Lifehacker

The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster and Better


Chapter 3

Trick Yourself into Getting Done

Just as Mom used to grind up that bitter pill in a bowl of ice cream, you can make working on tough tasks easier for yourself to swallow.

Hack 25
Make Your To-Do List Doable

Level: Easy
Platform: All

Your to-do list can be a tool that guides you through your work, or it can be a big fat pillar of undone time bombs taunting you and your unproductive inadequacy. It all depends on how you write it.

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Hack 26
Set Up a Morning Dash

Level: Easy
Platform: All

There is one way to ensure that you'll knock at least one thing off your list: Dedicate the first hour of your day to your most important task-before you check your email, paper inbox, or go to any meetings.

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Hack 27
Map Your Time

Level: All
Platform: All (with a spreadsheet or calendaring program)

The busy person's perennial question is, "Where did the day go?" It's easy to get tossed from one thing to the next like a piece of driftwood caught in the tide of your crazy life.

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Hack 28
Quick-Log Your Work Day

Level: Easy
Platform: All

When you start keeping a daily work log, you might be surprised to find out what your workday really consists of.

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Hack 29
Dash Through Tasks with a Timer

Level: Easy
Platform: All

Trick yourself into getting going by making a commitment to work on the task for just a handful of minutes-minutes that will end at the beep of a timer in a small, quantifiable amount of time.

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Hack 30
Form New Habits with Jerry Seinfeld's Chain

Level: Easy
Platform: Web

Once upon a time, Jerry Seinfeld gave a young comic advice...

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Hack 31
Control Your Workday

Level: Easy
Platform: All

Getting out of the office on time is tough when there's always another task, project, or drive-by boss request to knock out before you leave. It's easy to lose a day checking email, going to meetings, and putting out fires only to find that at 5 or 6 or 7 p.m., you haven't gotten started on something critical.

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Hack 32
Turn Tasks into Gameplay

Level: Easy
Platform: All

Ever wish you could knock down the items on your to-do list with the same gusto you fit blocks together in Tetris or collect gold coins in Super Mario Bros?

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