Prepare For Your Next Task Before You Take a Break

As I’ve been trying to stick with my convictions on only allowing the absolute-smallest amounts of time to finish tasks, I’ve learned that the more you make of the time before each task, the more efficient you’ll be.

Instead of finishing a task, taking your well deserved break, and coming back to a completely new task, try this: Set up your materials needed for the next task before you go on your break. Here’s an example.

As I finished up my previous task and prepared for a break, I logged into the WordPress and pulled up the “Write” page. That way, when I came back from the computer, I knew the first thing that had to be done was to write this post.

Aside from saving a little time, this trick allows me to go straight to the next task, without dawdling by way of email, YouTube, etc. Just straight-up productivity, baby. Also, if you set up what needs to be done before the break, you can marinate the tasks in your mind at your leisure. You’re working subconsciously while taking a break.

This little tactic could be used many different ways, and is almost limitless. Set out the mop and bucket in the middle of the floor to remind you to… mop the floor. Etc., etc., etc.

Leave a Comment

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • glen May 21, 2007, 10:09 am

    good point tantowi

  • Tantowi May 21, 2007, 8:18 am

    Each day, I allocate the most time to the most important (not just urgent) tasks. Critical tasks should be done when your energy level is highest.

  • Charlie May 15, 2007, 8:44 pm

    Great post.
    I always prepare for my next task, especially if there is enough time. It’s a good way of saving time.
    No matter how easy our task is I believe that preparation is still necessary for better productivity.

  • Kyotocutie May 15, 2007, 12:48 pm

    Gosh, wish I’d seen this post 30 minutes ago before I got back to my desk and started wilfing.

  • Aleksey Gureev May 15, 2007, 11:51 am

    This very technique I use to fill my head with something to mull over when I’m away from my working place.

    Usually, when people finish their tasks they think “ok, now I can leave and have a good rest or drive home”. I find it very productive to fill my head with some next problem before I leave or relax. In this case, I still can have a good time, but if I accidentally catch an inspiration, the mind is instantly ready to provide me with some stuff I needed this creative mood for.

    Works like charm!

  • Howie May 15, 2007, 12:51 am

    I agree with you. Preparation is one factor that affects our performance. The benefit we get from the time saved will surely make our work more productive.

  • glen May 15, 2007, 12:50 am

    Thanks Leo!

  • Leo May 14, 2007, 8:40 pm

    Great tip, Glen! This really gets the work flowing.