Productivity Power Tool

Productivity Power Tool


Gary Keller, author of The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, guards his time fiercely.

He uses a technique called time blocking, in which he dedicates several hours to a single task, to help strengthen focus and eliminate distraction.

Related: Find More Time In Your Day

It may sound extreme, but it’s effective. Here’s how it’s done.

  • Identify your top priority. Look at your goals for the year. What’s the one thing that will make everything else you do easier or unnecessary? Design the first four hours of your workdays around that.

When Keller was working on his book, he blocked the first four hours of every day and used the time to write.

“My motto is: Until my number one priority is done each day, all else is a distraction,” he says, adding that four hours is crucial.

“If you want to do something at the highest level, it’s got to be four hours a day. Time on the task over time – that’s how you become a master at what matters most.”

  • Work on event time. Keller says most people live their life by the clock and by someone else’s schedule. He works on what he calls ‘event’ time, scheduling tasks around the events or goals he wants to accomplish. Everything else waits until he reaches a finishing point. He leaves work when he has accomplished that day’s most important priority.

“My most important work comes first and it’s done when it’s done,” he says.

“The key to making this work and still getting home in time to have a rewarding personal life is to block time as early in the day as possible.”

  • Block in planning time. In addition to working on his one thing, Keller blocks in time to reflect on where he is and where he wants to be.

“It’s the pause before I hit the start button. I set aside a day each year for annual planning, an hour each month for monthly planning and an hour each week for weekly planning.”

  • Block time off. At the beginning of the year he blocks out long weekends and long vacations. Time blocking has been key to living the life he wants.

“Knowing where we’re going and what we want to accomplish, gives us clarity on our priority.”

Do you usually feel like your week runs away from you?

Stephanie Vozza
Stephanie Vozza is a freelance writer who has written about business, real estate and lifestyles for more than 20 years. A former small business owner, she recently discovered she's better at writing about them. She lives in the Detroit area with her husband, two sons and their crazy Jack Russell terriers.