[FUEL] Daily Time Management Model for Amazing Productivity

By Dawn Shuler

 

That’s quite a claim, isn’t it… “Daily Time Management Model for Amazing Productivity”?

There are two reasons I wrote it that way:

  1. It’s a model. In other words, I’m not saying this is how you must structure your day, no matter what.
  2. Using this model – the way I’ve adapted it to MY life and business – has truly resulted in amazing productivity. For the month I’ve been using this system, I’ve been more productive, felt better, have gotten more done in one month than in most consecutive six months in my fourteen years of business.

Okay, that was a mouthful. For those that think in equations, here is a formula:

Time Management System = most productive in 1 month > in any previous
6 months

I’ve broken down my daily time management system into its various pieces so that you can determine what works for you. I’ve added these sections as appointments in my calendar so that I don’t have to reinvent the wheel each week. (I love automation!)

First Priority – This is the first thing I do when I go to my office, with very few exceptions. I do this thing before I do anything else, including checking mail (as that is my Kryptonite – see below). Sometimes this is something for my business; other times it’s client-related. It all depends on what’s most important and how my day as a whole is structured.

Check Email – I have several accounts to check, so I note them in the appointment on the calendar and can just check them off as I do them. Then, I try to stay AWAY from email except for maybe 2-3 other times during the day.

Next Priorities – This is a catch-all for work, and it’s open to whatever the next priorities are.

Social Media Activities – I try to keep this short, and it is different depending on the day. Some days it’s checking LinkedIn discussions. Another it’s Instagram. Another day it’s posting on Facebook.

Weekly Work – I’ve determined regular activities that need/should happen every week. So, every Monday is administrative catch-up, Tuesday is blog, Wednesday is newsletter, Thursday is videos, and Friday is business development.

SPACE – I have time EVERY DAY that is supposed to be time that I get up from my freaking desk and do something non-work-related, like art, reading, exercise. I have to admit that this part is SO hard for me. It’s so easy to just keep working, working, working. I have this idea that if I just get everything done, THEN I can go play. What I know – and have experienced – is that if I take breaks and live my life DURING the day, I actually end up being more productive and happy. Go figure.

Gold Calls – This is my marketing outreach where I follow up with people I met at networking events, personal keep-in-touch calls, and conversations with cool people.

Next Priorities – This is another catch-all for work, ‘cuz you gotta get work done!

15 Minutes to Pare Down Email – I’ve pretty much figured out that it’s a pipe dream that I’ll ever get my email inbox down to 0, AND I don’t want things to get lost. I set the timer for 15 minutes and just go through email. I feel pretty good about knowing that my email inbox got pared down by whatever amount in that 15 minutes.

Set Top 3 Priorities for Tomorrow – This is where I set my top three priorities for the next day, and I write the first priority on the next day’s calendar. That way, I don’t have to open any document when I’m at my desk the next morning; I just look at my calendar page and start with #1 Priority.

Here’s what I’ve found… the most important thing of the day (my first priority) will absolutely get done. So if all hell breaks loose and the day’s plans shift (as they almost always do for me), I can feel good that I got that one important thing done. Because I start out with getting something important done, I start out the day feeling good and productive, which almost always snowballs into more productivity.

Action steps

  1. First, determine what your particular Kryptonite to being focused and productive is. For me, it’s email. For one, I want to get my inbox as close to 0 as possible. For another, I feel as if I must respond immediately to an email that just came in, which means I’m being reactive, not proactive. Not recommended.
  2. Using the model above and trying to counteract your Kryptonite from #1, add in the various things that work for your schedule.
  3. Add these sections as appointments to your calendar (Outlook, iCal, Google). Use technology to your advantage and schedule appropriate times as recurring.
  4. Try the system. 🙂 It may be hard. It will probably be uncomfortable. You might resist. And if you can stick with it for a few days, you might find that your new system – tailored to you and your business – makes your productivity soar!
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