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5 Ways To Make Absolutely Sure You Get Nothing Done Today

May 9, 2008
A tongue-in-cheek article about how to waste your day. There's some helpful hints at the end... honest!

1. Don't spend more than 5 minutes on any one project.

Five minutes is the perfect amount of time to get something started but not completed. I recommend starting the day with a 5 minute shower (If you can get completely showered in less than 5 minutes, you're a better woman than I am. Between the shampoo, conditioner and trying to get my legs shaved, I find it impossible.). No one will notice that the shampoo is still in your hair. Follow that up with a 5 minute breakfast (better make it a granola bar or you'll never get it down in time). And then spend all of your time at work doing no more than 5 minute projects (Since that little mail icon always pops up every five minutes with a new email message, this shouldn't be too difficult). Five minute dinner. No more than 5 minutes on any one TV show (just give the remote to the man in your house). And there you go, you've spent no more than 5 minutes on any one project today.

2. Make sure that you get up late.

There is no better way to get your day off on the wrong foot than to get up late. It almost guarantees that you will not be on time to anything all day and that you will feel like you're constantly trying to catch up. This is also a great way to make sure that you stay stressed out all day. Of course if you really want to make sure you don't get anything done today, just don't bother getting out of bed at all.

3. Do not, under any circumstances, write out a "to do" list or task list for the day.

This would be a much too productive use of your time. Better yet, write out what you're not going to do today. Of course, don't spend more than five minutes on this list (see point number 1 above).

4. Completely stop your day for any interruption that comes your way.

If a co-worker interrupts you to chat, drop what you're doing and talk to them. Make sure to pick up the phone every time that it rings. If it is a solicitor, so much the better. Take the time to talk to them and hear full details about whatever product or service they are offering. Oh, and remember that little mail icon that pops up every 5 minutes? Make sure you click on it every time it pops up and read the new message.

5. Make sure to multi-task as much as possible.

Try to be doing at least two things at once at all times during your day, preferably more than two things. Talking on the phone and driving your car is a great way to start. Be sure to carry that through your workday. Talk on the phone while drafting that important letter for the CEO.

Of course, if you would rather get something done today, do the exact reverse of all of the tips above. Here's a few things that can help.

1. Tackle one project at a time. Focus on one thing and see it through to the finish. And if you have the little mail icon that pops up every time you have a new email message, disable it. It just ends up being a distraction.

2. Get up on time. If you do happen to start your day late, stop yourself from going into panic mode. Take a few deep breaths and just focus on what you need to get done. Inform anyone who needs to know that you're running late. Keeping your emotions calm will help put you in a proactive state of mind rather than reactive.

3. First thing in the morning, write out your task list for the day. Anything you didn't get done yesterday should also go on this list. Then prioritize the list.

4. Minimize the distractions during your day. If at all possible, schedule certain times during the day when you will make and return phone calls. Same thing with email messages. Be polite but firm with co-workers who interrupt you when you're working on completing a project. If it is an issue that they need to discuss with you, schedule a time to meet with them.

5. Focus on one task at a time. Devote your full attention to every task that you do, no matter how trivial the task seems. Strive to be fully present in every moment of your day and for every situation.
About the Author
Jill Borash is a professional organizer and life organization coach. She can help you get your home, office and life organized. For more helpful home organization tips, visit her website at www.YourHomeIsOrganized.com.
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