H4: Head, Heart, Hands & Health: The power of a minute… or 25

Does the concept of a Power Hour overwhelm you? Do you feel it is impossible to set aside an entire hour to devote to uninterrupted focus? Not to worry! Even dedicating just a few minutes a day to tackle your biggest projects can be enough to check them off of your to do list. Any of the following methods can be used to tackle any task from household chores to homework to that big project your boss assigned to you. The 25 Minute Marathon: This method is perfect for breaking up large projects into smaller more manageable tasks. It will leave you feeling productive and bring the large project one step closer to being complete. The Pomodoro technique is used here by setting a timer for a specific period of time (in this case 25 minutes) to complete as much of your task as possible. Once the timer sounds, walk away from your task for a short five minute break. You can choose to return to the task at hand or give your brain a break and set the timer to accomplish a less demanding task. If you have worked for four consecutive rounds, give yourself a 20 minute break to take a walk or some other enjoyable task. The 10 to 15 Minute Fix: There are three ways to approach a 10 to 15 minute focus block—communications, organization or mini-marathon. Mini-marathon is structured just like the 25 Minute Marathon, but is only set to a 10-15 minute block. Communications is another obvious definition— return messages, check emails or some other form of communication necessary to accomplish your daily tasks (yes this can include social media and blogs). Using this time for organizing and prioritizing your tasks can be the most beneficial use of a small block. If you are organized and you know what order you need to accomplish things in, you are more likely to complete your tasks more effectively and efficiently. List all of the tasks you need to accomplish; sort them in order of urgency by long term, short term or immediate; then rank them in order from most impactful to least impactful. Once you have prioritized the importance of each task, write out a list of these items in the order they need to be done (i.e. immediate most impactful would be number one) and physically check them off as you accomplish each one. The simple act of checking things off can in itself bring a great sense of accomplishment. The Five Minute Finish: For those times you are feeling unmotivated, burned out, or completely overwhelmed the Five Minute Finish is the best to regain your stride. Pick any task, large or small, and start working on it. Promise yourself you can stop in five minutes if you just attempt working on the task for those few minutes. Often times you will find that you flow right past that five minute mark and finish the task without a bit of stress. On the days that five minutes are all you can take and you find yourself feeling unproductive, stop! Don’t work just to look like you are working. Take this time to answer emails or return messages or accomplish other minor tasks. Forcing yourself to be productive often leads to just the opposite.

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