My Latest Productivity Hack: The 10-Minute To-Do List

I'm a to-do list freak.

So here's me. I love getting things done. I'm just one of those people who has to get moving and productive each and every day or I start going nuts.

But...I tend to make long to-do lists and then get bogged down in the details as I work on each one, and then feel frustrated I didn't make more progress on my list that day.

So, I invented the 10-Minute To-Do List concept, which works wonders for me in staying focused and getting things done.



Here's how it works. 


1. I make my list. Anything and everything I would like to get done that day can go on it.

2. I select and circle the 6 top things. I call these the "Power Hour" items, because 6 x 10 minutes = one hour. Note: it takes longer than an hour to accomplish the Power Hour, but I'll explain more about that in a minute.


3. When I'm ready to start my Power Hour, I set a timer for 10 minutes and tackle something on the list. No distractions, no side quests, just 100% focus on that item. When the timer goes off, I stop right where I am unless I'm on a call or the fabric of the universe depends upon me finishing up something in a way that makes sense. So let's say I'm vacuuming. I may only get two rooms done. Fine. I will usually pile the cord out of the way and leave the vacuum cleaner in that room so I can come back to it tomorrow. In another couple of days I'll have the whole house vacuumed and be feeling great about my housecleaning prowess.

4. I set the timer for another 10 minutes and move on to the next item on my list, and proceed like so until all 6 Power Hour items have been started, maybe finished, or at least touched upon.

Sometimes this 10-minute start is all I need to get started on a nagging project that I've been wanting to get done for weeks, and if I have extra time that day, I may keep going on that item after the Power Hour.

I can normally knock out at least two or three items completely in their 10-minute sessions, and other things, like vacuuming the whole house, will need another 10 minutes or so the next day.

And back to why a "Power Hour" takes longer than an hour. Though I love the game of trying to go straight from one thing to the next, I always need a little bit of transition time between to-do list items. I have to go back and look at my list, and I might need a drink of water, or it takes me an extra minute to finish something up completely, etc. But I'm okay with spending 70 minutes a day to knock out a long list. If I truly only have an hour that day, hey, at least I'll get five things knocked out, and that feels great too. I have also been known to do Power Half-Hours, if I don't have time or inclination for more.

To-Do list items that work well for me with this system are any kind of housecleaning and organizing, paperwork completion or gathering, certain phone calls and other business, and email clean-outs. I love putting things on the list that I've been procrastinating or dreading doing, because it is a game to me to see how much I can get done in 10 minutes, six times in a row. (I know, I'm probably too easily entertained. Ha.)

I don't want to spend all day every day on these types of to-dos. I have many other things I'd rather be doing. But if I spend zero time on these boring items, they pile up and pile up until I HAVE to spend an entire day on them, or, God forbid, an entire weekend. The 10-Minute To-Do List "Power Hour" is an effective solution for me, and I love it!

An early concept cover for my assassin series. Both twins are on this cover--Yavi is in the background in shadow.

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