If you look at all of the tasks or action items you do in a day or a week, how many of them individually take over an hour? If you timed them, how many tasks take less than 30 minutes? I would have argued that most things must take over an hour because every time I have a spare hour or 30 minutes not accounted for I tell myself it isn’t enough time to really get anything done. For example, if I have an hour before I need to be somewhere and I am ready to go, I will tell myself “Well that isn’t enough time to mop the floors (ha,ha – my husband knows that never comes into my head) or write a blog post.” I can’t possibly get my invoicing done. If I call so and so back they may want to talk and I do have to leave in a little while. I talk myself out of being productive. I resign myself to either checking email, the stock market or various other distractions. I may even decide to go stop and get a cup of coffee on the way when I could make a whole pot where I am.
When I finally have a several hour block and sit down and do my invoicing, it takes about 15 minutes. I call back 3 clients in less than a half hour. I write two blog posts in an hour. If I actually time these exercises they rarely ever take an hour or more.
I see the majority of my clients in hour increments. There are many times that I have a 30 minute – 1 hour break between clients. If I simply took my list and would just get started, I would probably complete 4 or 5 productive tasks in a regular work day. I would have a cleaner house. I would book more appointments by calling people back in a more timely manner.
What Will I Do with my Extra Hours?
What about you? Have you ever told yourself you don’t have time to get started on something you really need or want to get done and before you know it you have accomplished nothing in the one or two free hours you had today? I am going to keep my experiment going and try to use these extra hours wisely and measure the results. Let me know if you will do the same. We can compare notes in a week and share the insights with everyone else who suffers with this form of procrastination.