I tried a new focus technique for the first time.
What is this concept? It’s just what it sounds like. I gathered with a few professionals on a Zoom call. For the first 10 minutes, we caught up on life and each shared an intention for our working time. Then, we left the camera on and got to work on our individual tasks for 20 minutes.
I was shocked by how much I got done in such a short amount of time. I tend to get pretty squirrely in the evenings as I pop between eating, cleaning, walking, talking, and working on my own projects. But in those 20 focused minutes, I was tethered by peer pressure to my screen and poof – Real progress!
That’s when I realized the value of 20 minutes. Yet why do we rarely take advantage of these short windows of availability?
Why do we assume we need a full 30 or 60 minutes to devote to a task? There’s nothing magical about these durations besides how they stack nicely in a calendar/planner. I know I often avoided diving into computer work since I didn’t expect I couldn’t finish. Instead, I would blow those 20 minutes on something less important (social media, news, chatting, etc.)
So the mantra I’m carrying into September is simple – 20 is plenty.
Let’s take it to work
The key to making the most of 20 minutes is breaking down big to-dos into something more bite-sized and putting them on your 20-minute list.
- Instead of waiting for an hour-long Make PowerPoint Deck time block, I can do these tasks in 20 minutes
- Whiteboard the talking points and visuals
- Build rough draft of deck
- Optimize deck flow
- Incorprate feedback
- Finalize graphics of deck
- Instead of Plan work trip to LA – I break it down
- Book flight
- Book hotel
- Arrange childcare for trip
- Put trip with logistics plan on family calendar
Most of us do this breakdown in our heads anyway.
The key is being specific when writing down the task on your Kanban board, to-do list, or wherever you keep your 20-minute list. This way you don’t waste any time thinking of what to do next, you just do whatever is on your 20-minute list.