Get More Done Faster by Timing Tasks

posted by Jennifer McClure on May 6, 2013 6 Comments

How long does it really take to do those jobs, chores and tasks we like the very least? I’ve learned for myself that they often seem to take much longer than they really do, and recently I was able to help my daughter try this out for herself.

Joy, my 9-year-old, really dislikes helping with the dinner dishes. When it’s her turn for loading the dishwasher, she is typically distracted, pokes along, and procrastinates. I really do get it – I sometimes do the same thing about tasks that I dislike! 

Time the tasks you like the least. How long does it really take?

Last week, there were several things she needed to accomplish (including loading the dishwasher) in a small window of time. I don’t recall exactly what she had asked to do… Watch a TV show? Eat ice cream? Whatever it was, she needed to complete her responsibilities in 15 minutes in order to have time for the goodies she wanted. We set the timer, and she was astonished to see that when she focused it only took three minutes to load the dishwasher. Three minutes! 

She was pretty excited to find out it can be done so quickly, and it’s really helped her focus on getting the job done and out of the way. No more dilly-dallying at dish time! It was a good lesson for her and a good reminder for me. When we time our most pesky to-dos, it’s surprising to find how quickly we really can check off those annoying tasks!

What tasks do you dread doing? Next time you’re faced with one of them, pull out a timer and see how long it really takes. You just might surprise yourself, and be more motivated to tackle the task the next time it finds it’s way on your to-do list!

Happy Organizing!

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  • May 6, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    This is a good tip, I’ll have to try using a timer. It seems like I’m constantly getting distracted from the task at hand, and it takes FOREVER to get the simplest tasks done.

    May 12, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    You’re not alone Sarisa… I’ll also buy this timer.

    • May 7, 2013 at 8:55 am

      I do this all the time! In fact, this is a blog of mine coming up! Love your blog!

      • May 11, 2013 at 6:41 pm

        Timers are wonderful. It always seems to be those tasks we put off take the least amount of time. Great reminder and a wonderful lesson from a 9 year old :)

        • May 12, 2013 at 7:19 am

          I used to hate unloading the dishwasher until I realiezed it took less than five minutes to do. Now I recognize that it is a simple thing that I can get off my list quickly! Now if only grocery shopping and putting away the groceries really only took fifteen minutes…

          • May 14, 2013 at 11:50 am

            That’s a pretty great idea to encourage little ones to do things quicker and not be so pokey. I’ve been there before though – I used to hate anything that had to do with dishes.