Photo by Joel Runyon

Photo by Joel Runyon

All of us are guilty of “fake work,” says Joel Runyon. “Fake work” is that moment of the day where you set yourself up to do work, but are just putzing around. For freelancers or those who work remotely, this can be especially hard to break when you’re your own boss. The solution? A list that breaks down into three separate task groups, each at a different location. Runyon explains:

List out everything you need to do today. Try to be as specific as you can. Ensure that each item on your list is a clear action rather than a vague intention. . . Next, break that list into three sections. These sections should be equal in terms of how much time they’re likely to take to complete. . .

Step 1: Go to cafe #1.

Step 2: Start working on action item group #1. . . Once you finish all the tasks in group #1, get up and move. Close your tabs, pack your bags, and physically move your butt to your next spot. If you can, walk or bike to your next stop. Avoid driving if you can. The physical activity is important. . . When you get to the next cafe, start on the next action item group, and repeat. . .

Use this time to practice your zen, take a break from your screen, and get some movement into your day. Keep your phone in your pocket, and move. Take a break away from work for at least thirty minutes. Whatever you do, don’t go back to the same place you just left.

Soon, Runyon found that he was working less hours while getting more done, on top of a whole list of new beneficial side effects (like sleeping better and getting to know his area more).

Read the full instructions here.

  • IceMonkey

    This is great advice for office workers, too: it’s important that when you complete a task, you get up from your desk, take a walk around, top off your coffee — anything physical to signify a change in tasks. If you’re in a casual environment, make the best use of five minutes away from your desk to do some basic stretches.

    • tannerc

      Completely agree. I often find that if I sit through too many tasks, I wind up burning out fairly quick. Even if that means I’ve been productive for a number of hours, the lost hours afterwards cost me productivity points I can’t get back.

  • Markus

    I actually enjoy the luxury of dedicated desks at different customer and project sites. The benefits of changing locations are certainly there, couldn’t make it without a car though…

  • Christian Morrison

    We just shut down our studio, sold the building, bought a couple of MacBook Pros and new knapsacks now, all we have to do is get that airline ticket! I love this article.

  • Melissa Soto Perna

    Ohh this seems like my ideal way of working. Coffee stores atmospheres are the best for getting things done, enjoy the city I live in and explore new places.

  • Jade Nagaraja

    This sounds good for me. I will try.

  • The Old Ruler

    Sounds like a plan. I will also try this. Thanks.

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