Let me paint you a picture: You’re working from home. You can’t focus for more than 3 minutes at a time before reaching for your phone, typing in twitter or sephora.com and you think “if I restructure my week, I can push these last few things off until tomorrow”. Stop right there, put down the phone and close hm.com. Disclaimer: This is not the strategy for you if you have your productivity sorted and are already working well past your requirements for the day.
Here’s what you’re going to do. Stand up and go get something, anything. A glass of water, a lip balm, take a bathroom break. Now that you’ve stood up for even a minute, sit back down and do just one more thing off your list for the day. (If your list consists of larger projects, break it down into tiny steps and do one of those.) Your one more thing could be sending an email you’ve been pushing off or reading one more section, anything really. Then after that, re-evaluate. How did that feel? Did you get a tiny burst of energy and productivity? Does it feel good to have one less thing to do tomorrow?
Now, repeat it. Ask yourself if you can do just one more thing (or just 15 more minutes). Think about how lovely it would feel to wake up tomorrow with a little less on your to-do list. Look at the clock and ask yourself “how about just one more thing?” Look at you go! You’ve just finished two more things off your list for the day!
How I Use It
I have found this really helpful for lightening the load for the end of the week and working with that early-week surge of energy. Monday-Wednesday I always have so much motivation to do my work and get things done but Thursday and Friday? Not so much. Lately at the end of the day, I’ll ask myself if I can do one more thing to make my list a little shorter for the next day. 9 times out of 10 I do the thing and feel so much better after. By Friday, I have 4 less things on my list!
I have similarly adapted this to keeping other areas of my life in order lately. Every night before bed, I pick 3 things that are out of place and put them where they need to be. Examples include filling up the water-filter pitcher, folding the blankets on the couch, or putting my keys where they normally live. Waking up to even a tiny bit less mess has made my mornings much more pleasant.