Every single person on earth has only got 24 hours in a day. Seven days a week and 365 days in a year.
Yet some people seem to get more done than others. Do they not sleep?
Productivity is something that most people struggle with. Whether you are in business, a student, or a stay-at-home mom trying to manage her home.
Take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of itself.Lord Chesterfield
What is a default diary?
In short, a default diary is when you book out blocks of time to do specific tasks at a specific time.
The theory behind the concept is that you do not get stuck on one specific task which overtakes your entire day when you had to accomplish an array of other important tasks. Essentially you ensure that you get to all the important stuff in your day without compromising any other task.
How do I start a default diary?
Sit down and work out what are the tasks that you need to accomplish on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
Revisit your Wheel of Life and the Eight Spokes of a Balanced Life.
Consider what tasks you manage best at what time of the day. I for one do my best writing and thinking very early in the morning. I also enjoy running first thing in the morning before my workday starts. I have tried to run at the end of the day. It has seldom worked for me.
Work out your strengths and weakness and fit your plan to suit your existing life as close as possible.
You do not need to make massive changes all at once. If you do fall into the over-ambitious trap, chances are you are setting yourself up for failure. 1% improvement on a daily basis is what you are ultimately looking for.
Take notes of how long it's taking you to do tasks and rework your diary to match your pace.
Focus on one thing at a time
Assign Monday mornings to do a 30-minute standup planning session. Monday afternoons for admin. Tuesday mornings for sales calls and Thursday afternoons for training. Suddenly you have a lot more focus and are not just running around in circles.
What if I am not finished with a task when the time is up?
The number one concept of blocking out time for a specific task is that you only have for example one hour to spend on customer calls. In essence, you need to work faster to get as much done in that hour as possible. No coffee breaks or chit-chats with colleagues. And when the time is up, you move on to the next task on your default diary.
What if you have interruptions throughout the day?
It makes sense to have an open-door policy for clients to contact you with issues that they might have. Unfortunately, this derails all your planning. If they know that you are only available between certain times, you will be more productive without any shadow of a doubt and if handled correctly will enhance customer service rather than detracting from it.
Switch off your phone if you have to. Take the landline off the hook. Finish the job at hand first.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
Schedule time to have fun. Schedule time to spend with your family and those who might become family.
If Wednesday afternoons are the standard time for your son's hockey games, book that time out to support your son. And Thursday evenings can be booked out for date-nights. Friday night can be scheduled for Braai-night, although if you are living in South Africa, that comes standard in any case.
Saturday mornings can be booked out for your trail run, while Sunday afternoons can be scheduled to catch up on reading or fixing your playlist or even to do some food prep for the week ahead.
Fine Tuning your Default Diary
It is going to take some time to fine-tune your default diary. It is going to take time to get used to the idea. There will be changes for each season. Even for each month.
Life is not a one-size-fits-all concept, but we can definitely learn from what works for other people.