Doing The Day – STP037
Episode 37 – In this final episode on managing your focus and attention, we look at dealing with the stuff that comes up in your day and give you some great techniques and solutions to help you get it done well.
Some of the USEFUL stuff in there is:
What’s led to this episode:
Episode 34 – How to say ‘NO’ to reduce your workload
Episode 35 – How to decide what’s important when prioritising
Episode 36 – How to use 5 key tools to plan your day:
A notebook (or somewhere to dump your ‘mind’)
An Action list
BUT DON’T WORRY IF YOU HAVEN’T LISTENED TO THEM – OR PREPARED…
There’s loads in this one you can use either on its own, or with the structure
How does your day look? Are you a canoeist, a balloonist, or a cyclist?
PLANNING THE DAY
This should take 5 minutes once you’ve got your template ready
I use the questions from Peter Bregman’s 18 minutes model:
Review your Action list – what will make this day highly effective?
What can I realistically accomplish in my areas of focus? (From EP35)
What will leave me feeling productive and successful at the end of the day?
Then pick 3 things from your Action List and put them into your calendar for today as they are now things which MUST happen on this day
How you do this is up to you, but the key is choosing 3 ‘Important’ things to do today
If you have more than 3 things, or you’re not sure which ones to choose use:
The Urgent/Important Principle – A detailed explanation here from Mindtools.com
Urgent = It’s got a deadline (usually someone else’s!)
Important = It will help you make progress on one of YOUR bigger goals
Ideally you want to pick 3 things which are ‘Important’ but not ‘Urgent’
Eating the Frog
Choosing the right energy levels
Planning in breaks and movement
Setting a chime every hour to check we’re on course. When it goes off…
BEEP! STOP! Take a deep breath. Then…
Am I doing what I most need to be doing right now?
Am I being who I most want to be right now?
Recommit to how you’re going to use your next hour
DOING THE DAY
Scenario 1 – You are presented with a single simple action to complete
Can you fully do this action, completely within 2 minutes?
Is it a single item which does not have loads of others behind it?
If so – do it as soon as you are presented with it
This is the 2 minute rule
Use this rule with discretion – don’t just default to doing everything as it comes along
Solution 1 – If that action can be done completely – apply the 2 minute rule
Scenario 2 – You’re presented with a number of tasks and/or some will take more than 2 minutes
Stop and think about what each thing means to you – what do you have to do?
What is the ‘action’ you have to do to fully complete this task
Break it down into multiple actions if needed
Write each action down in a sentence with the ‘action’ word at the front
E.g. “OUTLINE the Redman report” or “CALL the garage to book the car in”
If you have a system – put it in there. If you don’t – park it by putting it onto a list
Solution 2 – Break the task down into a doable action – and put onto a list OR use your notebook/action list/buckets to put it into your system
Scenario 3 – Being presented with 2 or more things which want your attention NOW
Use the Urgent/Important Test again
The phone is ringing it’s your son’s school
The boss wants a response to an email within 10 minutes
A colleague is asking for some help with a task
We decided that the school call was ‘Urgent’ AND ‘Important’ – so we did this first
The boss request – that was ‘Urgent’, but not ‘Important’ (in our test) so we did this next
Jane’s request was ‘Important’ but not ‘Urgent’ – so we planned to help her later today when we had time
Solution 3 – Use the Urgent/Important principle to sort out the order, and ditch anything which is not ‘Urgent’ AND not ‘Important’
Scenario 4 – BEEP, BUZZ, FLASH – Electronic communication
E-mails, text messages, social media notifications – how to streamline them
Turn the notifications off – you need to know what the content is, and if it’s ‘Important’
Notifications make EVERYTHING seem urgent – so turn them off
Then set aside ‘check-in’ times for your electronic communications
Set expectations – explain to people if they want you urgently they CAN call you
Respond to communication within an agreed reasonable time – 3 hours / 6 hours etc.
Remember you are trying to protect what’s ‘Important’ to you
Unsubscribe from companies who send e-mails you don’t want to read
Avoid getting into communication about trivia
Set up a regular catch up with people
Work through your inbox using the same steps:
What is the action?
2 minute rule
Put it onto an Action List – or into your system
Solution 4 – Turn notifications off, set expectations, use the process
THE END OF DAY REVIEW
Take 5 minutes to ask yourself some key questions. I use Peter Bregman’s:
Did I get it all done?
How did my day go? What were the successes? What were the challenges?
What did I learn today? About myself? About others?
What do I plan to do – differently or the same – tomorrow?
Who did I interact with? Anyone I need to update? Thank? Ask a question? Share feedback with?
Use this time to recount what you want to do again or differently while it’s still fresh in your mind
Over time you will build up some really useful insight into how you work, and how you can develop yourself
Remember – “Don’t waste time comparing yourself to anyone else; the only person you should try to be better than is the person that you were, yesterday.”
If you haven’t done the previous episodes interactively – why don’t you try it now you’ve listened to the whole series?
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