How to Structure Your Day to Get More Done

So many busy entrepreneurs (especially moms and dads!) try to work through massive to-do lists without a strategy.

This leads to paralysis when tasks try to compete for priority. At the end of the day, very little gets accomplished.

In this episode, learn the steps to tackle to-do lists with a plan that will completely transform your life and productivity.

With just a few changes to the way you approach your day, you’ll suddenly…

  • get more done
  • feel energized
  • have a solid long-term plan

Hint: We’ll be matching the importance of the task to the sacredness of the time, so pull out a pen and paper.

 

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Video Transcript:

Hi, Julie here and today I wanna talk to you about how to 10 x your productivity. This training is going to take a few minutes, so grab a pen and paper and follow along.

I often do can see moms especially, but dads too. They make these great big to-do lists and then they try to work through the to-do list without any sort of strategy and what happens is oftentimes there are things that have competing priorities. And if you just try to work through a list, you get paralyzed or you get distracted and you can’t get through it.

So here’s a different method. It’s going to take a little while to get used to, but once you do it, it will completely transform your life and your productivity.

So step one is to go ahead and identify the blocks of time that you have in your day. This way: all of us have certain times of the day where we have a hundred percent of our brain power. This means that we are not interrupted. We don’t have kids hanging on us and we have 100 percent of our brain to focus, so identify that.

In my life, my 100 blocks of time are from 8 to 10 in the morning and again from 8 to 9in the evening. These are the only times in a 24 hour period that I literally have 100 percent of my brain uninterrupted.

From 10 to 1pm, and from 2 to 8 in the afternoon, I have virtually no extra brain power. Why?

Because I’m taking care of kids. I’m running errands. I’m, you know, doing all the things that happen in a household. So this is what I would call 10 blocks of time.

Now, if you don’t watch kids, maybe your 10 blocks of time are things like when you’re in the car commuting or you’re at really unproductive meetings at work. You know, you, you have to actually be there and you have to do stuff. So your brain is mostly occupied and you have very little brain space for your own thoughts. That’s what I would call a 10 block.

So you’re 100 block is the most precious time and the 10 block is often what I consider kind of like wasted time because you’re not really being productive. Right in the middle is the 50 block.

The 50 block is for most of us, the majority of our day, and this is when we can get stuff done, but there’s always something competing. Maybe it’s all the dinging on your phone, emails coming in, people coming into your office, calls, kids, you know. I have a whole section of my day probably from like 1 to 2 in the afternoon when my son is with me, but I can get stuff done, but I still have to kind of keep an eye and an ear out.

So your job is to go through your 24 hours, take away the times that you’re sleeping and identify every other hour as either a 10 or a 50 or a 100. That’s step one.

Step two is to get comfortable with this idea of the tyranny of the urgent and everything is either urgent or important or not urgent and not important. And it’s very hard to tell sometimes.

But here’s just a general idea. A number one means it’s urgent and important. So things like paying bills, right? It’s urgent. You’re going to get in trouble if you don’t pay your bills and it’s important because you need your house.

The second one is urgent but not important. Okay? So this could be things like laundry, right? You need clean underwear, it’s urgent, but isn’t really important in the grand scheme of life. Eh, not really.

Three is not urgent but super important. So things like this would be like if you’re a business owner and you want to like work on a new curriculum or work on a new blog post, maybe you want to watch a training.

These things are not screaming for your attention, but they’re really important to the development of your business. And by the way, threes are the things that often get ignored. These are the things like, I’m going to write a book someday. It’s three, it’s important, it’s not urgent, and it often falls to the bottom of a list.

And number four is not urgent and not important. So things like trolling on Facebook, watching Netflix, picking up the toys, it’s just not either of those things.

So once you’ve identified your 10, you’re 50 and you’re 100 blocks, now go to your to-do list and I want you to categorize everything on that to-do list as a one, a two or a three or a four.

Here’s the problem. Most people don’t pay attention to their 100 blocks of time and they do the wrong things during that time. They do stuff that’s not important, not urgent or urgent and not important. And they mess up the whole routine.

So let me give you an example. 8 to 10 is my 100 block. I don’t realize it’s my 100 block. So what do I do? I get up and I do things like do the laundry and answer emails. Both of those things on my list are not really that important, but I’ve just wasted my 100 block doing them. Then at 10:00 from 10 to 1 pm, I have a 10 block, right? My kids running around, I’m really busy, but that’s when I decide now that the laundry is done and the emails are answered. I’m gonna try to do a website, right? And it’s a massive fail because I’ve only got 10 percent of my brain power and I can’t do it. And then I get frustrated.

So around 1 in the afternoon. Now that’s my 50 block. The kids quietly playing, they’ve had lunch and I decide I’m so frustrated. My website didn’t work. I didn’t get it done. I’m just going to go to the grocery store because we need dinner and that’s not really something that needs a lot of brainpower. And I go and do it even though I have a little bit more brainpower in a 50 block than a 10. Then I come home and it’s really crazy and everything’s going on. And I realized, oh shoot, I need to pay the bills. And so I’m trying to pay the bills and do homework and deal with the kids and I get really frustrated. And so I shut my computer and I decide to go outside, you know, with the kids, and I plugged my earbuds in and I try to listen to a training while I’m watching kid on the slide.

And then he falls. He breaks his nose, right? This is just classic mom business life. And then at the end of the night, at 8:00 at night, we decide we’re just gonna troll on Facebook and watch Netflix even though that’s our 100 block. So that’s typical. But when you switch it around and when you start to see your 100 blocks as super precious sacred time and you only do things that are either a one which means urgent and important or a three which is not urgent, that’s still really important. And you only do those things during your 100 blocks, you’re going to be so much more productive. So what does my routine look like with this new methodology? I just told you what happened the first time I tried it and how I didn’t really get anything done because I had all my tasks and time mixed up.

Here’s how it works. Instead, when I wake up in the morning at 8:00 AM, I know it’s a 100 block and even though there’s laundry and emails to answer, I ignore them all. The only thing I focus on during that time is putting together a website for a client and paying my bills to things that are absolutely urgent and important in the moment and I do nothing else.

At 10:00 am, this is when my time changes. My son, the babysitter leaves, now I’m in a 10, but you know what? I can still do things in a 10. I can do things like laundry and grocery shop, so I throw a load of laundry in and then I go to the grocery store with my kid and I waste that 10 time actually getting some things done off my list. At 1:00 we come back and now it’s a 50 and I know that I don’t have 100 percent of my brain power, but I have about 50 so I decided to do things like respond to email.

This is stuff that’s urgent, but it’s not really that important and so I do those things. I also decided you know what, I’m going to format a blog post, not urgent, but it is important for me to get done. So I get those half mindless things done from two to eight, forget it. It’s back to 10.

So I look and I see is there anything on my list that I do that’s not important and not urgent? I can do it during that time. So trolling on Facebook, catching up on Netflix, you know, picking up the toys, things like that. And then finally from eight tonight, it’s my last 100 block. I look at what’s left on my list and there’s only one thing left and it’s really important. It’s a facebook ads training and so I shut off Netflix, I ignore whatever toys are left and I focus on the training.

In that day, I’ve gotten everything done and I’ve gotten everything done well because I’ve matched the importance of the task to the sacredness of the time.

So if this was helpful for you or you have any questions about how to figure out where your time blocks are and how important tasks are, leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you. And for more videos and hacks and strategies like this, you can go to juliestoian.com.