Productivity Dash: How to Beat Procrastination in 10 minutes?

A productivity dash is a short burst of focused activity.
– short burst – 10 minutes
– focused activity – any of your procrastinated task
For tasks I don’t like to do, don’t want to do, I use this trick.
I later learnt that this was first written about by Merlin Mann.

Productivity Dash – My Version

Let me tell my version of it.
  • You set an alarm on your smart phone 10 minutes from now.
  • You will start on your procrastinated task
  • You will only work on this task for the next 10 minutes.
  • When you hear your alarm ring – Stop your work, stop your alarm.

You completed a dash.

Dashing & Starting

It could be cleaning your desk, clearing you email backlogs, reviewing the memo or editing the document. Anything.
You start it. You dash it.
May be you completed the task – during the dash.
Or, may be not. There’s always another day or another round of productivity dash. But you started, that’s more important.

Few Variations

You could try out many variations of this:

  • Is 10 minutes too long or short for you? Do a 5 minutes or may be 15 minutes dash. Pomodoro technique is on the similar line which is a 25 min dash with 5 min break in between.
  • How about an 1 hour strict Productivity Dash? Choose the task and do it, with six 10 minutes dash or four 15 minutes dashes
  • Try out different tasks. Write down 6 tasks. Set the alarm clock for a productivity dash. 10 minutes per task.
  • Check out Merlin Mann’s advanced version – (10+2)*5. 10 min dash, followed by 2 min break. 5 reps. Totals 60 mins or 1 hour.

Why It Works?

Merlin says it is a favorite tonic for procrastination. I agree.
  • It just makes you get started on the your unactioned task which you would’ve never started otherwise.
  • By giving you only 10 minutes, you are forced to work.
  • That you’ve it bear it not more than 10 minutes – makes unbearable, bearable.
  • By taking a tiny chip out of a major task, makes it little less overwhelming.
  • Takes the fear and anxiety clouding the task.
A word of caution though. Don’t over do it. Not every task needs to be done under a productivity dash. It’s only for your ugliest task.
For everything else, rely upon yourself. Do not outsource your willpower.
So, why don’t you try it out and share it as comments. 10 minutes is all it takes.

2 thoughts on “Productivity Dash: How to Beat Procrastination in 10 minutes?

  1. Marc says:

    Mark Forster wrote about this technique in his first book “Get Everything Done and Still Have Time to Play”. He calls it working in “timed bursts” of activity. It fits in with his “little and often” philosophy.

    • says:

      Thanks Marc for the insight.
      I’ve been a fan of Mark Forster and his approach to time management.
      Yes, I purposefully practice ‘little and often’ philosophy and planning to posting my experience with it soon.

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