Tuesday, October 6, 2009
How to save time - Online countdown
Time to read this post: 1 minute
When I use the internet to do some quick research I frequently lose an hour. I start wanting to check a name or date on wikipedia and before I know it I am watching videos on hulu or reading the BBC entertainment news about day time TV shows I have previously not heard of. All this changed about a month ago when I starting using an online countdown.
The idea is simple. Before I embark on a task, I set the countdown for the amount of time I would like the task to take. Or for when I would like the alarm to ring. Want to check out the football scores? OK I set it for 3 minutes. Look up flight times to London? 5 minutes. Status updates on Facebook? 10 minutes. You get the idea. I have found the tool simple and it frequently stops me from getting ridiculously distracted. Sometimes I will deliberately only give myself a couple of minutes for a ten minute task and then race to see if I can get it done.
One of my friends came back to me saying it was one of the simplest, most game-changing techniques that has improved his effectiveness at work. Apparently it is "completely huge".
Now I've taken in a step further and this is what really made the difference for me. I now have the online countdown as my default homepage. It's the first page I see when I open Internet Exporer or Google Chrome. I can't get around it. Before I embark on a mindless journey down interweb rabbit warrens, I pre-agree with myself that it will only last for a few minutes at most.
What you need to do in Internet Explorer (time to action: 30 seconds)
1. Open internet explorer
2. Copy & paste http://www.online-stopwatch.com/online-countdown/ into the URL
3. Go to tools, Internet options then click Use Current
As Stephen Colbert would say, "you're welcome".