A while ago I ran across the quote “We have a strategic plan, it’s called doing things” from Herb Kelleher. This quote generated a blog post about the importance of action. (Not to minimize the importance of a plan . . . but sometimes you need to “just do it” as Nike would say!)
One of the responses I received after this post was, “I don’t have a problem ‘doing things’, I have a problem stopping! I can sit down to work on a 15 minute task, and the next thing I know 4 hours have gone by.”
Sometimes struggling to disengage from a task can be just as frustrating as struggling to engage in a task.
One tip I recommend is to use a timer.
Set a timer, a LOUD timer, across the room.
If you want to spend 15 minutes connecting with prospective clients on LinkedIn, then set the timer for 15 minutes. If you want to spend one hour editing your newsletter, set the timer for one hour. If you want to spend 45 minutes creating handouts for a class, set the timer for 45 minutes.
The effectiveness of this tip is that the timer is LOUD . . . and . . . ACROSS THE ROOM.
If your timer is next to you, the impulse is to turn it off and say to yourself, “I’m almost done, just 5 more minutes.” However, the reality is you get “sucked into” another 20, 40, 60 minutes. When the timer is across the room you are forced to disengage in the task to turn it off . . . and then make a choice about whether or not to continue.
I’d love to know your thoughts. Do you find it easier to engage or disengage in tasks? Please comment below!
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(calendar image by Stuart Miles)