5 Minute Drill by Vincent LaBella

By admin
Mar 16th, 2014

Some days, you don’t have anything but little snippets of time (5 minutes).  On all the other days, even if you have longer blocks of time, you still have lots of snippets here and there, too.  Professor Vincent LaBella practices “5-Minute Drills” each day and suggests we do the same.  He says, “Use these ten productivity tips to implement the five minute drill and free your mind to focus on the important tasks.”

  1. Acknowledge that we are notoriously bad at estimating how long tasks will take.
  2. Acknowledge that most people overestimate what they can do in a day.
  3. Acknowledge that most people underestimate what can be accomplished in a week, month, or year.  (Yes you read that correctly…keep reading and you’ll understand).
  4. Pesky and urgent tasks often fill our day and mind.  They take time away from our big and important projects.  Learn to categorize these items as 5 minute items.
  5. Slot time during the day to perform these five minute tasks, so it doesn’t take time away from your big jobs. I like the time from 4-5 for the five minute drill
  6. Example of tasks for the five minute drill: registering for a conference, booking travel, posting grades, notes, or homework solutions on the web, clearing desk, clearing inbox, reading and responding to emails, meeting with a student to answer a quick question, filling out forms, etc.. (add one of your pesky tasks here).
  7. You can also use it to start on a big project that you are putting off – “Let me just spend five minutes on starting that next paper/grant…”
  8. You can do 12 five-minute tasks in 1 hour!
  9. Don’t worry if they take more or less than 5 minutes.  You’re making progress and that’s the main idea!
  10. Push off those little things to the five minute drill and free your mind to focus on the important stuff during your most productive times.

PS: this list was written during 3 five minute drills over 3 days

© Vincent LaBella, Associate Professor | College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering
The University at Albany – SUNY | 257 Fuller Road (NFE 4418)
Albany NY 12203 | 518-437-8673, 518-437-8687 (FAX)
vlabella@uamail.albany.edu | www.albany.edu

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