In my constant battle to get stuff done and feel good about what I did, I am finding the Pomodoro Method very handy.
Basically you set a timer for 25 mins, work unhindered for that time, then take a 5 minute break. Repeat 3 more times, then take a 15-20 min break. This has helped me for a few reasons
- If my task is BORING.. I procrastinate, go read facebook, email a friend. If I can tell myself, ok 25 mins of this then usually I get into the swing of it and get it done!
- TOO MANY EMAILS! … I could sit and watch my inbox fill up before my eyes. Usually, any email can wait at most 25 mins to be read or responded to. Using my break time to glance over email has improved my inbox organization. Knowing i have just 5 mins to sort through the mails that have arrived makes me choose what is most important
- I use http://www.tomatoist.comto keep track of my timer. It seems to work the best. I like looking at the list for today and seeing “oh wow, I did 7 pomodoros!”
- I feel good, even when I don’t complete the task, it makes me feel good to know I spend some uninterrupted time on that task. I am under alot of pressure from various fronts, and feeling good is something that keeps me going.
I have used other time keeping things, like Awake for mac. Timers on my android. Some people keep a list of tasks and how many pomodoros they believe that task will need. Reading the Pomodoro Method has alot of good tips!
Post in the comments if you have tried this sort of thing before!
Edit: Found a mac app that is cool and integrate with twitter! http://pomodoro.ugolandini.com/