The Number One Secret of Efficiency Every Business Professional Needs to Know

Do you ever have the sneaking suspicion that given the opportunity (and the right set of teeth) your to-do list would happily chew you up and spit you back out? Hey, I’ve been there. I think anyone who’s ever dipped their toes into the deep pool of business, marketing, printing and any other fast-paced, rapidly changing industry knows that choking, gasping, drowning feeling that an overly-full to-do list can inspire in even the most hearty.

Here’s the thing. Your to-do list isn’t going to get any shorter just because you wish it would. You’re not going to magically get it done by staring at it. Motivation to do any and all of the tasks on that list you really don’t feel like doing isn’t going to fall from the sky. You’re going to have to motivate yourself.

No, this isn’t another one of those cheerleading and/or business boot camp blogs, here to tell you what I think you need to know about getting motivated. There are days I’m just as unmotivated to plow through my to-do list as the next guy. But knowing I have no other choice, I’ve looked around. I’ve kept my ear to the ground. And I’ve finally discovered the secret to getting any job done, no matter how distasteful/monotonous/uninspiring that job happens to be.

(FYI: This works great for getting through that massive pile of housework you have sitting at home too. Just thought I’d let you know.)

The secret, introduced to me by social media wizard Chris Brogan, is to tackle your day 20 minutes at a time rather than trying to gulp it all down in one swallow. Here’s how it works:

1)      Rummage an oven timer out from the bottom of your drawer.

2)      Make a list of everything you have to do today, including housework, exercise and “fun” projects you want to dip your feet into.

3)      Set the oven timer for 20 minutes.

4)      Close your email, turn your phone to silent and lock your door.

5)      Start in on the first thing on your list. For the next twenty minutes, that’s going to be the only thing that you do. No distractions. No interruptions. No multi-tasking.

6)      When the oven timer dings, that’s it. You’re done. Put that task away and move on to the next. Set your timer for another 20 minutes and go.

Because it’s the only thing you’re working on, you’ll be amazed by how much you’re able to get done in a relatively short amount of time, without stressing, and without feeling like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.