You sit down to finish that report and – “A Mr. James is here to see you.” You get off of lunch ready to tackle a big project and – There are 28 unread messages in your inbox. How can we function when we’re dealing with everything all at once? Well, one of the best ways to get more done is to quit multitasking. So how should you manage your day?
Split Your Day into Three
Divide your workload into three types: hard work, client time, and light work. Obviously not all work is created equal, so by focusing on each of the three individually, you can get the most out of each one and get through each part of your day quicker.
This is the longest, hardest, and often most important work that you have to handle. Tough project? A report or presentation that’s going to take a lot of time? The best way to get a handle on the hardest or most time-consuming parts of your job is to get them out of your way as soon as possible instead of having the stress, worry, and overwhelming thoughts leaking over into the rest of your day.
At the beginning of your day, you are as sharp as you’ll be all day, don’t have a ton of stuff on your mind that compiled over the course of the day, and (hopefully) aren’t yet being constantly distracted. Use this time as your most effective work time and use it to focus on the tough, overwhelming, or very important tasks – the ones you don’t want to do or would rather put off. And turn off the phone and email alerts while you’re working!
This is your appointment block. Outside of emergencies or extraordinary circumstances, allow clients to schedule appointments only during this time. Depending on how many appointments you make, this can take up half your day or just a couple of hours. It’s best to have client time after your hard work time, unless your time with clients is your hard work or you have to see clients first thing in the morning.
This can be a tough one because clients will often have time constraints, or if you’ve put client time on your calendar well in advance, they may have to wait a bit longer than usual. But its important to remember that the goal of this is to serve your clients better by focusing more on them and not being overwhelmed by a plethora of different thoughts, tasks, and issues.
Leave the stuff that doesn’t require a ton of willpower for the end of your day. Paperwork, follow up calls, re-ordering, tackling email overload, etc. are usually not tasks that require immediate attention and aren’t difficult or stressful, so you shouldn’t have a procrastination problem as you would with larger tasks.