I was recently listening to a podcast that discussed the concept of designing your week around special events to give you something to look forward to in your day-to-day life. They suggested implementing a "Taco Tuesday" or a "Spa Saturday" to break up the monotony. The idea is a good one that I want to push even further. Forget "Taco Tuesday", let's talk about "Focus Friday."
This little known time hack will help you clear things off your plate, faster than your uncle at an all-you-can eat taco buffet.
1. Block Off a Focus Day Each Week.
Once a week schedule yourself a recurring weekly appointment for a 3-4 hour block of "Focus Time."We'll call this day your "Focus Day" (even though you're really only blocking off a 3-4 hour block during that one day.)
I encourage you to choose a time earlier in the day to avoid being side tracked by random emails and tasks. For me, this is "Focus Friday" (actually I do this Tuesday, Thursday, and Fridays, but hey, you have to start somewhere.)
From 8-12, I turn my cell phone off, shut down my email program, and focus on just one or two high value activities that will most help my business grow.
Here are a few of my favorite Focus Day activities:
Closing a major strategic relationship that leads to a massive increase in sales.
Making a great senior level hire.
Making a key strategy decision as to things like pricing, business model, selection of market, etc.
Intentionally designing and role modeling company culture.
Questioning a "sacred cow" in my business that has become a drain on our resources.
This uninterrupted block of time allows me to do my best work and I leave the office on Friday afternoon knowing that I haven't just checked off tasks on my to-do list, but rather I've created real value for the company.
2. Score Yourself.
The next tip I have for you should be done immediately after your Focus Day time is complete. Score yourself (1-5) on how well you did investing your best time on your highest value activities. Keep a log that you fill out after each focus session in your business journal. It only takes you two minutes. This simple task will allow you to objectivity look at your value creation for this time and get better and better over time.
3. Enlist Your Team's Help.
My Focus Days are something that my team knows all about and we coach our key staff members to set up their own focus times during their onboarding process. They understand why focus time matters for the company, and we work together to help create the buffer needed to focus on creating real value for our organization.
For some team members this means holding all calls and meetings during the 3 hour window I have designated. For other team members, it means learning to turn to other team members or our company systems to find answers to questions during this focus time.
4. Spread The Word.
Once your staff sees the valuable work you are doing during your focus time, it is a natural progression that other key team members will follow suite. Encourage them to create their own Focus Day and share their schedule with others so that they can all be on the same page.
The more time you can focus on high value tasks away from your inbox, the closer you will get to building an owner independent business primed for growth.