Productivity, Using 5 minute gaps

I remember watching the “Last Lecture” of Professor Randy Pausch (video embedded below).  One of his messages was “show me your calendar and I will show you where you are wasting time”.

He spoke of one difference between productive and non-productive people:  How you use the small gaps.


Using the 5 Minute Gaps


The productive people have learnt to make good use of the 5, 10, 15 minute gaps in their schedule.

The non-productive people go and have a coffee, say “what can I really get done in 5 minutes, I’ll do it later when I have 2 hours.”

Productive people get all the admin tasks out of the way in the little gaps and then can do big, important projects in their 2 hour gaps.

Non-productive people wait for the 2 hour gap to do all the admin, and then are too tired to get started on the big, important projects.

Launching The “Nuclear” Productivity Option

First, this morning I started my day in a new way.  I was so frustrated from my last week of low productivity that I went for the nuclear option today.  Zero connectivity before midday.  No internet, no phone, no messages – Nothing.

I went down to starbucks and closed down all programs except my word processor, and I wrote.  Then when I ran out of writing inspiration, I read a book.

Second, I decided to do 1 phone call on my to-do list every 5 minute gap.

I got a lot more done today.

I aim to keep this going…  Let’s see where I get over the next 7 days ;-)

Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams
If you haven’t seen this, watch it.



How do you react when productivity feels low?  What gets you going?  Any ideas for my week of getting Productive again?

One comment

  1. I agree that the 5 minutes gap are quite magical when being used efficiently. I think that we also need to accept to have times where we are less efficient in order to have later more efficient time. The guilty or angry feeling helps me to be more efficient.Lastly a friend of mine who is also a coach gave me this great advice: plan 2 big chunks per day and start with them. After that I'm free to do all the rest. This works particularly well there is not too much "noise" around me. I mean not too many due dates and phone calls from clients asking me to execute things for them right away.

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