No more riots
Today is May 1st. Most European countries are off work to remember labor day. May 1st is indeed a historical date. In 1886, workers in Chicago and other cities laid down their work to demand better working conditions including eight hour working days. The situation escalated over the next few days and several people died. The event is remembered as the Haymarket Riots. Since then working conditions have improved considerably. However, despite the standard eight hour working days, many of us are often forced to work more than that. There is just too much stuff. But longer hours do not necessarily increase quality. It is therefore important that we take time to figure out ways to work smarter.
Last summer a friend shared a very simple but effective productivity technique. Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad supposedly came up with the idea for it. The technique is super simple: Divide your work in 10-minute increments. Let’s say you to book travel for an upcoming business trip. It’s easy to waste a lot of time on researching hotels and prices. But give yourself ten minutes to get the task done. Guess what happens: You will do your best to get everything done within that time limit. Your productivity increases while you spent less time on unimportant things.
The power of ten
The ten minute idea works really well for me when I need to get stuff done that I am either not good at or that I really dislike. In the past I have found that I tend to either procrastinate those tasks or that I get side-tracked while doing them. But allocating a ten minute budget really helps me get started. The task looks less daunting and I make every effort to get it done.
A great side-effect of this method is that it can really boost your confidence and motivation. I have had days when I was sluggish in the morning. Completing various things on your to-do list in record speed changes your mood and boost your confidence!
Most of us have great employers who treat us with respect. But the increasing workload creates unprecedented levels of stress. Also, there is a lot of distraction these days. Think about corporate messaging systems, social media, meetings etc.. Working smarter is therefore a critical skill.Try this ten minute technique. It certainly works for me. I don’t use it every day. But I do pull it out when I really need to. Happy Labor Day!