Episode 10: How to Radically Improve Your Productivity with One Simple Tool

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Key Takeaways

This episode is going to be short and sweet. We are focusing on how using Timer’s can increase your efficiency and break through perfectionism.  

This tip is based on Parkinson’s Law which says that work will expand to the time available for its completion.  If you give a task 20 minutes, it will take 20 minutes. If you set aside 30, it will take up 30. This is especially true for perfectionists who want to squeeze in one more edit or one more note to ensure that it’s “perfect”.  

If you have a deadline for a project, you usually complete the project on the final day of the deadline.  If you say to yourself , “This can get completed whenever” ,it usually doesn’t get completed. In fact, you may not start on it at all.  Again, totally true for perfectionists who have analysis paralysis or fear turing something imperfect in before a deadline.

Enter timers.  Timer’s help you increase efficiency by dictating the time that you  are going to a lot to a task. It creates time pressure and it ensures that you don’t have time to overthink a task. You are focused on finishing the work in the allotted time.  

Let’s look at an obvious time black hole as an example: Instagram. Instagram engagement is really important for most creatives, and getting on the app can easily bend time.  If you set an open ended goal to engage on Instagram, you may end up spending hours scrolling and commenting. If you goal is to engage, try setting a timer for 30 minutes and see how many people you can DM or how many posts you can comment on or like during that time. When the timer goes off, log off of the app and start another task.

The same strategy can apply to more thoughtful work too.  The next time you sit down to write a blog post or draft an email, decide on the amount of time you want the task to take, set a timer and get to work. You may be surprised at the amount of work you can get done when you are racing against the clock.  

Remember, Brooke Castillo says

“ You want to produce at the level of B-. Here’s why that is. B- work can change people’s lives. Work that you don’t produce at all does nothing in the world.”

What she is saying is that it’s important to start. It’s important to produce something. What you make matters and if you are wasting your time trying to be perfect or using your time in -efficiently by procrastinating and filling your time with “working on things rather than producing things” you are missing the mark.

The goal is to actually produce work and share that work with the world. And the more efficient you are, the more accepting of your own human imperfection, the more you can create.


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Hey! I'm Samantha Osborne, a board certified counselor and host of the Creative Psych Podcast. I launched this show to help people just like you move from stuck to free. Want to connect? Come say hello on Instagram or email me at samantha@samanthamichelleosborne.com. It makes my day to hear from listeners!