Durgesh Pratap's Blog

How I Became The Master Of My Time By Killing Productivity

Written By: Durgesh Pratap
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Table of Contents

How I Reimagined Productivity and Won Back My Time With OTD

All productivity systems are products.

Open YouTube and a productivity guru will pop up after a few suggestions. They will explain how this book/app magically made them superhuman overnight.

And I wonder, “Hell Yeah. This is the missing key to my productivity problem. I got to try this book/app (And make some affiliate commission for the YouTuber).”

And I tried them all but didn’t turn into a productive superhuman.

My issues with the to-do list and calendar blocking

I started filling my to-do list with tasks and blocking my calendar to complete them.

I thought that filling my to-do list with a lot of tasks was making me more productive. As I have planned it on my calendar too, everything is sorted, and all I need is to follow it.

I was wrong!

I ignored my to-do list to work on things that I liked at that moment. My tasks were forwarded to the next day, and so on. And it created mental stress for me.

Being productive all the time and living with guilt

When I opened my to-do list and found pending tasks, it filled me with guilt.

I started thinking I was wasting my time and being more unproductive. And new tasks were on their way to be added to the list. Feeling more stressed about the pending tasks on my list.

I spent more time and energy organizing my to-do list and calendar than getting anything meaningful done.

The more I tried to chase productivity, the more I felt unproductive. It became a race against myself, which I would never finish because it had no end.

Until I realized the truth.

The Epiphany

One day, after a lot of stress and guilt of being unproductive, I had an epiphany:

“It is not about when I choose to do but about what I choose to do.”

So, I deleted all my dumb tasks.

Eisenhower matrix? Good for him. I am not the president of the United States.

I choose to do what is important to me rather than urgent.

But, before I could harbor my new idea, I needed to deal with the master at work: My brain!

How Does My Brain Function at Work

My brain is used to work only on one project until it is completed.

I like to do things for long hours, have deep work sessions, and create something. It gives me satisfaction.

I can’t work in chunks, like half an hour for writing, then two hours for designing, and a meeting later.

So, I invented my own system: OTD — One Task Deadline.

One Task

I pick one important Task I would love to finish.

Not love to do but love to finish.

Then, I get fully engrossed with that task. I only think, talk, and read about my task until it is completed. Sometimes, it is working on only one project for my work.

Daniel Day-Lewis, the 3-time Academy Award-winning actor, only works on one movie at a time. Until the movie is completed, he is entirely into it.

The results speak for themselves: Each film has an exceptional performance.

The one-task approach helps me be in the flow state for longer. It ensures much superior quality work.

But, only picking one task is not sufficient. I need to add an extra element to it: Deadlines.


The one-task method is only effective with deadlines.

Deadlines will force you to stick to the task/project by maintaining your focus and thinking faster.

Remember when you had exams?

How did your brain absorb the material much quicker than on regular days? That’s because you were working on only one task with a deadline.

The Process of One Task Deadline

I work on one task with deadlines and take breaks in between the task.

I can only focus up to 20 minutes on a task. So, I use the Pomodoro technique for this. If you are into productivity or time management, you must have heard about the Pomodoro technique.

It’s a technique where you set a timer for 25 minutes to do focused work.

When I started using Pomodoro, I made the same mistake most people do. I used the default timer of 25 minutes and sometimes extended it to 60 minutes.

It feels good to think I will do focused work for 60 minutes, but in reality, longer Pomodoro sessions hurt focus.

I use only 15 minutes of Pomodoro and 5-minute breaks.

As I told you earlier, I cannot focus for more than 20 minutes, so I quit before 20 minutes by taking only 15 minutes of Pomodoro and don’t feel mental fatigue.

I go beyond that limit of 15 minutes when I am in my flow and don’t even care about the Pomodoro.

Pomodoro is just an aid to warm up my brain for focus, and I am not entirely dependent on it.

Mindless Tasks

Doing only one task with deadlines doesn’t mean I don’t pay bills, order groceries, or cancel my subscription.

I do these mindless tasks in the breaks, during my commute, or in the evenings. They don’t require much focus or deep work.

I begin my one task with a deadline in the morning when I am most creative.

As the day goes by, my creativity diminishes. So, I do mindless tasks in the evening and reflect on my One Task Deadlines.

Final Takeaway

I would like you to understand my One Task Deadline concept before you leave with a real-life day-to-day example.

How would you like to clean your house?

You have a house with 3 bedrooms, 1 kitchen, 1 Living room, and 3 toilets. And you have to clean it today.

Scenario 1: Zig Zag Motion — Would you start by cleaning the kitchen for 30 minutes, then move to the living room for 15 minutes, then back to the kitchen for 20 minutes, then to a bedroom for 30 minutes, and so on? Jumping from one space to another with timers?


Scenario 2: Linear Motion — You pick one space first, maybe the kitchen. Clean it thoroughly for 2 hours until everything is in its place, cleaned, and organized. And then you pick the bedrooms. When the bedrooms are fully sorted, then you move to the toilets.

Which scenario is better? I’ll go with scenario 2: Linear Motion.

Why not use the same approach with your tasks? Let me know your thoughts.

About The Author

Durgesh Pratap is a versatile entrepreneur engaged in video production, advertising, writing, and digital marketing. Known for his diverse skill set, he writes about maintaining productivity and focus in both business and life, sharing insights from his multi-faceted career. His work inspires others to balance diverse interests and succeed in the dynamic world of entrepreneurship.