Did you know that we’re all incredibly bad at estimating how long it actually takes to complete a task? I know I’m not the only one who’s blocked off a chunk of time, thinking it’s more than plenty to complete five tasks only to realize I barely completed one. This constant mis-estimation leaves us feeling frustrated, frazzled, and like a failure.
With the arrival of Luca, the last thing I needed was to feel like I wasn’t accomplishing enough, so I decided to try out a new tactic. While it may seem hyperbolic to describe it as life-changing, it truly has been.
My game-changing tactic is to Set Timers.
It’s that simple. Set timers on your phone or watch.
The idea behind it is similar to time-blocking. Give yourself a set amount of time to accomplish a task. I set dozens of timers a day, even for seemingly small or meaningless tasks.
Here are a few ways I use timers in a given day:
- Emptying the dishwasher
- Washing dishes
- Doing laundry
- Resetting living spaces
- Tummy time
- Helmet breaks
Joanna Organize Admin
- Checking and responding to emails
- Creating estimates and invoices
- Personalized shopping
- Custom space designing
Joanna Organize Content
- Writing blog posts
- Creating reels
The timers have given me four big wins:
Get More Done
Although I naturally have a set of urgency with completing tasks, the timers increase that urgency but not in an anxiety-inducing way. I’m not frantically trying to beat the timer, but knowing I’ve set aside a certain amount of time to complete a task actually improves my ability to focus.
For example, if I’ve set aside 30 minutes to work on a blog post (my timer is set as I type this), I better not use some of that time to hop on Instagram.
Focus on Completion Instead of Perfection
I can get sucked into a project and focus on perfecting it rather than completing it and moving on. While there are some projects that need to be 100%, there are others where 90% is good enough. Take this blog post, for example. I could spend an extra 15-20 minutes revising and editing, but is it going to make that big of a difference? Nope.
Set Realistic Expectations
I was constantly getting frustrated with myself because I wasn’t getting done what I thought I could in a day. Now that I’ve set timers, I have a realistic idea of how long it takes me to complete tasks and I can adjust accordingly. When I list out what I want to accomplish in a day, I set myself up for success by writing down realistic expectations.
Rather than set a timer for one-hour, I’d recommend breaking that hour into two or four chunks of time. Break down what you’re trying to accomplish into smaller, achievable tasks. This also helps me feel like I got more done – rather than partially complete one big task, you can confidently check off four smaller tasks, knowing you’re on your way to completing the larger goal.