It’s no secret that entrepreneurs are busy people, with numerous tasks to complete any given day. As such, it can be hard to shake the feeling that you aren’t working as efficiently as possible and not getting enough done. This was the line of thinking that inspired Barbara Caine to host her Productivity and Accountability Days, a series of events FUSE Business Training does in collaboration with greenCOW Coworking. The objective is simple: bring entrepreneurs together and help them get more done in less time, and after attending one I’ve picked up on several tips to help get the most out of your workday.
Productivity and Accountability Days alternate between 25 minute work periods and 5 minute breaks. At the beginning of each work period, everyone decides on a task they want to accomplish. The timer is set to 25 minutes; everyone works quietly and independently on their specified task. At the end of each work period, everyone accounts for whether or not they fulfilled their goals and then the group takes a few minutes to relax our brains, just you would do intervals when working your muscles.
For the next work period, you can continue with your previous goal if it was unfinished or has more parts to it or you can move on to a new task. The event is structured in such a way to encourage focused, short bursts of work, with no distractions, punctuated by small breaks to help stave off burnout. Too often we try to do everything in one long marathon, only to wind up physically and mentally exhausted after a few hours, whereas this method focuses on getting more done in the long run by breaking jobs down into smaller chunks.
Best of all, Barbara’s method is easy to apply to your regular schedule. Just gather some work friends for a meetup, set your alarm, and get cracking.
Here are few tips for using this method:
Break down complicated tasks into smaller parts.Not every task can be finished in 25 minutes, but it is possible to estimate how much you can get done in that allotted time. If you’re working on a big project, break it down into smaller tasks and figure out which part you could do within a work period.
Work with a group.
While you can apply the basic structure of the Productivity and Accountability Day to working alone, it’s really designed with groups in mind. Having to talk to someone about what you’ve been doing can help keep you focused and accountable: no one wants to admit that they’ve been slacking off when everyone else was hard at work. Plus it feels good to tell someone when you’ve accomplished something, so this can serve as a motivator and help bolster your confidence.
Don’t skip on breaks
When you’re on a roll, it can be tempting to keep on working after you’ve passed the 25-minute mark, but taking breaks is essential to keep you motivated throughout the day. Overwork can take a serious toll on you, so take some time to do something else: talk to a friend, use the restroom, refill your beverage, grab something to eat, or just take a short walk and get some fresh air.
Be honest about your accomplishments.
Even if you completely failed to finish your task, always tell someone what you’ve completed after each session. Your workmates aren’t just there to criticize you, they’re your support network, so let them know if your struggling. Sometimes a kind word and some friendly advice are all it takes to get back on your game.
It’s not just for work
While this method was designed with work in mind, you can apply it to other parts of your day-to-day to life as well. Barbara uses this method at home to organize her exercise routine and to motivate her kids to help clean up around the house. Working in short bursts can make even the most tedious of tasks manageable.
With these tips in mind, try applying Barbara’s Productivity and Accountability method to your schedule.
Or if you would like to see how it works first hand, come to one. Just check out the calendar for available dates then call or text 219-707-1882 to see if there is room for you.