Make Every Minute of Your Day Matter

Make Every Minute of Your Day Matter

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Clarity and productivity come from tracking what you do each day. I recommend monitoring 30 minute segments for two consecutive work days noting how you spent each time-block. For example, from 7:00 to 7:30am your entry might read: Commuted to work, read on eReader, checked mobile email.

Many of us think we know how we spend each day. But by actively tracking what you do each day, you can define how your time is spent. This will let you look at your existing results and have a baseline for improvements.

Once you’re clear about where you are, you can begin your focused journey to where you want to be. Identify tasks or activities you can do differently. Make adjustments.

Compare the new results against your baseline. With the changes you’ve made, are you closer to your desired results? If yes, continue. If not, readjust. Then track and observe.

I once worked with an executive whose time was best spent making calls. When he asked me for suggestions about how to better focus his time I asked: “How many calls did you make yesterday?”

“About ten,” he assured me.

“Bull,” I blurted out.

 

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But he smiled and affirmed that while he’d like to make ten calls a day, his time is eaten up with minutia resulting in more like four or five calls a day.

So I challenged him. I gave him a stack of ten R2 coins to place on one side of his desk. Each time he made a call, he was to move one coin to the other side, a tangible reminder of his intention completed.

When we spoke a week later, he assured me he was making more outbound calls, all because we’d identified where he was, determined where he wanted to be, and made getting from one to the other a game.

Staying focused is critical, but it can be difficult when you’re juggling so many balls at once. Continually changing focus diminishes productivity and constantly having to refocus on what you were just doing after an interruption compromises your workflow, prevents you from completing your most important tasks, and essentially forces you to spend more time than necessary getting things done.

Read Next: How to Answer 3x More Emails in Half the Time

Focus-To-Finish

To develop a ‘focus-to-finish’ mindset, consider identifying what you are NOT going to do during the next 24 to 96 hours. We all have more to get done each day than is humanly possible. Determining what can be safely pushed out for a day or three allows you to focus on what remains.

A simple kitchen timer set for 15 minutes can help you develop a ‘focus-to-finish’ mindset.

Try the timer website: www.e.ggtimer.com. For those 15 minutes, stay focused on one task. If, after 15 minutes you have more to do, set up another session and keep your focus on the task. This easy method helps you reduce interruptions and work single-mindedly.

Seek clarity and focus until the task at hand is completed. With these easy steps you’ll make whatever you call your best even better.

Jason Womack
Jason W. Womack is founder of The Womack Company, a productivity-training firm based in Ojai, Calif. He is author of Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More (Wiley, 2012). He works with entrepreneurs as an advisor, coaching them to their next level of success.