How many times have you had only 5 things to do in 1 day and you accomplished 0? You start a project, get distracted, move on to something else, come back to it, move on to something else, then move on to something else. At the end of the day you haven’t completed ANYTHING! You just ‘felt’ busy and like you were working really hard but sad to say.. nothing really got done.
I ain’t gonna lie. I’ve been here about 9,952 times and I still struggle with staying focused and just finishing tasks until… I started scheduling my day! Now there are 50 different things you can do to stay focused and finish tasks but I found the one thing that has worked for me best. This isn’t something I came up with on my own. After researching the habits of successful people one thing I found in common is that most of them schedule their day. We are talking their morning routine, their workout, nap time, time for specific tasks, of course meetings, and anything that took up time in their day.
I don’t think anyone follows their schedule to a T but without setting up specific parameters on when you want to accomplish specific tasks, good luck on having long term sustainability on staying focused and being consistent. The plan is in the sand.. but you need a plan to start with. Before I start my actual work work for the day I make sure that I understand my priorities and then set a time in my calendar on when I will work on them. I have the most brain power in morning so I schedule the most challenging tasks before 1pm. After 1pm its tasks that I can just flow with. As much as possible meetings are always scheduled in the afternoon.
Before I begin working on a task on my schedule I turn off my email, IM programs, and anything that could possibly be a distraction. I do leave myself accessible via slack with my team incase something comes up but I turn off the audio notifications. I haven’t quite mastered this process yet but since I have started scheduling my day and when it comes time to doing a task and turning off all distractions, my ability to focus and complete tasks have gone up significantly. I don’t end my day anymore wondering why I haven’t accomplished anything. okay.. maybe sometimes still.
Scheduling my day only takes me about 10 minutes each morning. I am fluid with my day so as priorities change so does my schedule. With scheduling I am able to really focus on what is the most important task for me to move the needle each day vs just aimlessly working. The other benefit of scheduling my day is that I don’t have to stress out about what I need to do. I also leave time in between my schedule to relax, pad time incase tasks or calls run over. The goal is to not make scheduling increase my stress but to reduce it. If you are stressing out about your schedule you need to make changes. Either add more time to a task, more downtime between tasks, or something so the schedule works in your favor and not against you.
— Mike Lord
This story is part of a 7 series post about developing good habits that will launch you in 2018. Follow me and my company, The Why Builder, on medium.
If you missed the first article you can read it here: My 30 Day Habit Challenge