Be productive – Get everything done in one morning

Have you ever heard of Parkinson’s Law? I’m not talking about the chat show host Michael Parkinson by the way! Parkinson’s Law basically suggests that if you give somebody a week to do a particular task, they will take the whole week to complete it. If however you said it needed to be in by the end of the day, then they would complete it in that much shorter time frame.

It’s rather ridiculous that somebody at some point decided the normal working day should be 8 hours long, starting at 9 and finishing at 5. It is something that was probably originally in place for factory workers, but I’m not sure if it is really relevant to the typical office situation of today.

Do you really think you are fully productive for the hours you are at work? Quite often, people drift through the day without really making a conscious effort to get as much done as they can in a short period of time. The reason why deadlines are often effective is because people have a definite goal to work towards, and it gets the brain fired up and into gear to get the job done.

First of all, it is worth identifying whether you are a morning person or an afternoon / evening person. You will probably know the answer straight away whether you are somebody who is more productive in the morning or not. Make sure you do the bulk of your work during a period when your brain is most alert, and allocate the other times for things like answering emails or for reading.

The next thing to understand is the brain can only work at its full capacity for a given period of time before it needs a short rest. This doesn’t mean that you can’t work for long hours, but you just need to refresh your brain with quick bursts of down time.

The most effective way of applying this technique is to use a stop watch, which you should be able to access on a phone or on a website like, the first chunk of work is going to be for 50 minutes, so set the stop watch ready to go.

Next, get everything you need ready so you are not wasting time getting prepared, start the timer and now do your work in a concentrated manner. You want to put yourself in a slightly frantic state, as if you are really pushed to get it finished for a looming deadline. Don’t confuse frantic with panic as you can’t think properly when you are panicking. Instead, just really focus on getting the job done well but briskly at the same time.

It is very important during this working period that you have no distractions and you don’t pause to do other things. Don’t answer your work phone if possible, don’t flick back to your email, don’t quickly look something up on the internet that just popped into your head. Every time you do this, it will take you longer to get your brain back to full capacity again.

Once the alarm goes off at the 50 minute mark, set the timer for 10 minutes and start the time running again. These 10 minutes are for resting, and it is very important you don’t do a stitch of work during that period, or anything taxing to the brain. It could either be making a coffee, or a quick browse on the Internet, or just sitting quietly having a moment to yourself.

Once the 10 minutes is up, you repeat the sequence again; 50 minutes of focused work followed by 10 minutes down time.

Once you have repeated the sequence twice, you need to take a proper break, ideally an hour which could be for taking lunch or taking time away from your desk.

If the task is not yet complete, then you simply repeat the sequence again for the afternoon, or evening. With that said, you will be amazed at just how much you will be able to do if you apply yourself properly. You are likely to find that you can do a normal day’s work in half the time.

This technique is not a new one but was brought to my attention by a successful entrepreneur called John Reese who is an expert in online marketing, outsourcing and productivity.

Try this technique at the next opportunity and see how amazingly effective it can be.

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