Over the past two months I have experimented extensively with the idea of a focused work period. The concept is to take an hour time interval and divide it up into two periods. The longer period you work in a focused manner on one task and only one task. The other shorter period is for doing everything else.
I have found two time allotments that seem to work best. If you like working with fractions such as 1/2 and 1/4, a focused time period of 48 minutes is great. It is easily divisible into 24, 16, 12, 6, and 3 minute intervals. This leaves a 12 minute rest period which is enough for stretching, getting coffee, and using the restroom.
The other time allotment is a 50-10 arrangement which works well if you like working with a decimal system. 50 minutes is easily divisible by 10 which makes 5 minute time periods which are easy to implement. The 10 minutes which are left over are plenty for a rest period.
Both of these systems work well and have really helped me become more productive. Working in a focused manner keeps your mind from quickly switching between tasks which has been proven to actually slow you down. The human mind, unlike a computer, works best when it is clearly focused on one task.
Last week I discovered something that made the whole system come to life. Something that had been staring me in the face but I didn’t see it.
The real power in this whole system is the 12 minutes… not the 48 minutes.
The 12 minutes holds the key to amazing productivity.
Twelve short little minutes can optimize the whole system.
Twelve minutes is magic!
How you ask..?
What can you do in twelve minutes that can make such a difference?
You can get coffee, use the restroom, and stretch and relax. Or…
You can also start another task!
Another task that doesn’t require your attention for at least 48 minutes.
In 12 minutes you can…
- Put clothes in the washer and start a cycle
- Put dishes in the dishwasher and start it.
- Start a computer backup or disk defragmentation.
- Send a large job to the copier or printer.
- Delegate a job to someone else.
This is the power of Optitasking.
Find something that you can start that doesn’t require your attention. This way you are using your time in an optimal manner. You spend 48 minutes in a focused approach while something or somebody is completing another one of your tasks.
When your 48 minutes is up you will have completed multiple tasks.
Now when I get ready to spend 48 minutes on a task, I spend 12 minutes first, getting something else going.
This is a simple but wildly effective tweak to the system.
In just 12 minutes my clothes are clean and my dishes shine!
This works especially well when you work in multiple focused periods back to back. I can wash the clothes in one period and dry them the next. Give this a try today and see what you can accomplish!