(10+2)x5: A time-management technique for finishing work you hate

This hack is a time management technique from Merlin Mann, and the idea is to help you get through a task you really don't want to do, or to get started on a project that seems overwhelming.

Required materials: a countdown timer that can be set for varying lengths of time

  1. Set your timer for 10 minutes
  2. For 10 minutes, concentrate exclusively on your task. It's likely that you won't finish your task in this time, but promise that you'll work 10 straight minutes on it.
  3. When the timer goes off, stop working. Reset the timer for 2 minutes.
  4. For 2 minutes, goof off however you'd like. Many people take the opportunity to check up on Facebook/Twitter, to read some webcomics, or to step away from the desk for a beverage
  5. When the timer goes off, stop whatever you're doing. Reset the timer for 10 minutes.
Repeat the process 5 times to have completed an hour's worth of work without having ever had to do more than 10 minute's worth at a time.

The other benefit to this hack is that a timer goes off every 10 minutes. So if you did get distracted while you were supposed to be working on your primary task, the longest the distraction can last is 10 minutes.

Doesn't sound like you? Go back to Time Management Hacks and look for a time management technique that fits you better.

Not sure how it fits into your time management style? Learn how to design your own Time Management Solution