MVP: Morning routines are essential.
We’ve looked at how setting priorities in advance, time blocking each day, and using a timer can keep you focused on the important work.
You may have noticed on Tuesday’s time-blocking image that tasks were color coded and that the mornings began with working out and morning pages.
My day begins with my morning routines. If I do a good job with my routines, I’ll probably be good the rest of the day. This is why a morning routine is one of the four essentials.
My morning routine achieves four things:
Today’s intention: Take stock of your morning routine. It should achieve four things. How are you doing?
MVP: Use a timer to create urgency and keep you laser focused.
So far, I’ve shared how I schedule my priorities in advance and use time blocking to help me stay on track.
I also use a timer to help me stay within time limits and to be healthier. If I budget an hour for the daily emails, I set the timer on my computer for 50 or 55 minutes and then dig in. The timer keeps me laser focused, and leaving a few minutes at the end of the hour reminds me to get up and move around and refresh my body and mind.
Honestly, I’ve been neglecting my timer this week and as a result, am taking longer to do tasks. I forgot to set my timer for writing these emails and already an hour has passed, but since I did not set the timer, I haven’t felt the urgency, and now the task is taking longer and impacting the rest of my day.
This is a clear example of how intentionally creating a false sense of urgency can actually be a positive thing.
Quick tip for Mac users: there is clock app in your apps folder!
Today’s intention: Identify 2-3 important tasks today and set a timer when you begin. Give yourself a cushion at the end to do something small to take care of yourself – walk, move, stretch, get some water.
MVP: Block off time in your calendar for important things and capture in your calendar what you do each day.
This week I’m reviewing five daily strategies that are helping me right now.
Yesterday I shared how I identify my priorities for each day. Part of the reason this works is time blocking.
When I identify my priorities, I schedule each of them into my calendar.
There are many days I do not follow my schedule, but when I deviate, I move everything around so at the end of each day by calendar reflects where I actually spent or invested my time. This keeps me honest and helps me stay focused on my three priorities.
Having everything scheduled out makes it difficult to chase shiny objects because it means I have to rearrange my calendar, which requires me to make intentional choices about how I use my time!
This is the key:
These practices add up to a much more intentional use of my time.
Today’s intention: Record in your calendar throughout the day what you spend/invest your time doing. You might want to do this on a personal calendar if your work calendar is shared. Pay attention to your thinking and how keeping your calendar up to date impacts your decision making.
MVP: Identify the next day’s priorities.
The tagline on my business card is “Leading strategically, every day.”
Strategic leadership isn’t something which happens once a year or once a quarter as part of a mission or goal setting process.
Strategies are daily practices we use to support incremental forward progress, and strategic leaders consciously identify powerful strategies to take them closer to their goals each day.
This week I’m sharing five strategies helping me be a better leader right now.
Strategy 1: Planning tomorrow’s priorities today
At the end of each workday, I identify three priorities for the next day. These are a combination of quadrant 1 and 2 tasks that generally include working for a client, writing/building content, operations/communications.
These three priorities will drive my day, and the focus helps keep me out of quadrant 3. Knowing the next day is set also helps me transition out of work and not think about it for the rest of the day.
Today’s intention: What are your three priorities today? What about tomorrow?
MVP: Become aware of the clutter in your mind and begin deleting it.
I was looking at my computer hard drive memory, which was beginning to run low, and noticed that 101 GB was taken up by over 3,000 podcast downloads. 3,000!
I don’t know how they all got there, but there were so many, they were impacting my computer.
This got me thinking.
How many old “podcasts” am I carrying around in my brain, or in my heart?
And by podcasts, I mean stories or experiences that I don’t need, that don’t serve me, and which maybe even harm me?
I also wondered about my organization. How many “podcasts” are taking up space which could be better used? I know there are projects, ideas, and pieces of things which break my focus and tempt me into chasing them.
I wish I could just drag all these things into the trash and hit DELETE but it doesn’t work that way.
The good news: the first step in letting go is becoming aware that you are holding on.
Today’s intention: It’s Friday, a great reason to reflect on these questions: