On a typical day, how many things do you cross off your ToDo list? And how often do you get distracted from the task at hand?
Want to be more productive? Divide your work into appointments and schedule them on your calendar, so you know what to do and when. I like to use a Google Calendar, since it syncs with my phone and I get reminders.
How it Works
At the beginning of each week, make a recurring 15-minute appointment to do the following:
- Schedule and/or confirm any meetings, appointments, and events.
- Take a look at your ToDo list and slot in appointments for all of your primary action items. These include client work, proposals, content creation, reporting, billing, etc. Depending on how you work best, schedule these in one to two-hour increments.
- Add an optional appointment at the end of your week to tie up any loose ends.
- Make 15-minute appointments throughout the week for email, phone calls, and (if it’s part of your workflow), social media marketing.
Email: Set three 15-minute appointments each day: first thing in the morning, at lunchtime and at the end of the day. Responding to each email as they come in distracts you from the projects at hand. Of course some things are urgent, so deal with those in real time. However, most emails can be sent in a batch when you set time aside.
Phone calls: If phone communication is an essential part of your daily work, then treat it as a long appointment. However, if you are like me and the only time you talk on the phone (other than for meetings) is to make a hair appointment, call the mechanic, or book a lunch, one 15-minute slot for miscellaneous calls late in the day should be fine.
Social Media: Those who have their own business or work in marketing know how important it is to maintain a social media presence. However, they also know how time-consuming it can be. Unless you work in social media or are participating in a Twitter Chat, Facebook Live, or other online event, two 15-minute social-media increments (early and late in the day) should be fine. Use your time to post, scan your feed, share others’ articles (or retweet), comment, and more.
If an urgent situation arises and you are unable to keep an appointment, move it to another time. That’s what makes electronic calendars so practical. Click, drag, and reschedule. But only do this when absolutely necessary.
Debra Eckerling is the founder of WriteOnOnline.com, a website and community for writers, and author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog. A Project Catalyst, Debra works with individuals and small businesses to strategize, set goals, and manage their projects.