View Full Version : Keeping focused with 7 20's

02-06-14, 09:40 PM
I've recently developed a technique that has improved my ability to stay focused and productive through the day. I call it "7 20's". Basically it involves working through a todo list 7 tasks at a time with only 20 minutes per task. Here's how I do it:

I keep a todo list of stuff I want to get done. If there is a task I want to accomplish that day, I make sure to break it down to smaller tasks.
At the beginning of the day, I sort the list according to stuff that is Easy, must-do, want-to-do, and later
I break out 7 tasks. The first couple are easy (to build momentum), the middle tasks are stuff that needs to get done, and the last one is something that I might want to spend a lot of time on if it gets interesting. None of the tasks in the list are allowed to depend on each other.
I give myself a max of 20 minutes to work on each task (I usually finish much sooner). I use a little web app I wrote called Timeboxer ( to turn my task list into a set of timers.
ON the last task, if I am "in flow", then I'll keep working on it until I feel done.
do again with another 7 tasks.

I find that keeping my task list small keeps me from feeling overwhelmed. It also keeps me from feeling discouraged if one of the tasks does not work out- because I can always start over with a new set in an hour. I also get to reward myself with fun tasks through the day, because at 20 minutes, they are more like breaks. This system has helped me to stay on track all day at work.

I hope this is useful for somebody out there.