• stevemoneill

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:

  1. What’s led to this episode:

  2. Episode 34 – How to say ‘NO’ to reduce your workload

  3. Episode 35 – How to decide what’s important when prioritising

  4. Episode 36 – How to use 5 key tools to plan your day:

  5. A notebook (or somewhere to dump your ‘mind’)

  6. An Action list

  7. Buckets

  8. A Calendar

  9. A Routine


  11. There’s loads in this one you can use either on its own, or with the structure

  12. How does your day look? Are you a canoeist, a balloonist, or a cyclist?


  1. This should take 5 minutes once you’ve got your template ready

  2. I use the questions from Peter Bregman’s 18 minutes model:

  3. —Review your Action list – what will make this day highly effective?

  4. —What can I realistically accomplish in my areas of focus? (From EP35)

  5. —What will leave me feeling productive and successful at the end of the day?

  6. 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

  7. How you do this is up to you, but the key is choosing 3 ‘Important’ things to do today

  8. If you have more than 3 things, or you’re not sure which ones to choose use:

  9. The Urgent/Important Principle – A detailed explanation here from

  10. Urgent = It’s got a deadline (usually someone else’s!)

  11. Important = It will help you make progress on one of YOUR bigger goals

  12. Ideally you want to pick 3 things which are ‘Important’ but not ‘Urgent’

  13. Eating the Frog

  14. Choosing the right energy levels

  15. Planning in breaks and movement

  16. Setting a chime every hour to check we’re on course. When it goes off…

  17. —BEEP! STOP! Take a deep breath. Then…

  18. Am I doing what I most need to be doing right now?

  19. Am I being who I most want to be right now?

  20. Recommit to how you’re going to use your next hour


  1. Scenario 1 – You are presented with a single simple action to complete

  2. Can you fully do this action, completely within 2 minutes?

  3. Is it a single item which does not have loads of others behind it?

  4. If so – do it as soon as you are presented with it

  5. This is the 2 minute rule

  6. Use this rule with discretion – don’t just default to doing everything as it comes along

  7. Solution 1 – If that action can be done completely – apply the 2 minute rule

  1. Scenario 2 – You’re presented with a number of tasks and/or some will take more than 2 minutes

  2. Stop and think about what each thing means to you – what do you have to do?

  3. What is the ‘action’ you have to do to fully complete this task

  4. Break it down into multiple actions if needed

  5. Write each action down in a sentence with the ‘action’ word at the front

  6. E.g. “OUTLINE the Redman report” or “CALL the garage to book the car in”

  7. If you have a system – put it in there. If you don’t – park it by putting it onto a list

  8. 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

  1. Scenario 3 – Being presented with 2 or more things which want your attention NOW

  2. Use the Urgent/Important Test again

  3. The phone is ringing it’s your son’s school

  4. The boss wants a response to an email within 10 minutes

  5. A colleague is asking for some help with a task

  6. We decided that the school call was ‘Urgent’ AND ‘Important’ – so we did this first

  7. The boss request – that was ‘Urgent’, but not ‘Important’ (in our test) so we did this next

  8. Jane’s request was ‘Important’ but not ‘Urgent’ – so we planned to help her later today when we had time

  9. Solution 3 – Use the Urgent/Important principle to sort out the order, and ditch anything which is not ‘Urgent’ AND not ‘Important’

  1. Scenario 4 – BEEP, BUZZ, FLASH – Electronic communication

  2. E-mails, text messages, social media notifications – how to streamline them

  3. Turn the notifications off – you need to know what the content is, and if it’s ‘Important’

  4. Notifications make EVERYTHING seem urgent – so turn them off

  5. Then set aside ‘check-in’ times for your electronic communications

  6. Set expectations – explain to people if they want you urgently they CAN call you

  7. Respond to communication within an agreed reasonable time – 3 hours / 6 hours etc.

  8. Remember you are trying to protect what’s ‘Important’ to you

  9. Unsubscribe from companies who send e-mails you don’t want to read

  10. Avoid getting into communication about trivia

  11. Set up a regular catch up with people

  12. Work through your inbox using the same steps:

  13. What is the action?

  14. 2 minute rule

  15. Urgent/Important

  16. Put it onto an Action List – or into your system

  17. Solution 4 – Turn notifications off, set expectations, use the process


  1. Take 5 minutes to ask yourself some key questions. I use Peter Bregman’s:

  2. —Did I get it all done?

  3. —How did my day go? What were the successes? What were the challenges?

  4. —What did I learn today? About myself? About others?

  5. What do I plan to do – differently or the same – tomorrow?

  6. —Who did I interact with? Anyone I need to update? Thank? Ask a question? Share feedback with?

  7. Use this time to recount what you want to do again or differently while it’s still fresh in your mind

  8. Over time you will build up some really useful insight into how you work, and how you can develop yourself

  9. 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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Thanks EVER SO MUCH for listening. If we help you to BE BETTER at what you do, then it’s all been worth it!

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