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#1 Productivity Hack: Speed Dating Your To-Do List

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

Today I’d like to share one of my favourite productivity hacks with you. It gets me out of procrastination mode in no time and works a treat – every time. I picked up this gem quite a few years ago while listening to Stever Robbins’ “Get-it-done guy” podcast. If you want to listen to the episode, here’s the link: Speed Dating Your Tasks. Thanks, Stever, you've changed my life!

Here’s how you speed date your tasks

Like most people you probably have a to-do list with a few tasks that you know you need to get done, but for one reason or another you procrastinate on them. No more.

Instead, put them on a sheet of paper in the following format:

The only other thing you need is a timer.

  • Set the timer for 5 minutes and start working on the first task.

  • As soon as the timer goes off, mark how far you got with task 1 and move to task 2.

  • Keep going until you’ve done 5 minutes on all of your tasks, then take a timed 5 minute break.

  • Then set your timer to 10 minutes, go through all your tasks again, 10 minutes each, each time marking how far you got.

  • At the end it’s break time again, this time 10 minutes.

  • By this time, one of the tasks might already be finished. Keep going with the remaining tasks and move to 15 minutes.

  • Remember to take a break at the end of every round.

  • Keep going with 10 or 15-minute rounds until all tasks are done.

It is important to remove all distractions during this exercise. Your brain knows that it only has a few minutes per task and will get super focussed. You don’t want to break that concentration with email or phone pings or people walking in on you. Stay in the zone. You'll feel incredible once you're finished.

If you like this tip, Stever Robbins has also written a book. In "Get-It-Done Guy's 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More" he shares his tips to break bad habits that are slowing you down.

It’s not multitasking

If you’ve looked into productivity enhancing techniques before, you’ll know that multitasking is a no-no. And even though this might look like multitasking, it definitely is not. It’s single tasking, but in quick succession. You are concentrating on one task at a time.

The beauty of this system is that it doesn’t matter what tasks you need to get done, whether it’s office projects or in the home or garden, you can use it for anything. If you’re a brain surgeon, however, I wouldn’t recommend it. Stick with one brain at a time, please. 😉

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