Wednesday, October 13, 2010

When Time Just Doesn't Permit

Let's be real. Committing hundred minute chunks of time to one thing is challenging. Some days, time just doesn't allow it. Other days, it takes a degree of resolve and will power that just isn't there.

It turns out that there is a better-than-nothing solution to deal with this called quarters, halfers, and tricorders.

Suppose there's only an hour to spare. If so, doing a halfer is a 50 minute chunk of time on work instead of 100. When really pinched for time, turn a quarter. Just commit to 25 minutes of work. Another alternative time slot would be a Tricorder. (tri-quarter) In that case, you dedicated 75 minutes to your work.

Regardless of whether you turn a quarter, halfer, tricorder, or the full hundred, be prepared. Write a todo list of things to tackle for that period, make sure to let people know not to interrupt, and setup a kitchen timer. That's pretty much it.

There are some side benefits to this compromise. For one, it opens up room for negotiation with other people in one's life as to how much time you need to yourself to work on something.

Another benefit is it let's you trick yourself. On low willpower days, set up to turn a quarter and plan to quit after. It often works out that during that time you've really gotten into your project and actually want to continue. In such cases, set the timer for another 25, 50, or however many more minutes, and go to town.

After all is said and done, congratulate yourself. Starting is often the hardest part of any project, even if it's something you enjoy.

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