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.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_MqicxSo?rel=0%5D



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

Author: Conor Neill

Hi, I’m Conor Neill, an Entrepreneur and Teacher at IESE Business School. I speak about Moving People to Action. View all posts by Conor Neill