How to: Productivity boot camp

I don’t have too much trouble getting my important work done.  I enjoy what I do and look forward to the challenges as much as the opportunities.  What I sometimes have trouble with is getting all the little pesky things accomplished, the pesky things that support my important work, and without which my important work may be finished but it will just sit here, not doing anyone any good. 

 

For example, one such pesky task a couple of weeks ago required getting information on my new e-courses together so that my web guy could put the copy on my website and I could start encouraging people to sign up.  I love teaching my classes.  I don’t even mind writing up some sales copy about them.  It’s just that the task kept falling to the bottom of my to-do list.

 

Lots of other things fall into this category: writing pitches, researching markets, networking with colleagues.  All things I need to do but which tend to end up at the bottom of the list day after day because I’m so focused on writing the book or the proposal that’s up next.

 

When this happens, I call on my friend Linda Formichelli (of The Renegade Writer fame) and we have an afternoon productivity boot camp.

 

If I recall correctly, Linda originally got this idea from her life coach (hi, Kristin Taliaferro!) who may have gotten it from someone else, but that’s where my ability to give credit where credit is due gives out completely.

 

At any rate, the idea behind this afternoon boot camp is to work with a colleague or a friend to get your to-do list done (not in person – you check in by phone).  It’s especially useful for accomplishing those pesky items that have been hanging around for a while.

 

You have an initial check-in, say at noon.  You say what you’re going to do in the next hour.  Then you go do it.  After the hour has elapsed, you have another check in and you report how you’ve done.  If you got stuck for some reason, you can brainstorm with your friend how to get unstuck.  Then you say what you’re going to do for the next hour and you go do it. 

 

I find this is an incredibly effective way to work your way through a ton of pesky tasks in a highly focused state.  You’re reporting in to someone, so instead of aimlessly surfing the internet for inspiration, you start with a game plan and work from it.  If you have a problem, there’s a built-in support system for helping solve it.

 

Linda and I usually work in four-hour chunks about once a week.  The focus I practice during that period often helps me stay on track even on days when we don’t do boot camp. 

 

Give it a try if you’d like to get the bottom five things off your to-do list this week.    

A few of my favorite things

LESSONS IN MAGIC
A CERTAIN KIND OF MAGIC
THE IMPROBABLE ADVENTURES OF A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN
DOJO WISDOM FOR WRITERS

2 Comments

  1. I do this with my sister but we call it a power hour and we check in via IM.

    Weird how productive it is, isn't it?


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