Getting Things Done

A Big Idea For Doing Small Tasks

Use Break Away Sessions


You have small tasks that demand a little of your attention

  • Reading and responding to an email that you just received
  • Ordering a part for your stove
  • Checking out any updates on your favorite social media sites

Why you tend to handle small tasks wheneverA Big Idea For Doing Small Tasks

  • When you have no process or system for taking care of small tasks, it’s easy to allow them to disrupt your day whenever they pop into your life, for fear you’ll forget them or miss something important

The problem of doing small tasks whenever

  • The small task usually don’t require a lot of time, but doing them whenever destroys any focus and momentum you have for what you’re currently doing

The solution: Break Away SessionsA Big Idea For Doing Small Tasks

  • A Break Away Session is a block of time (5, 10, 20 minutes) that you set aside to handle all the small tasks you need to do so that they don’t disrupt getting real work done

Why Break Away Sessions rock!

  • Because you have a specific time to deal with small tasks…

    • The less they sit in the corner of your mind, constantly poking you for attention
    • The less you’ll feel tempted to allow them to disrupt your focus and energy at random times throughout your day.A Big Idea For Doing Small Tasks


  • Disable every single notification gizmo on your computer – turn them off!
  • Every day, schedule two – 5, 10, 20-minute sessions… one in the morning, and another in the afternoon – where you do nothing but check and answer email, make phone calls, check the news, read your favorite blogs, check Twitter, or do any searches you’ve been thinking about doing
  • Remember, that when you’re tempted to interrupt your focus to do something minor, like check your email (so that you don’t miss some incoming message), that you now have time set aside to take care of it and let the temptation go

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