Archive for the ‘Time management’ Category

11 Hours A Day …

Posted: March 21, 2010 in Time management
11 Hours A Day Starts With an 18 Minute Plan for Managing Your Day

Over the years, I’ve tested so many different methods of planning your day, everything from the fairly simplified Pomodoro Technique to the wildly complex Microsoft Project. This is a very low-tech, high impact method that I wanted to share: “11 Hours A Day” by Knock Knock. (image here: and here: )

I’m going to borrow from a note that my wife just sent to me and then come back to the method itself.

An 18-Minute Plan for Managing Your Day (by Peter Bregman)

STEP 1 (5 Minutes) Set Plan for Day. Before turning on your computer, sit down with a blank piece of paper and decide what will make this day highly successful. What can you realistically accomplish that will further your goals and allow you to leave at the end of the day feeling like you’ve been productive and successful? Write those things down.

Now, most importantly, take your calendar and schedule those things into time slots, placing the hardest and most important items at the beginning of the day. And by the beginning of the day I mean, if possible, before even checking your email. If your entire list does not fit into your calendar, reprioritize your list. There is tremendous power in deciding when and where you are going to do something.

If you want to get something done, decide when and where you’re going to do it. Otherwise, take it off your list.

STEP 2 (1 minute every hour) Refocus. Set your watch, phone, or computer to ring every hour. When it rings, take a deep breath, look at your list and ask yourself if you spent your last hour productively. Then look at your calendar and deliberately recommit to how you are going to use the next hour. Manage your day hour by hour. Don’t let the hours manage you.

STEP 3 (5 minutes) Review. Shut off your computer and review your day. What worked? Where did you focus? Where did you get distracted? What did you learn that will help you be more productive tomorrow?

The power of rituals is their predictability. You do the same thing in the same way over and over again. And so the outcome of a ritual is predictable too. If you choose your focus deliberately and wisely and consistently remind yourself of that focus, you will stay focused. It’s simple.

What I have found with this notepad is that it forces me to think about how I will spend my time and what I can get done in the specific context of time available. I block out time that I have already committed for appointments, meetings or driving time and what I am left with is those few vital hours for productive work. I make my best estimate on how long a specific action will take and block it out as an “appointment” on my 11 Hours A Day daily calendar pad. And as I complete the tasks, I check off the items and move on.

These pads are hard to find, but if you’re interested you can find them on the Doodlebugz Web site.

If you have a great way to plan your day, let me know … every second counts these days!