How long does it take you to complete your most dreaded “Vegetable” task on your to-do list? Easy, mindless Vegetable tasks are the easiest to put off because they “just take a few minutes.” However, if you knew exactly how little time they took, you’d be more likely to just get them over with.
While many people resolved to eat healthier in 2012, my time management resolution is to stay on top of my Vegetable tasks before they build up and become more difficult Meat tasks.
The tasks I chose to tackle are keeping my office and kitchen clean. Filing a paper, or putting a bowl in the dishwasher hardly takes any time at all, but when I’m faced with a long afternoon of work to do, tidying up is the last thing on my mind.
But we all know how that story ends don’t we? Pretty soon, it isn’t just one bowl, it is a sink full of dishes. Pretty soon, it isn’t just one paper, it is a whole stack of papers. Then I’m left with two messes that will take a more substantial amount of time to tackle. My two easy Vegetables tasks have become Meats.
How Long Things Actually Take
Well this year is going to be different.
It takes exactly 10 seconds to file a piece of a paper.
It takes 6 seconds to put a dish in the dishwasher.
I know this because I timed myself.
Now, when I go to set a document down on my desk, instead of telling myself: “This will only take a minute to file. I’ll do it later.” I will instead say, “It takes 10 seconds to open the filing cabinet and put this away. I’m going to do it now.”
Why This Works
When we really don’t want to do something, we start to convince ourselves that things take longer than they actually do. If we know the exact amount of time it takes to complete a task, it is easier to find the motivation to do it.
This year, pick your most annoying Vegetable, whether it is for work, home, or school, and time how long it actually takes you to complete. Then, when you catch yourself trying to put it off, ask yourself if it’s really worth saving it until “later” and letting it become a Meat task, or is it better to just take the allotted time now and finish it.
Good luck with your Vegetables and Happy New Year!
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