This one is straight forward, meat & potatoes for ya! And, I’m going boldly begin by saying, “you’re welcome!” This isn’t rocket science at all. But it’s also something most people don’t do regularly. And it makes a difference, a HUGE difference. Whether it’s done once a week or every day, it can and will change your productivity. Go ahead, try it 10 times, heck, do it three times and try to tell me it didn’t make an impact. I double dog dare you!
Every Monday morning, I have a particular routine. This routine clears my brain and sets up my week all at the same time.
Routines and habits can be helpful or destructive but one thing they have in common is they don’t require much thought, effort or energy. As humans, that’s something our brains naturally gravitate toward, reducing the amount of energy we expend. So, I enjoy starting my Monday off with an intentionally planned routine that lets me comfortably ease into work and begin the week with a huge sense of accomplishment.
Do you get your week started that way? What would happen if you did?
If you’re ready for a little snapshot of my Monday morning, here it is:
1. Wake up and make coffee…because, obviously!
2. Sit down and do a Brain Dump. This will probably require another blog, so stay tuned for upcoming months. If you don’t know what that is, quite literally it’s writing down everything that’s circling around in your mind. From, picking up the dry-cleaning and scheduling the dog’s Vet appointment, to detailing the next steps of projects in motion and identifying the most important business goal to immediately see to completion. Resources necessary for this activity include any unfinished tasks from the previous week, an ongoing project management tracking, my open email account and calendar for the upcoming week.
As you study each resource listed and to-do items come to mind, get them out…on paper! Yes, written down and out of your head. If you don’t, let’s talk about what happens. You know the half time show at NBA games, with the guy who keeps all the dinner plates balanced and spinning all over his body? That’s what you’re doing to yourself mentally! And, it’s exhausting! It’s also how things get forgotten.
3. Prioritize the Brain Dump. This is how you make your list most effective! Decide what’s important, and what’s not important, all the way down to the annoying, ancillary stuff. The nit-picky things that need to be done, but don’t necessarily need to be done by you. (This is where delegation, staff, virtual assistants, or a children’s chore chart can prove to be extremely beneficial.) You might use the following labels: high priority, delegate and low priority.
4. Define what goes in the Power Hour. If you were to set aside a glorious hour of no interruptions and give clean, productive, focused effort, what would be most beneficial to get knocked out in that hour? For me, some weeks it’s major, proactive, eat the FROG FIRST items. The hard stuff, the stuff I know will make the MOST advantageous impact on my business long term and I need to make sure it doesn’t get pushed to the back burner. Other weeks, what makes the cut is the list of 18 things that I absolutely can’t delegate, some take 30 seconds to complete, others 10 minutes, but it will free up mental head space to just get them done. Whatever it is, highlight or move to another page your Power Hour items, so that is all you see.
5. Set the timer and GO! I have a competitive nature and value efficiency. I also squarely understand Parkinson’s Law: Work expands or contracts to fill the time allotted for its completion. And I truly love the feeling of winning, even if it’s with a stupid little game I play with myself. Moving the needle forward in any capacity is extremely satisfying. Completion gives energy. If you’re lacking motivation, just get something done, you’ll be surprised at the boost it gives.
So, an hour before I leave for my Monday morning yoga, the Power Hour begins. It’s just me, my coffee, my list, my computer and the clock. Time to crank. It. Out.
There is no answering of email, this is not time for anything reactive. Do not respond to anything incoming. I repeat, nothing touched that isn’t on that list! It’s outgoing, proactive activity solely driven by the items intentionally selected for this one hour. Depending on the role you have, or the industry you’re in, the world won’t fall apart if you ignore something for an hour. If you are in an industry where it will fall apart, maybe you’ll need to strategically schedule your Power Hour. I know people who work at 5am or 11pm, that’s what works for them. The world tends to be quite at that hour and supports tunnel vision.
6. The reward. Congratulations, you clocked your hour! What’s your reward after this intense grind? Is it a second cup of coffee? A trip down the hall to say good morning to a co-worker? Breakfast? Getting to check social media? A self-high-five? I really mean that! For me, it’s heading off to yoga.
When I began my journey into Coaching full time, I was given advice by a mentor, “Take incredibly good care of yourself”. Those words ring in my head and heart on a regular basis. If I’m going to be a source of clarity and a healthy space for others, I want to make sure I’m cultivating good internal soil. So, off to yoga I go as the next step in my Monday morning ritual. It’s a celebration and recalibration for what’s awaiting the rest of the day. Whatever it is, find your own little celebration or reward, you’ve earned it!
I’ve taught this tool to many clients. One was astonished how much she accomplished in one hour when she was intentional about not allowing any disruptions. Another said he could get more done in this focused hour away from the office than he could in 3 hours at the office with his door closed. How would your day change if you found 2 more hours?
Whether you implement this on a daily or weekly basis, I have no doubt that it will change your productivity! Give it a try and contact me with your Power Hour success story!