How to accomplish 30 hours of work in 6 hours

17 replies
So we all know the importance of having a to-do list staring us in the face, a way to be organized, and also a way to hold ourselves accountable. Well, I've been experimenting with a little addition to my lists and it has been helping.

Now, I don't know about you, but personally, a lot of the things on my to-do list tend to take longer to accomplish than I expect, especially the ones that involve some form of learning or activity which isn't fully ingrained in my skillset.

Well, now I've figured out how to get those things done without dread, without worries of it tying up too much time, etc. What I've done is to write down an expected "time for completion" next to each and every thing on my list.

For example, taken from my list for today:

Recrown the guitar. I thought it should take me 90 minutes, but it's not something I do frequently and there's bound to be added little annoyances once I dig into the project. So I allotted myself 5 hours. I figured, even if I have to run to the store for something, or go to a friend's house to borrow something, there's no way I wouldn't complete it in 5 hours. That was the worst case scenario.

Clean bathroom. Ok. That's usually about 30 minutes and it's particularly messy right now, so let's call it 45 minutes. So I budgeted 2.5 hours.

At the end of the day, I've accomplished WAY more than 24 hours of work and still have time to sleep.

I think the key is to keep yourself from getting frustrated when you get tied down to a long project, when you start to go over your budgeted time allotment and suddenly that list starts being a negative influence. So by giving yourself ample cushion to avoid the worst case scenarios, you'll find yourself always finishing ahead of schedule, getting that positive reinforcement; never dreading those "longer tasks" on your list, because now they offer the most opportunity to shave time off.

Another key to this is: Unless you expect from the start to spread it out over several days, don't start a project without adequate time to finish it. Ok, that 2 hour project that you really think will take 20 minutes? Well, if you don't have 2 hours (or close to it), don't try to squeeze it in. Don't force it into a 30 minute block of time if you aren't absolutely convinced you will finish it. Projects gone cold are like leftovers - nobody likes them. Nobody likes what we've already chosen to leave behind. So make sure you have ample time. And DELIVER! With time to spare.
#accomplish #hours #work
  • Profile picture of the author ColeWriting
    I really like this idea. I find myself making a tight schedule or no schedule at all. It is either one way or the other for me, and I feel as if my productivity is not where I want it to be.

    I am going to try this time budgeting idea tomorrow.

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    • Profile picture of the author Benny L
      Cool. Here's a few more thoughts about it...

      Plan for the worst case scenarios (well, maybe not the WORST, but close to it). Make it so that over-delivering on your time estimates becomes the norm. I mean, our clients like when we under-promise and over-deliver, right? Well WE OURSELVES LIKE IT TOO! So set yourself up for success. In a way, it's like treating yourself as a client.

      I wouldn't tell my client I could clean his bathroom in 30 minutes, so why would I tell myself that? I say, "Ok. If I have two hours to do it, it's gonna get done easily within that time frame, no matter what."

      And if things go according to plan, you have 90 free minutes to bank towards whatever you wish... maybe knock something else off your list. And if difficulties arise and you can't knock it out quickly, you haven't failed to deliver, you haven't failed to meet your expectations, and you still budgeted enough time to accomplish your task. We all know sometimes there are surprises in life. So instead of thinking like an optimist, think like a skilled contractor. Build the unknowns into your estimate... so that you can confidently deliver every time.

      And when it gets to the end of the night, and you're going to bed in 30 minutes, and nothing on your list takes less than an hour.. maybe you'll prime a task for tomorrow, get the necessary supplies together so you're ready to go - be planning and prepping for your next steps. I can't speak for you, but personally, when I prime myself to complete something it goes a lot smoother. And sure, that is ABSOLUTELY considered cheating on your list. And so what? Smirk and feel naughty for scheming to beat yourself at your own game. Go to bed at night, giddy at the thought of kicking your list's ass tomorrow... because you're ahead of the game.
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  • Profile picture of the author mert
    It's like getting fit - you need to breathe, eat and live it. You don't just do it for 1 or 2 months and you're forever done. I boils down to discipline. I like your thoughts and ideas, simple and straight forward.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tiptopcat
    It is hard to get out of the mindset of setting such tight deadlines for your tasks. Just like you said, things usually take longer that you estimate, especially when you are attempting to do something that you don't do that often. This means sort of relearning how to do that task and then actually doing it.

    I like the idea of over estimating the time needed. Then if you get it done quicker, you feel so much happier.
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  • Profile picture of the author aerm85
    Thanks for this idea... I'll try to start tomorrow ... Thanks for share it !!!

    Please do not use affiliate links in signatures

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  • Profile picture of the author GT
    Hello, Benny:

    Great personal insight and recommendations. I believe in to-do lists, and I agree that better defined it is, the more productive you will be: in other words, if you set timelines and limits for certain tasks, you will have greater motivation to achieve them.

    I am definitely much more productive and efficient on the days when I make a clear list and set some time expectations.


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  • Profile picture of the author webcosmo
    30 hours in 6 hours is very possible, if you have a magic wand or at least a "stop time" ring
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    • Profile picture of the author Benny L
      I'm still feeling good about the time limitations.. pushing me harder.
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  • Profile picture of the author conanedo
    hahaha i like your idea and it's feel lift my stress a lot

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  • Profile picture of the author Benny L
    I'm no car mechanic, but I know a bit about wrenching on cars. I had to replace an O2 sensor. It was an easy job, but anything involving a car can easily become complicated if you aren't a professional shop with fancy equipment. So I budgeted 2.5 hours.

    I got the thing replaced in 40 minutes, no problem, but the Check Engine Light was still on. This is normal. You have to drive the car for awhile to get it to turn off. So I used it as an excuse to drive all the way to the fancy liquor store the next town over. They didn't have what I wanted, but their other store, 15 miles farther away, did. So I said, "That's cool. No, don't order it. I'll drive there and pick it up." I drove there, got my bottle of Rhum Barbancourt 15 year old rum (Amazing stuff!!!!) and drove home.

    2 blocks from home, my Check Engine Light finally turned off. Total time spent replacing the O2 sensor and driving a few towns over and back? About 2.5 hours.

    So I didn't beat my time estimate. I came in right on schedule.... But I managed to get some tasty rum out of the deal, had a pleasant drive, and avoided having to take my car in to the mechanic. Actually, the cost of the rum was about the same as the cost of having the mechanic swap the sensor himself.

    In essence, I used the "cushion" built into my time estimate to do a little extra for me. And I feel particularly good about it... no doubt, due to having a glass or two of the rum once I got home.

    I'm looking at this example as: no time wasted at the auto shop, no particular time savings overall, but I got a "free" bottle of $50 rum out of the deal that would have otherwise gone to pay a mechanic. I won't complain about that.
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  • Profile picture of the author techbul
    At the end of the day, you still have to spend the same amount of time no matter how long or short you perceive it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Benny L
      Originally Posted by techbul View Post

      At the end of the day, you still have to spend the same amount of time no matter how long or short you perceive it.
      Oh. Were you expecting an actual time machine delivered direct to your door merely for clicking on this thread title? Of course I'm not warping the space-time continuum here. That should go without saying.

      The point of this thread, and what I'm getting at, is that when we let items on our to-do list slide, they become negative influences, they harangue us with our own failures to accomplish things. But if you give yourself generous time constraints, and are REALISTIC about the chances of coming across difficult obstacles along the way, and account for them in an analytical manner, your chances of success increase and you feel better, and more inclined to push yourself onward, as a result.

      I've started adding 30 minutes to any task I considered undertaking and decided against because it seemed unappealing. Cleaning the bathroom is now up to 3 hours. If I do it today, I get an extra 30 minutes of "accomplishment" merely because I didn't feel like doing it when it was listed at 2.5 hours. It's just like any contractor. The stuff you don't like to do? You increase your bid....
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      • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
        Originally Posted by Benny L View Post

        Oh. Were you expecting an actual time machine delivered direct to your door merely for clicking on this thread title? Of course I'm not warping the space-time continuum here. That should go without saying.
        I seriously doubt if that's what he was expecting, and I'm sure you know that. I think what he was getting at is that you're simply playing mind games with yourself.

        Of course, you have every right to do that, but in doing so, you are training your subconscious mind in ways you may not realize, may not intend, and may not desire.

        Just when you think you've got it all figured out, someone changes the rules.

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  • Profile picture of the author PinkVelvet
    Well, that is a good idea. When it comes to cleaning though - I have no problem with this. What I do is clean as I go along - especially if I am in the kitchen, bathroom or living room. I always clean up after myself and if I see something slightly out of place, I'll move or clean it.

    If you are cooking, it is a good idea to clean up the dishes while you wait for the food to cook. This way, after you eat - you don't have to feel like you are the dreaded maid. On top of that, cleaning on a full stomach isn't always fun.

    Benny, I think you are right about this. If we have too many online projects, we look at these and become overwhelmed. I tend to spread out projects over a few days if I have tons of orders to go through. Otherwise, if I just have one or two projects - I'll complete one project in the morning and another in the evening.

    The rest of my time is spent with my husband since I barely get to see him that much. He works at two different jobs for a total of 13-14 hours a day. I want to teach him how to be a marketer online or learn how to sell things on E-Bay. Only problem is - He's far from a writer since he just became fluent in English but I've helped him a lot throughout our four year marriage. I was born here in the USA and I am italian/french but only know English and can understand Spanish although I'm still learning to speak it. He was born in Peru and is fluent in both English and Spanish.

    Yeah, a to-do-list could sometimes harm us. We'll look at that and feel that we have too many projects but if you are someone who tends to forget everything, you will still need it. Lmao... hey, a time machine would be nice!
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  • Profile picture of the author a1pena
    For me it is focusing on what will bring me the biggest ROI on my time investment. And actually putting a value on time. Once i realize i am not putting in the time i need to =. I can calculate how much i would potentially lose. Works for me.
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  • Profile picture of the author Natniszakov
    Great point of view.
    If you consider the distractions that can come up in the middle of the tasks, they are definitely going to take longer.
    Worst case scenario should help, at least at the beggining, once you are more disciplined and organized, you should reduce the time of every task, slowly. You are going to be more disciplined and productive as the time goes by.

    Nat Niszakov

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  • Profile picture of the author WeavingThoughts
    Spend 1 hour finding people.

    Spend another 2 hours training them.

    Spend 2 hours supervising them.

    1 hour buffer.

    I know it is easier said than done and rather impractical since you are talking of hours.

    Just a little joke from my side
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