Can Time Warrior Principles Help You Get More Done?

Can Time Warrior Principles Help You Get More Done?

Time Warrior book

This is Week 10 of a Year of Living Productively

This week I tested several of the principles outlined in the Time Warrior by Steve Chandler. Specifically, I focused my thoughts on the present task and used action to prevent procrastination. Scroll to the bottom of last week’s post for details.

How the Time Warrior Saved My Sanity This Week

  • Reinforced the power of action. There were a number of times I found myself sitting and stewing about something. My usual m.o. when I have a problem is to think about it, Google it, and talk about it. You can imagine how low my productivity is when I’m in this mode. There’s nothing wrong with problem-solving, but taking action is much better for my mood and certainly better for my productivity. I wish I could say I was batting a thousand in this area this week, but I can at least say I spent less time mulling things over and more time doing things.
  • Helped me recognize the role of thinking in productivity. I had a challenging week physically and emotionally, but I got to experience the huge impact my thinking has on my ability to get things done. The less I do, the worse I feel. The more I think about my problems, the less I do. I’ve known this truth for a long time, but this week reinforced the lesson.

How the Time Warrior Made Me Crazy This Week

  • Not a fun new technique. The nine previous weeks, I had something new to do. This week I just had something new to think. While I think this cognitive strategy has more potential to improve my productivity than anything else I will try, it’s not the most motivating initially.
  • Not well physically. I’ve been battling fatigue, making this a very difficult week to work on my productivity. However, it’s probably the ideal test for me.

Did the Time Warrior Help Me Get More Done?

Yes. Did I have one of my most productive weeks yet? No. But I got more done this week by far than if I had not been focusing on taking action and adopting a present focus. I believe that with time, this attitude has great potential to improve my productivity.

 

 

 

**UPDATE**

While I honestly never think of the Time Warrior book per se, the truth of accomplishment being the best cure for malaise has become entrenched in my thinking.

SmartPad

The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 11

This week I’ll be using the principle of scheduling my tasks. I’ll be using the SmartPad and SmartDayPro apps to implement it.

The concept. Research is convincing that deciding when you’ll do something dramatically increases the likelihood that you’ll do it. However, the problem with the studies is usually they’re examining the likelihood of subjects doing a task or two. People like you and I would be scheduling multiple tasks. So does the benefit of allocating a time for them disappear? We’ll see.

There’s another potential benefit of scheduling multiple tasks, however. Scheduling requires an estimate of time needed that is used to determine how many tasks can be completed on a given day. The pie-in-the-sky productivity hopes of people like yours truly disappear when confronted with the cold, hard truth of a schedule. Difficult decisions about what won’t be done today can be made with the added inspiration of realizing that not even the scheduled tasks can be completed if you indulge in an extended web vacation. I know I’m not the only one who takes them! The iOS apps from Left Coast Logic automatically squeeze your tasks into your schedule (though you can easily rearrange them). The red line that moves through your agenda along with the clock, eliminating potential tasks when others aren’t completed on time, is very motivating.

If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Determine a method of scheduling each day’s tasks. You could use a paper or digital calendar or an app like SmartTimePro. Scheduling should be done daily to accommodate changes that come up. Estimate how much time each task will take. I like to over-estimate, doubling estimates that are less than an hour. Be sure your appointments and breaks are on the calendar (keeping your working hours in mind), then add your tasks to the schedule. Refer to the schedule throughout the day as you work.

Click here to see how my week of scheduling with SmartPad went.

If you’ve tried Time Warrior principles to increase your productivity, please vote in the poll below.

Here are the links to the productivity hacks I’ve tried so far: A Year of Living Productively

Week 1: Paper To-Do List

Week 2: Covey’s Quadrants

Week 3: Routines

Week 4: Paper Planner

Week 5: SMEMA

Week 6: Guilt Hour

Week 7: Envision Ideal Day

Week 8: Do it Tomorrow

Week 9: Pomodoro

read more
Can the Pomodoro Technique Help You Get More Done?

Can the Pomodoro Technique Help You Get More Done?

pomodoro-technique

This is Week 9 of a Year of Living Productively

This week I tested the Pomodoro Technique by planning my tasks in order of importance, estimating how many Pomodoros each would take, and then working for 25-minute periods followed by 5-minute breaks. Scroll to the bottom of last week’s post to read more. 

How the Pomodoro Technique Saved My Sanity This Week

  • Helped me think about what I wanted to accomplish. At least it did for the ONE day that I used the technique completely as written in the free PDF. I liked having a plan for the day. I felt a sense of peace in knowing that the must-do tasks were on my list in order of importance.
  • Helped me keep internal distractions under control. Knowing that I could do what I wanted after a solid period of work helped me not to give in to the temptation to web surf before doing what needed done.

How the Pomodoro Technique Made Me Crazy This Week

  • Breaks too short. Five minutes wasn’t enough to do anything satisfying. I think this would be perfect for a traditional desk job, however.
  • Rigid rules. If a Pomodoro ends early, you’re supposed to review your work until the timer goes off. Really? I decided to take a longer break. If you get interrupted, you’re supposed to start the timer over. Again, really? In a house with six kids and a husband? I’d work all day and get no Pomodoro credit. I also really hated having to work each task to completion in order, rather than having the choice to do a little in whatever order as I did with DIT.
  • Confusing record keeping. I estimated the number of Pomodoros each task would require, then realized I could knock out two tasks simultaneously. I found myself moving back and forth between the two tasks. How many Pomodoros should each get? I had no idea.

Did the Pomodoro Technique Help Me Get More Done?

Yes and no. Using the technique as written helped me focus for several hours and then I was ready to scream because of the arbitrary nature of it. Using a 50-minute work period followed by a ten-minute break works beautifully for me, however. If I am not rigid about it and I ignore every other aspect of the technique, it works for me.

**UPDATE**

I rarely set a timer these days for work, because I am using time blocking instead. If I had to tackle something really unappealing, I would definitely rely on it, but I have been motivated in my work for quite some time. I do think it’s a great approach.

Time Warrior book

The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 10

This week I’ll be using the principles of Time Warrior by Steve Chandler–a cognitive approach to productivity. 

The concept. As a psychologist, I know that the way we think about productivity is much more important than how we choose to manage our tasks. Despite the book being full of New Age philosophy that is at odds with my faith, Time Warrior is also full of great advice for getting things done.

Chandler’s approach can be summarized as: do what you know you need to do now, even if that’s at odds with your thoughts and feelings.

This approach addresses the feeling of overwhelm. He writes, “You are not, in this hour we’ve chosen to look at, at all overwhelmed, are you? Not in this particular hour. But your story is that you are. You can drop that story. You can tell a different story. Try this story: ‘I’ve only got one thing to do! How liberating. It’s the thing I’m doing right now.'”

This approach eliminates mental time wasters. Chandler explains,  “To really live now there are two things I want to phase out of my life forever: (1) Resentments about the past and (2) Worries about the future. These two activities, strengthened by repeated indulgence, are like hagfish. Hagfish? Many people don’t know what hagfish are, but they are just like worries and resentments. In the real, undersea world, hagfish are blind, slimy, deepwater eel-like creatures that dart into the orifices of their prey and devour them, alive, from the inside. Kill the hagfish in your life. Then you can live now and maybe procrastinate later.”

This approach defeats procrastination. The Time Warrior argues, “The main reason people have a problem with procrastination is that they don’t see the connection between completing something and having new, fresh energy come out of that. They actually imagine that working on this thing and finishing it would drain even more of their energy and they get tired just thinking about it, so they don’t complete it…If procrastination is occurring, do the things you are procrastinating on. It’s a very simple cure and it’s the last thing people really want to do because they don’t really want to cure procrastination. They want to find some mysterious psychotic fault line in themselves that causes them to procrastinate and then try to examine that fault line (even if it takes years) rather than do the thing.”

If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Stay focused on doing things now. Go to war with past resentments, future worries, or negative thinking that keeps you stuck. Write down the negative thoughts you keep returning to so you can challenge them. Try to accomplish as many things as you can to increase your energy and to put an end to your personal story that you’re a victim of procrastination. Of course, if you want more, you can pick up a copy of Time Warrior {Amazon affiliate link}.

To see how my week using the Time Warrior went, click here.
.

If you’ve tried the Pomodoro Technique to increase your productivity, please vote in the poll below.

Here are the links to the productivity hacks I’ve tried so far:

A Year of Living Productively

Week 1: Paper To-Do List

Week 2: Covey’s Quadrants

Week 3: Routines

Week 4: Paper Planner

Week 5: SMEMA

Week 6: Guilt Hour

Week 7: Envision Ideal Day

Week 8: Do it Tomorrow

 

read more

Pin It on Pinterest