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Tactics intersecting awareness and productivity pt. 2

Chase Damiano
13 min read
Tactics intersecting awareness and productivity pt. 2

Previously, I shared the first of six strategies that have personally helped me (and the leaders I work with) be more focused, motivated, and productive without burning out or getting overwhelmed.

As a refresher, those first three strategies included…

  • align to your circadian rhythm;
  • do the hard thing at peak energy; and
  • time block.

Now that you’re aware of when you do your best work and how to structure your day for getting the hard thing done, the next three strategies will help you implement and experiment with how you structure you day.

#4 Batch like-work.

Batching like-work takes time blocking to a whole other level. When you batch like-work you organize your day and week to stack similarly-related tasks next to each other. This will minimize the mental switching costs discussed in last week’s newsletter.

Take a look at this example:

Image 1

On the left, this individual’s hard thing is “Create client proposal”. They start and stop working on the proposal seven different times throughout the day. Also laced in the day is checking email and social media, and having meetings.

Batching like-work means organizing your schedule more like the right. Hard thing all at once. Social media all at once. Meetings all at once. And emails and messages all at once. This creates an easier flow to the day through segmentation.

#5 Set boundaries and say no.

The most-often canceled meeting is the meeting that you have with yourself.

Meaning that for any dedicated commitment that you make to get something done, it is easiest to interrupt yourself in doing it when something else comes up. Typically due to the following mental narratives:

  • “I have time now. Let’s meet.”
  • “I can always do this later. This new thing sounds important. Let me switch gears.”

Just because you can say “yes” to whatever interruption appears, doesn’t mean that you should. Allowing yourself to be interrupted results in your attention being taken away from taking care of that big project looming over your head. Let your team know that you’re unavailable and provide them with a block of time for when they can come to you with questions. Consider having office hours at a dedicated time of day so your team can come to you with questions and for you to give them feedback. You’ll be able to focus both on the highest priorities of the company and be more mentally available for your team at the same time.

#6 No notifications.

Leaders often fear that if they turn all notifications off, they may miss something crucial. When in fact, true emergency events in the business rarely occur. If you’re the one person in the business who can solve any and the most important problems, then every challenge that arises will require your opinion and input before moving forward.

Break this cycle by giving your team the chance to solve problems without you. Do this by creating space between the time when a notification comes in and the time that you reply.

When you become less available to your team to solve their problems a few magical things happen.

  1. Suddenly the barrier for your team to get any issue solved on demand has just been raised. Now they sit with the problem longer before asking. Which inspires…
  2. most problems resolving themselves because the team leverages other available resources to solve that problem (aka you’re no longer the internal wiki or google for your company. Which in turn…
  3. helps your team to develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills which are valuable in entrepreneurial organizations, and…
  4. keeps you focused on higher-order challenges and opportunities that drive growth. It’s a win for everybody.

Ready to implement some of these strategies? Then start with a plan. Here’s a tool to help.

The Ideal Workday Planner will help you:

  • think in larger chunks and batch like-work.
  • clarify and communicate work boundaries (to increase focus), and
  • renegotiate your availability (to help your team think through their own solutions).

You can download the Ideal Workday Planner template below (plus see examples of how several other leaders have structured their workdays).

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    P.S. Which strategies do you already use and which ones do you plan to start using? I’d love to hear from you!

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