How To Get Things Done

November 02, 2021

Once you have your goals in mind and know what you want to do, the next trick is to get yourself to do it.

I have two complementary strategies for getting things done.

Time Blocking

The first is to schedule time blocks on your calendar for when you want to do certain things.

If I’m going to be doing something that requires a lot of mental effort, I schedule it in the morning. If it’s something that is mostly busywork, I plan it for the afternoon.

You don’t need to schedule every moment of your workday, I prefer a certain about of flexibility, but it’s beneficial to know that you have a two-hour block set aside to work on a particular project.

This also lets you figure out what you can fit into a week. As part of your weekly planning, you can figure out the top projects you want to make progress on this week. Then it’s just a matter of penciling in how much time you’ll work on them and when.

Pomodoro

The second strategy is the Pomodoro technique. First, you decide on a fixed time (usually 25 minutes) to work followed by a short (usually 5 minutes) break. Then, after every four Pomodoros, you take an extended break.

Pomodoros work well with time blocking. Since each work-break block is 30 minutes and 4 of those blocks are two hours, you can easily schedule blocks in Pomodoro increments on your calendar.

If there is something that you’re avoiding, Pomodoro’s work wonders. You can tell yourself, “I’m only working on this for 25 minutes. In the end, I don’t have to work more if I don’t want to.”

That can usually get you to start, and that’s the hardest part.


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Written by Andrew Shell, a web developer from Madison, WI.