When I was writing the Having Your All book with Nisha Shah- this was the mantra I had pasted above my computer…”There’s No Hocus Pocus in Focus”. Why? Because I had to see this saying to keep me reminded that I needed to just simply focus. I knew that my number one barrier in writing that book was distraction. What’s to prevent me from throwing in a pile laundry into the washing machine, emptying the dishwasher or walking the dog instead of sitting down in my chair to write?
I also found Peter Bregman’s book extremely helpful in planning my days. It’s called:
18 Minutes, Find Your Focus, Master Distraction and Get the Right Things Done(2011). Peter Bregman’s 18 minutes imply that it takes that amount of time to plan your day. He encourages us all to take 18 minutes out of our day and make it a ritual to help become clear on what to focus on for the day. He divides those 18 minutes into 3 sections as follows : 5 Minutes in the morning- 8 minutes every hour through out the day and then 5 minutes at the end of the day. Here are those tasks divided into 3 Steps.
- STEP 1 (5 Minutes)- “Your Morning Minutes”: Take your to do list and decide what you will work on that day. Remember if a “to do” has been on your list for 3 days- make sure to tackle that first.
- STEP 2 (1 Minute Every Hour)- Have your phone or alarm ring or beep on an hourly basis. That “beep” or “ring” will be a checkpoint to assess how you are doing and then re-assess if necessary what needs to be accomplished to get your goals done.
- STEP 3 (5 Minutes)- At the end of the day, after you shut down your computer take time to assess how the day went. Ask: How did the day go? Who do I need to contact next? What needs to be done?
Peter promises if you practice this 18 Minute Ritual you will feel more productive and successful.
I do realize that this ritual does not work during the day if you are running around from meeting to plane to train…but I believe having a ritual or system in place can help people like me get more things done in less time and then have more time for self care, friends and family.