Here’s an extract from an article by Brian Tracy in which he discusses creating large blocks of time in your diary to enable you to focus on something important and thereby achieve something useful.
I use this technique myself when I am planning my week ahead. If you don’t do this you run the risk of running out of time to complete what needs to be done even though you keep yourself very busy all the time. Nobody can get everything done. What matters is focusing on what needs to be done and then planning how long it will take and making sure you keep sufficient time clear from other distractions.
The discipline of predicting how long you need to complete something will help you plan for similar tasks in the future. If you plan that it will take one hour but, in reality, it takes two hours, you should adjust the record in your Diary to help you to make a better estimate next time. A lot of people I know who don’t manage to get things done seem to considerably under-estimate how long tasks will actually take.
People also under-value the importance of having short, regular breaks so find themselves dashing from one meeting to the next or writing one Report followed immediately by writing yet another.
The brain needs short breaks so that you can work at your most productive.
Create Large Chunks of Time
By: Brian Tracy
This strategy requires a commitment from you to work at scheduled times on large tasks. Most of the really important work you do requires large chunks of unbroken time to complete. Your ability to create and carve out these blocks of high value, highly productive time, is central to your ability to make a significant contribution to your work and to your life.
Thoughtfulness may be defined as a careful concern for the secondary consequences of each decision and each action. This is the essence of strategic thinking.
Start Immediately on Number One
Successful salespeople set aside a specific time period each day to phone prospects. Rather than procrastinating or delaying on a task that they don’t particularly like, they resolve that they will phone for one solid hour between 10 and 11 AM and they then discipline themselves to follow through on their resolutions.
Many business executives set aside a specific time each day to call customers directly to get feedback.
Create Specific Amounts of Time
Some people allocate specific 30-60 minute time periods each day for exercise. Many people read in the great books 15 minutes each night before retiring. In this way, over time, they eventually read dozens of the best books ever written.
The key to the success of this method of working in specific time segments is for you to plan your day in advance and specifically schedule a fixed time period for a particular activity or task.
You make work appointments with yourself and then discipline yourself to keep them. You set aside thirty, sixty and ninety minute time segments that you use to work on and complete important tasks.
Create Preplanned Periods
Many highly productive people schedule specific activities in preplanned time slots all day long. These people build their work lives around accomplishing key tasks one at a time. As a result, they become more and more productive and eventually produce two times, three times and five times as much as the average person.
Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.
First, organize each day to create large chunks of time you can use for key task completion.
Second, make a written appointment with yourself to work on a key task at a specific time.