In today’s business world, we have email, phone calls, instant messaging, social media, projects, meetings. And that’s just work. Then you get home to errands, chores, working out, taking care of the kids, and more errands.
You probably have a jam packed day, right?
I used to get overwhelmed by it all. Some days I still do. Until earlier this year, I came across a nugget of wisdom that changed it all.
The Miracle Morning
Hal Elrod is the author of a book called The Miracle Morning. This book came recommended to me by other entrepreneurs who rave about it. It’s a life changer people say.
Now if you are familiar with this book, I’m not talking about the morning routine. If you’re not familiar with this book, it has a morning routine to set the tone for your day. The routine includes:
Stuff you do to maximize your day.
But I’m not talking about any of that stuff. I don’t even think what I’m about to share is even in the book.
But buried deep, deep in the bonus material you get when you buy the book, is a little tip that has revolutionized my productivity.
It was written in Hal’s 2012 affirmations.
If you’re not into affirmations, no problem. This isn’t an affirmation.
Here’s what Hal wrote:
To maximize productivity, I will schedule 3–5-hour blocks or 1/2 days of singularly focused attention on ONE activity/project, rather than trying to switch tasks every 60 minutes.
Making that one change to my schedule shot my productivity through the roof.
When you look at my schedule, now there are big time chunks for a singular focus on a singular goal. When you have that laser-like focus, when you know:
Ok, it’s 9:00 am, I’m going to be working on that proposal for the next three hours…
You not only start with focus, but you also stay focused. You start not to check email every five minutes.
- What’s going on Facebook?
- Who’s texting me?
- I’ve got to make that dinner reservation.
No, it’s just working the plan, because you’ve planned the work. The time has arrived, and you execute.
It’s a short block of time. It’s easy to digest. We all can focus for a few hours on one thing. It’s not like working on a six-month long project. Who can focus on that?
What about interruptions?
Some of you are thinking – yeah but, you don’t know how my office is. People stop by my desk all the time. That may be true, but that’s because you’ve let them interrupt you in the past. It’s not rude to say
Can I find you after lunch and discuss that?
Yes, interruptions happen. Important phone calls come in. But so do unimportant phone calls, and most people answer them all no matter what.[clickToTweet tweet=”Chunking up your time will make you more productive.” quote=”Chunking up your time will make you more productive.”]
But you will need to protect those chunks of time firmly, but politely. If you want to get the most out of them.
What if I can’t focus for that long?
You’ll need to learn to resist the temptation to check Facebook every ten minutes. With time chunking it’s easy. Commit to yourself you won’t do all those little things that distract you until the block of time is up.
When you do that, it gives you a little reward to look forward to. And it’s a reward that’s in the very near future. It’s just a few hours away.
I love checking email – it’s like getting Christmas presents all day long.
But when I delay the constant checking, I not only save my time and focus, it makes that big batch of emails that come in all at once all that more exciting.
Eight emails! Fifteen emails! Twenty-three emails! Wow! That’s a lot of presents to get all at once. Much better than the constant trickle through the day if you have auto-check on. That’s like the slow drip-drip-drip of water torture.
Here’s what works for me:
- I check Facebook at lunchtime and the evening only
- I turn my email off and check it in the morning, at lunch, and at night
- I set my priorities the night before so I know what I’m going to be doing the next day
- I make sure what I do during my time chunks are always focused on my top 3 goals
Create your schedule with time blocks
I use a Google Spreadsheet to list the hours in the day, and I color code them for different tasks.
I just updated my time schedule last week with all of my time chunks. If you find yourself being pulled every which way and never seem to get anything done, give time chunking a try and see your productivity go through the roof.
No matter how overwhelming your schedule or all the things you have to do may seem – even blocking off one 1/2 day per week to focus on one thing that’s important to you can put you light years ahead of where you are today.
Got any productivity tips? Please leave a comment below.