I have been asked by clients, what program I use to keep up with everything. The simple answer is my google calendar. Here is an easy way that I organize it.
The Tale of Two Boxes
Why do I call them boxes? It's simple. They look like boxes on my calendar!
Box #1 - Pareto 80-20 rule: Focus on the essential tasks that will help you to grow and generate significant results while adding value to your work and your life. (No more than 3 of these boxes should be placed in any day, except for the last day of your workweek. Example- (Friday I will only put two boxes in my day.) I like for Friday afternoons to be open for whatever I want to do. Never schedule back to back Box #1 appointments. If you must, allow a minimum of 15 minutes in between.
Box #2 – Menial Tasks: Scheduling calls & meetings; filling out reports; organizing things; or anything that you may need to accomplish throughout the day that does not require your focus. (You may place as many of these boxes as is necessary to complete your day.)
Where do you fit these boxes into your calendar?
Box #1 must be placed in your day where you have the most energy. For example, I get up early in the morning to start my day with prayer and meditation. When I arrive at work, I am motivated and ready to get things going. By noon, my level of alertness is winding down. After a noon walk or exercise at the gym and a light lunch, I am ready for one more of Box #1. I schedule two Box #1 items. One in the morning and one after lunch. I NEVER SCHEDULE MORE THAN THREE OF THE BOX #1s IN A DAY.
Box #2 fits in between where you have placed Box #1.
WHITE SPACE: IMPORTANT…Breaks for coffee/tea or a stretch: You need it. I check email during these times or look at social media if I am brain dead. Sometimes I walk around the office or drive around to look at a property. Often, I may read for a short stent or visit with my wife or a friend. Or just be silent.
Don’t fall into the trap of putting every single task on your calendar. Tasks need to be listed separately and completed as per importance. For example, if I am working on a presentation, it will go into a Box #1 position. It may even take up two. If I am working on a to-do list of catchup items, it will go into a Box #2 location.
◘ The most important thing to remember is to never put more than 3 Box #1 (essential items) on a particular day.
◘ Which box it fits into depends on IMPORTANCE, not TYPE of activity. A conference call, meeting, lunch appointment, and similar items can fit into either.
◘ Schedule your Box #1 slots first. Everything else fits in.
◘ Never schedule anything until you look at your calendar first.
◘ Keep it flexible. We always have emergencies that take priority.
◘ Plan your calendar as follows
◘ Plan your year first
◘ Family time and vacation
◘ Church activities
◘ Recurring meetings
◘ Review and work your calendar on a rolling three months adding a month as one ends
◘ Look at your next week calendar at the end of the week (Friday for me) and plan your next week. Then again, each day before it begins.
◘ If your job requires you to take on emergency interruptions, you may consider only scheduling 2 Box# 1 tasks per day. You will then have the option of moving one of them further into the week where you would still have only three.
When you make a calendar plan correctly, you are setting yourself up to celebrate your daily accomplishments. When done incorrectly, you will set yourself up to fail. When you learn to live by your calendar, you will soon become very efficient, happy, energized, and driven. You will quickly be able to accomplish more in less time because you will become organized.
Communicate with coworkers how you value living by your calendar, and they, in turn, will be cautious about stopping by and burning your time. They will learn to respect your work ethic even more.
Keep your door closed when working on Box #1 tasks. Your time is yours, and you are the one that must decide if you want to be proactive or reactive. Always remember your day belongs to you. If you do not work your day will surely work for you.
Stuart J. Dalrymple
Certified Commercial Investment Member | Business Coach |Consultant
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