Productivity hacks for entrepreneurs

What time management guru David Allen got wrong

David Allen is a well-respected time management guru and his book “Getting Things Done” has set the standard for professionals for over 15 years.

When I read it in the early days of my business, I applied his principles with much success.

I still follow his recommendation of doing a “brain dump” when I’m feeling unfocused and overwhelmed. He recommends writing down EVERYTHING on your mind, no matter how big or small, so that you can relieve your brain clutter and get it down on paper.

From there you’ll be able to organize it by priority, freeing you up to take action.

He also said that you should immediately complete any task that takes less than two minutes. The idea is that setting it aside to do later will only add to your future task list. And heck, if it’s only two minutes, it will barely be a blip in your day. Right?

Mr. Allen must have written his book before email was really a thing.

At least 50% of the 354 emails in my inbox qualify as a “two-minute task.” Which means that if I sat down right now to handle them I’d be working for the next six hours! It also doesn’t take into consideration how many of those “two-minute tasks” actually generate more work as a result of completing them.

I used to wander aimlessly into my day, starting with all those two-minute emails. I’d end the day not being able to articulate exactly what I had gotten done. It left me feeling unsatisfied, like I’d wasted my time and had little to show for it.

When I finally figured out what my best method of working for maximum productivity was, I was able to take control of my day.

One method I use is to “time batch” those two-minute tasks. I allocate a certain amount of time on my calendar (typically one to two hours) specifically to get through small tasks. The trick is to actually honor that time as non-negotiable.

It could take some time to shift your process from letting those small tasks clutter your day to feeling in control of your time. Stick with it and you’ll be sure to see results.

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