Systems & Tips

Thursday Time Tip: Better Productivity with Annoying 5-Minute Deadlines


Sometimes time management is about large, sweeping goals and major projects that affect our lives. Other times, it’s just about a quick trick or two that will help us have a little fun and shave some minutes off of your workday.

This Thursday Time Tip is definitely one of the latter – a fun technique that can give you a little drive to close out some tasks.

Utilizing the End Effect

In a previous post, I had mentioned switching between tasks as outlined in Get Everything Done: And Still Have Time to Play.

Forster’s method is not only to alternate tasks but also to add in one more step: to put deadlines on yourself – five minutes perhaps until you move on to the next task.

This takes advantage of what Forster calls the “end effect.” Put simply, deadlines give us the motivation to get done in time. Otherwise we’ll fill up the entire time allotted (Also known as Parkinson’s Law).

Annoying Myself

This effect, for me, was compounded when I switched tasks. Because sometimes it was frankly a pain to get out of one mental space and switch tasks to another.

By putting myself up against annoyance, I was motivated to get to certain milestones on each project. But the key is that I did this in a spirit of having fun and trying to beat the clock.

Of course, this only works if a few conditions are present. You need to actually stick to your self-imposed deadlines, for instance.

I wouldn’t think this would be a long-term solution for me, but perhaps it’s a quirky tip that can give you that little extra boost at the end of a long day.

Photo Credit: TheDigitel Beaufort

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