Episode from the podcastsharppodcast

Doing The Day – STP037

Released Monday, 2nd April 2018
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Episode 37 - In this final episode on managing your focus and attention, we look at dealing with the stuff that comes up in your day and give you some great techniques and solutions to help you get it done well.

Some of the USEFUL stuff in there is:

What's led to this episode:

Episode 34 - How to say 'NO' to reduce your workload
Episode 35 - How to decide what's important when prioritising
Episode 36 - How to use 5 key tools to plan your day:

A notebook (or somewhere to dump your 'mind')
An Action list
A Calendar
A Routine

There's loads in this one you can use either on its own, or with the structure

How does your day look? Are you a canoeist, a balloonist, or a cyclist?


This should take 5 minutes once you've got your template ready

I use the questions from Peter Bregman's 18 minutes model:

—Review your Action list – what will make this day highly effective?
—What can I realistically accomplish in my areas of focus? (From EP35)
—What will leave me feeling productive and successful at the end of the day?
Then pick 3 things from your Action List and put them into your calendar for today as they are now things which MUST happen on this day

How you do this is up to you, but the key is choosing 3 'Important' things to do today
If you have more than 3 things, or you're not sure which ones to choose use:

The Urgent/Important Principle - A detailed explanation here from Mindtools.com
Urgent = It's got a deadline (usually someone else's!)
Important = It will help you make progress on one of YOUR bigger goals

Ideally you want to pick 3 things which are 'Important' but not 'Urgent'

Eating the Frog
Choosing the right energy levels
Planning in breaks and movement

Setting a chime every hour to check we're on course. When it goes off...

—BEEP! STOP! Take a deep breath. Then…
Am I doing what I most need to be doing right now?
Am I being who I most want to be right now?
Recommit to how you're going to use your next hour


Scenario 1 - You are presented with a single simple action to complete

Can you fully do this action, completely within 2 minutes?
Is it a single item which does not have loads of others behind it?
If so - do it as soon as you are presented with it
This is the 2 minute rule
Use this rule with discretion - don't just default to doing everything as it comes along

Solution 1 - If that action can be done completely - apply the 2 minute rule

Scenario 2 - You're presented with a number of tasks and/or some will take more than 2 minutes

Stop and think about what each thing means to you - what do you have to do?
What is the 'action' you have to do to fully complete this task
Break it down into multiple actions if needed
Write each action down in a sentence with the 'action' word at the front
E.g. "OUTLINE the Redman report" or "CALL the garage to book the car in"
If you have a system - put it in there. If you don't - park it by putting it onto a list

Solution 2 - Break the task down into a doable action - and put onto a list OR use your notebook/action list/buckets to put it into your system

Scenario 3 - Being presented with 2 or more things which want your attention NOW

Use the Urgent/Important Test again

The phone is ringing it's your son's school
The boss wants a response to an email within 10 minutes
A colleague is asking for some help with a task

We decided that the school call was 'Urgent' AND 'Important' - so we did this first
The boss request - that was 'Urgent', but not 'Important' (in our test) so we did this next
Jane's request was 'Important' but not 'Urgent' - so we planned to help her later today when we had time

Solution 3 - Use the Urgent/Important principle...

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