2 Simple Ways to Boost an Assistant’s Productivity

The concept of using deadlines to get more done is not new.

When you have to get something done, set a deadline for yourself as to when you will accomplish it.

It’s like forcing yourself into vacation mode. Miraculously we get everything done that absolutely must get done before we leave on vacation. So the advice is to operate in vacation mode all the time.

I don’t know about you, but vacation mode is exhausting! Running around trying to accomplish the most you can in the shortest amount of time possible.

But I figured something out this week. This vacation mode tactic is necessary when the work starts piling up. (Or as my Team Leader Brian Icenhower says, “pushing the chaos forward.”)

I have found some success in the Pomodoro Technique. “Pomodoro” is Italian for tomato. The story goes that Francesco Cirillo was a college kid in the ’90’s and used his mother’s kitchen timer (which was shaped like a tomato) to track his work.

Read more about the the Pomodoro Technique here.

It boils down to this: set a timer 25 minutes and for that time, you focus on nothing else but the task at hand. Then you take a five-minute break.

This is where setting deadlines comes into play.

For example, if your task is to send out a mailing, figure out how many Pomodoros it will take you to complete the task. The first time you do this, you are just going to have to guess based on your past experience with how long it takes to send out said mailing.

Let’s say you estimate two Pomodoros which is one hour. (25 + 5) x 2 = 60. Yay math! Now you have your deadline.

If you REALLY want to make sure you don’t miss your deadline. install a consequence. Promise another team member that you will wash her car or promise to buy lunch for everyone on your team. Now you have a compelling reason to finish on time.

The Pomodoro Technique works quite well with time blocking since that’s essentially what it is. But this is time blocking plus. I’ll think you’ll find with the added layers of a timer and a deadline, you will find that you get more out of your blocked time.

Try the Pomodoro Technique on your next project and tell me how you like it!

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Connect with me…I’m always happy to hear from you! Just send an email to egilbert@kw.com.


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