My friend, JeriLynn, had the greatest suggestion a few weeks ago that I have been putting to the test; I thought you might wanna' try it too.
The Experiment: The 30-second rule
The Rule: if a job/chore/action item will take you less than 30 seconds to complete you complete it as soon as you are aware of it.
The Theory: People often put off little things thinking we would rather do them later. These little things start to accumulate throughout the day, week, life to become overwhelming and frustrating. When we complete these 30 second items when we first notice them they do not accumulate which reduces frustration and sense of overwhelming.
The Practice: Over the course of the past 2 weeks I have put the rule to the test many times. I have used it on various jobs/chores/actions items such as: picking up around the house, rinsing dishes, pulling weeds, sorting laundry, dusting, making phone calls, paying bills, jotting a note in my calendar on my grocery list or on my bulletin board, typing an email, and so much more.
The first few days I had a very hard time forcing myself to do the little things that I was used to putting off endlessly. It ended up taking me more time because I had to stop and ask myself "will this take me less than 30 seconds?" or I would rationalize "no, this is surely a 90 second job, I'll put it off". Though it was initially taking me more than 30 seconds (because of the preceding thought process) to complete the 30 second jobs I soon noticed that I felt like I was accomplishing more.
As I continued feeling like I was accomplishing more I was less likely to rationalize. As rationalization decreased my 30 second tasks truly took only 30 seconds to complete. Soon I noticed that I had fewer undone small tasks which reduced the level of frustration often felt when surrounded by a continual circle of never-ending work.
The Results: The 30-second rule is a helpful time management tool that is easy to learn, easy to practice and quick to produce results. It reduces perceived workload and thus reduces frustration and the sense of being overwhelmed.