Time-blocking is absolutely essential when you're working toward maximizing your personal productivity. This means making appointments for everything you do and exerting real control over your schedule. Spend your days on proactive rather than reactive activities. That’s the only way you’re going to achieve great things and reach your goals, and effective time-blocking is the way to do it. Here are some tips to help get you there.
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The Myth of Multitasking
Studies have shown when you’re being pulled in all kinds of different directions, your productivity suffers. It’s somewhat counter-intuitive, but working on many different things is one of the most ineffective ways of actually getting lots of work done. Laser focus is the only way to get real work done. Drill down on the activities that move your business forward. Don't get caught up in run-of-the-mill business matters all the time. Schedule your time with those priorities in mind, and you’ll stay on the right track.
Be at Your Best
Your body and brain can only focus properly for so long before you need some sort of break. You want to balance work and breaks in a way that keeps you most productive and functioning at your best. The entrepreneur Eben Pagan has a great system for this called 60-60-30, with each number corresponding to minutes of an activity. For the first “60,” you have 50 minutes of intense, focused activity, followed by 10 minutes where you change your state (take a walk, do jumping jacks, etc.). The next “60” is the same. Then, you spend 30 minutes doing some sort of “light” work. Check e-mails or maybe return some calls; it’s something productive, but not so draining. This is the sort of balance you’re looking for in your day.
Put Down the Cell Phone!
For many of us, the cell phone is practically an appendage at this point. Reliance on email is the same. (See my post from last week here) As easy as it is to be consumed by these devices, limit your cell phone and email usage during the day. Ultimately, they won't help you achieve your dreams. The best thing you can do is hand the management of your cell and your email to an admin entirely. While useful in certain situations, your cell phone is often a distraction that does nothing to help you design the kind of business you want or to execute on that vision. That’s something you need to do on your own, and no electronic doodad is going to make it happen for you.