Get Things Done in Time - The cure for "dead time"

What to do when you just have between 5-20 minutes free. Things comes to the rescue.

One of the toughest aspect of time management for me is dealing with what I (used to) call "dead spaces". You know, those moments that you are between things - perhaps just finished a meeting and are waiting to go to another one or you just finished a task but know that in 10 minutes you have to leave your desk for something else.

My typical use of this time would be to either start something that is then left undone because time is up or just generally waste time because you I am not quite sure what I could do with just 5 minutes in front of a screen.

I don't know if someone else figured this out already (I am sure they have :-) ) but I have the cure! All it takes is a task program that has tags enabled (for the "what are tags crowd" I am talking about the ability to easily categorise things tasks under more than just one category). I use Things.

Here is the trick - when you write your tasks down, in Getting Things Done zen mode where everything is out of your mind and into nice neat lists, add a tag with the amount of time you think the task would take - especially if it is an under 20 minute task (and thus ideal for "dead time").

Then, the next time you are in front of your desk with 10 minutes at hand and not sure what you do - check your lists. Click on the 10 minute tag, choose a task and get it done. These "dead times" are more than we think in the day and while it is probably healthy to use some of them just doing nothing it is surely equally healthy to use them to get some of the smaller tasks out of the way. Tagging tasks with the amount of time they require just makes it easier to identify the candidate tasks.

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