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2 Simple Ways to Build Fast Action into Your Tasks

Picture yourself taking a car ride.  Sometimes, you want to take a Sunday trip and take the most scenic route possible to admire the sights along the way. Most of the time, though, you just want to get where you are going as quickly and efficiently as possible. I think most of our tasks are similar. We end up taking the scenic route on the simplest things or when we let overwhelm or more interesting items get in the way.

The British historian, Cyril Northcote Parkinson, penned an essay with this opening line: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” This brilliant line is known as Parkinson's Law that has proved itself many times in my life. If I have a week to complete a project, it takes a week. If I have 5 minutes to complete a task, it usually takes 5 minutes.

Let's look at two ways to complete the common household task of folding towels:

In this towel folding example, version 1 took 4 times as much time as version 2. Both versions got the task accomplished. Fast action helps you move quickly through tasks. There will be some tasks that need a lot of thought and prep. Most tasks, however, can be completed quickly. Through much of my life, version 1 felt like my version, especially when it came to tasks I didn't enjoy. I learned to add a little bit of urgency to these tasks that I used to wade through.

How can you build fast action into your day?

1: Race the timer

  • Choose a simple task such as showering or folding towels.

  • Set a time on your timer - 10 minutes for showering, 2 minutes for folding towels.

  • Start your timer and see if you can beat the timer

  • If you can’t, investigate for next time. Can you go a little faster on the task or do you need to add a LITTLE more time?

  • Be curious and kind to yourself!

One additional thought with this activity: do NOT focus on perfection. Just focus on working as quickly as you can.

2: Increase your speed

  • Choose a simple, regular task such as walking up the stairs or putting away dishes.

  • Start your timer and see how long it takes you to complete the task.

  • Next time you do this task, try to increase your speed by 5%.

  • Be curious and kind to yourself!

Fast action isn't just about rushing through things and getting them finished as quickly as possible. Fast action can help free up time in your day so that you can do something meaningful to you. It can also be a way to get through chores or tasks that you don't like to do or build in time for relaxation or play.

Where do you want to build faster actions into your day?

For more actionable steps to motivate yourself even when you don't feel like it, click here to download the 4-step guide!

Looking for ways to amp up your productivity? Check out this online course, Move the Dial on Your Productivity.



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