task, as we covered in the previous lesson. Do that every time you start a new task.
Some people prefer to use work periods of 45 minutes, followed by a break of 15 minutes. You can experiment to find what works best for you.
Use the Luck of the Draw
This method is useful when you have a bunch of small tasks to do, some of which you enjoy or don’t mind and some you’ve been avoiding.
Write each task on an index card. Shuffle them and put them on your desk, face down. Then turn over the top one and do it. If it’s one you don’t enjoy, at least you know that there’s a chance the next one will be more enjoyable.
Now you have 4 more tools in your anti-procrastination toolbox. In the next lesson, we’ll look at how to make getting things done on time a habit.
All the best,
Instant Focus: How to Beat Procrastination, Skyrocket Your Productivity, and Double Your Output by Patrick King
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