Building Solid Structure in Your Day

Episode 155 is all about getting organized in a way that works for you.  It might take some trial and error to find the best method for your madness, but techniques for managing your day can transform your productivity and satisfaction.


High Structure vs Low Structure

In the book The ONE Thing is time blocking is described as a scheduling tool to organize what you will do and when you will do it. Think of it as making appointments with yourself for the things that need to get done that day.  You mark it in your calendar and stick to it.

A single time block is one small element of structure you can add to your daily routine, and you might find that leaving the rest of the day flexible means that you can be respond to everything else that comes up throughout the day. This model often works well for people in highly volatile situations, by getting your most important work out of the way and know situations will arise daily that need your attention.

Or you might do better with a high level of structure, time blocking every part of your day. In this model, the most important work of the day is time-blocked, as well as all other tasks for the day so it's more specific. This works well for people with several deadlines and need a timeline to get things done.

Plan your schedule around your energy

Starting your day the same way can motivate you to get the ball rolling, even when you don’t feel like it.  Here is a simple guide to help you make the most of your work day.

  • Make a list of what you need to get done every day of the week. In the beginning, nothing is too small.

  • Now assess your energy levels. Think about when you do your best work. Are you a morning person or do you do your best work later in the day? Use your most energetic time effectively and embrace the slumps in your day so you can plan around them.

Set up a daily ritual

Spend 10 minutes in the evening planning your next day's morning and evening routines. Alternatively, you can plan the entire week on one day and review the upcoming day the night before.

Choose an activity that puts you in a positive mindset to start off the day and one that you’re able to commit to regularly.  You can also make time to meditate, take breaks on purpose and have time for your family.  Studies have shown that regular exercise boosts alertness, energy, productivity, creativity, and mental focus. 

The quiet hours of the morning can be the ideal time to focus on an important work project without being interrupted.  Evenings are for planning and preparation for the next day. As you review your plan the night before and you know exactly what you need to do first thing in the morning without wasting time, you are ahead of the game.

Emily's Priorities, Needs and Wants lists help you organize your day to determine those things that must get done, down to the things that you'd like to get done that day. View them here.

Listen to the full episode here for more ways to structure your day to fuel your productivity.