How a 6 Minute Timer Helped Me Get Stuff Done

There have been many times in my past when I’ve let projects build up. Whether it’s housework or creative projects, at times, I’ve drifted away from showing up to do the work. When I finally decide that it’s time to roll up my sleeves and get back at it, I look at what needs to be done and I get overwhelmed. I think to myself “How am I ever going to do this?”

The work doesn’t go away, so I had to figure out a technique that would help me tackle it.

One article that appealed to me was about doing work in a 48 minutes segment and allowing 12 minutes of rest for each hour.

By The original uploader was Erato at Italian Wikinews - Transferred from it.wikinews to Commons by Fale using CommonsHelper., CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

By The original uploader was Erato at Italian Wikinews – Transferred from it.wikinews to Commons by Fale using CommonsHelper., CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Not bad, but even 48 minutes seemed too much for me. Then I started to break that 48 minutes down into chunks that I could work with.

I discovered that I could focus on anything for 6 minutes at a time. Once I did six minutes I’d check off a little box. Then I thought “Well, I can do another 6 minutes.” And I’d do it.

Before I knew it, I had hit 48 minutes and it was time for a 12 minute break and I had some work completed.

I’ve used different timers over the last year. Currently I’m working with the Pomodoro Time app which is based on the  Pomodoro Technique (pomodoro is Italian for “tomato”). This technique uses different time increments, but I can adjust it to my 6 minute segments.

I realize that I have tackled daunting tasks in the past, by just doing the work in little chunks.

A few years ago I was hired to be part of Castle Fantasy Fair at the Royal Theatre at Disneyland. A fun musical comedy style retelling of classic Disney stories like Beauty and the Beast and Tangled. I was grateful to be a part of this cast, but there was a challenge. I could do comedy, I could sing. However I’d never really done musical theatre dancing. I wasn’t sure how well I would do.

At the time, I paired up with a friend of mine who had also been hired, Mark McConville (from Superego), and together the two of us worked our tails off to get those routines down. I would film the other actors and choreographers performing the dances and I would go over and over and over it again. I would use my breaks. I would play the video in slow motion so I could build the routine into my body.

There were some days where I felt I would never get it. And then, slowly, it started working and I was put into regular rotation for the show.

I have such an appreciation for the celebrities that go on “Dancing with the Stars” who don’t know the first thing about dancing. I have gone through it myself.

But with continuous effort, focus, and just taking it a little bit at a time, that which looked unattainable and impossible was done.

I encourage you that if you are facing a task that looks to big, try the 6 minute technique. You’ll slowly start to make a dent in whatever it is that’s been looming over you.

I promise, you will make progress and you’ll feel better.

Do you use different techniques for tackling projects? If so feel free to share on my Facebook page.

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