We all want to accomplish all of our tasks for the day. We want to leave nothing behind as we advance to the next day. However, this rarely happens. Different distractions pop up as we struggle to find the balance between family and work. We find ourselves in a constant time crunch as we strive to accomplish everything we set out to do.
This is the unfortunate fate of most people’s days. Choices must be made and certain tasks must get moved to tomorrow. Now imagine if you could accomplish all of those tasks in one day. Checkmark after checkmark and not a single X in sight.
I faced a similar problem with my tasks. I would write a massive list of tasks I needed to accomplish but struggle towards the end and decide which tasks to put on tomorrow’s schedule.
How That All Changed
Now I wake up and accomplish what I need to accomplish. I don’t push tasks off until tomorrow. I do them all. The big change I made was time stamping my schedule the night before.
While most people will simply list all of the tasks they must accomplish, I create a more realistic approach by identifying when I do each task. For instance, today I’m writing blog posts for my blog from 7:00 am to 8:30 am. Later in the day, I’m recruiting affiliates for my Productivity Virtual Summit from 5:00 pm to 6:15 pm.
This scheduling approach reminds me of high school and college, and as a college student, these memories aren’t distant (yet). Students show up to class because it’s clear when the class takes place. Students also know when their classes will end and when to go to the next class.
In the same way students effortlessly transition from class to class (skippers not included), you must effortlessly transition from task to task. Once the schedule is made up, students don’t decide which class they go to next. They just look at the schedule. Your productivity must work in the same way.
Give Yourself 1-2 Extra Hours
When you craft your schedule, a wise policy is to overestimate the amount of time you’ll need to accomplish each task. I intentionally leave the last 1-2 hours of my day blank just in case one of the tasks goes beyond its assigned time limit. That way, I don’t feel stressed about accomplishing my goals because I know I’ve provided myself with a comfortable margin of error.
Some people don’t have the luxury of the 2-hour margin of error. Other people can only afford an hour or under 30 minutes. Regardless of what your margin is, ensure that you have that margin in place. It’s better to accomplish all 10 tasks in a given day than it is to accomplish 10 of the 11 tasks assuming the impact of all of these tasks is equal.
If you accomplish 10/10 of your tasks for the day, you’ll feel happy and have more momentum for the following day. If you accomplish 10/11 of your tasks for the day, you’ll spend too much time thinking about that one task you didn’t accomplish instead of the 10 tasks that you did accomplish.
Learn More About Yourself Each Day
Time stamping all of the activities in your day gives you a clear record of when you performed each task and how long each task took. You’ll also discover the optimal time to perform specific tasks.
For instance, I discovered that I’m best at writing content in the morning. This is the time when I can easily write thousands of words in a given hour. However, I’m more frazzled in the evening and don’t have as much bandwidth to write the next 1,000 word article.
I wanted to discover something I could do in the evening that would allow me to continue being productive beyond 7 pm, and that’s when I learned I’m better at creating videos later in the day than earlier in the day.
Before this discovery, I was on a bad streak of not doing videos even though I enjoy it when I’m doing them. It turns out I don’t enjoy creating videos in the afternoon but absolutely love to create them late at night. In one instance, I almost stayed up past 2 am creating videos.
Granted, this was on the day before a vacation in which I slept for the entire carride, and I wake up at 5:30 am each day so 2 am days almost never happen. However, I know how to remain productive by assigning myself tasks that match up with their optimal times for accomplishment.
I’ve heard before that we have biological clocks that dictate when we’re productive and when we’re not productive. For instance, some of us are hardwired to be productive in the morning and sizzle out in the evening.
However, I believe that each of our tasks also has a biological clock of sorts that is entirely based on the individual. Just because you’re a productive writer in the morning doesn’t mean you can become productive at any given task in the morning.
The more you schedule your day and time stamp each task, the more you’ll optimize your day so you’re performing the right tasks at the optimal times of day.
The more you track your time and time stamp your schedule, the more you’ll learn about yourself. This knowledge will help you identify which tasks to do at which times of the day. That way, you can skyrocket your productivity and live a fulfilled life.
What are your thoughts on creating a time stamped schedule each day? Do you have any suggestions on boosting productivity? Have a question for me? Sound off in the comments section below.