March Madness guide to getting things done

Most people will tell you they’d like to do more. They’d like to be more productive, write more often and earn more money. Tons of people will say that working smarter, working longer and working harder is the key for all of it.

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But that’s not true. While we may FEEL more accomplished by working longer hours or automating repetitive tasks, but all that really leaves is time for most of us to start more projects or, this week, watch as many March Madness games as possible.

For the unaware, March Madness is the end-of-year, single-elimination tournament for the top 64 (the play-in games DON’T COUNT) college basketball teams in the U.S. Over the course of nearly two weeks, 65 games will be played and a champion crowned. There’s minimal time to rest or tend to other matters, games get played and the bracket is finished. Here’s what you can learn from March Madness:

1. Set deadlines
There’s little flexibility is March Madness scheduling. Teams win today, get a day or two off and play again. The secret to winning it all is simple – win six games in a row. Nothing else works. Setting hard deadlines in the office forces people to focus.

2. Make deadlines a big deal
Most office productivity grinds to a halt during March Madness, and for good reason – the tournament is exciting. By posting your deadlines online, on your wall, on your fridge and telling your friends, you’ll be sure to be reminded of what you need to do.

3. Treat it like a game
Basketball isn’t life or death, nor are most business tasks. By winning the little challenges on the court (rebounding, time of possession) and the office (sending that email NOW, finishing the report that’s 80% done), you’re building up to huge payoff.

4. Invite your friends and colleagues
Ever bet on whether your RFP gets picked? What about if a TPS report was in (and correct) on time? Why not? People like games; the more your office and workday is built like one, the likely more fun you’ll have.

5. Repeat as necessary
March Madness may only happen once a year, but there’s no reason the thinking behind it can’t. Just like March Madness, teamwork often beats out superior talent (Fab Five anyone?) and the more you work with your colleagues, the better.

PS…March Madness On Demand is fantastic.

(Guest blogger Tyler Hurst co-founded a writer’s support group here in AZ, mostly because he spends too much time at home talking to his dog, Layla.