Edit: This post is deprecated in favor of the simpler Time Bending method.
I just had the most productive day I’ve had in years. I finished everything I wanted to get done today through 10 hours of solid efficiency, no sweat. And the best part – I have 4 whole hours to do whatever I want for the rest of the day, and I know I completely earned them.
It’s called the Checkpoint Method, and it will supercharge your day. It turns productivity into a game, and the prize is the best one of all – free time to do anything you want and feel great about it too.
A few months ago, I wrote about the 30/30 Magic Work Cycle that I follow, which made its rounds on the Internet and helped lots of people make smooth progress on all kinds of shit that takes an impossible amount of willpower to get started on. But that’s for when you know what you need to do, and you just gotta blaze through it. What about actually planning what you need to do, and sticking to your plan? That’s where the Checkpoint Method will change your life.
Of course I made an app. Why, you think I would have made you keep track of all that shit manually? What kind of asshole did you take me for?
Hopefully, it’s obvious enough why this method works. But if you really need some convincing, let’s break it down and see what it’s made of:
At the heart of the Checkpoint Method is the process of splitting up your work into clean, clear chunks. It’s much easier to kill a task when you know exactly what you need to do and you know that it can be done within the hour. And at the end of the day, you can tell yourself, “I now have these 12 things I did under my belt,” and you know exactly what those things are. It’s a great feeling.
Everyone knows how hard it is to do something when the deadline is so far away that it’s just a dot. So by having checkpoints every hour, you have a simple deadline to work towards; it really motivates you to finish that bit of work you’re doing so you can check it off before the end of the hour and maintain your level of reserve time. It feels like a race in which you always know exactly where you stand and how well you’re doing, so you never lose track of time.
Instead of just screwing around all day, not knowing when you’re working and when you’re procrastinating, this method collects all your free time and turns it into an incentive to work towards. Opening your assignment in one window and spending an hour procrastinating on Reddit doesn’t feel like free time, even though you didn’t actually get anything done. Instead, turn that same time into explicit free time, and do something you’ll actually enjoy without any guilt or stress.
2 × 30 minutes = 1 hour, so if you check off two 30 minute tasks before the checkpoint, you’re good to go.
As for 2 hour tasks, split them up into two 1 hour parts, and then just do them contiguously.
In this case, it’s okay to be vague and say “Work on math problems for 1 hour”, and then at the half-hour mark, evaluate how much you were able to get done and update the task accordingly. With enough practice, you’ll get the hang of it and you’ll be able to estimate fairly accurately how much you’ll be able to do in an hour.
In fact, this method is the sort of thing productive people do all the time already – finish everything they need to get done without distractions, and spend their free time at the end of the day without worry. But for those of us who find it hard to swing that way, sometimes all we need is a little push in the form of a formal process. So the Checkpoint Method is here, to shove you headfirst towards an amazing day, every day.
So just try it. I promise it won’t bite. If you have a great day with it, let me know in the comments; I’d love to hear about it.
Now, I think I’ll go watch not one, but two goddamn movies, and still sleep like a baby.