Rob Brown of Encore Partners here.

If you’re here for day 19 of the Time Mastery Challenge, you are in the right place.

Today, we’re going to continue building your ideal day. If you think back over the last week, you have put your clients first, you’ve put them first in your ideal day. Next, you made sure that you built some time into your day to plant seeds, to work on client acquisition. And then yesterday, I said it’s really critical to schedule time for you. So, that was the third main element in creating your ideal day or creating your ideal week.

Today, I want to talk about what will become the most important 15 minutes of your day.

It may not start out this way. In fact, it may take a little bit more time as you develop the system for this 15 minutes. But it’s critical that you build this next step into your day.

It’s daily planning.

You need to set aside time each day, preferably at the beginning of each day, to do some daily planning. It’s on top of scheduling time for clients, planting seeds, scheduling time for you. You need to have time every day to plan. And when you get it right, I promise you it will take 15 minutes or less. And it will be the most valuable time of the day because it will ensure that you get the things done that you need to get done because you’re going to be thinking them through using a system that’s very similar to what we talked about when we talked about organizing your email inbox.

It’s really those same four words: delete, delegate, delay, and (to) do.

As you sit down each morning to do your daily planning, you look at your to do list and you decide of all of the things you’ve written down, carryovers from the day before, new things that you’ve added, things that came forward from your calendar…

What can I delete?

What really doesn’t need to get done? When we’re putting together lists of things that we want to do, oftentimes we write down more than we need to do because we’re not sure how it’s really going to plug in. But when you go back and look at that list, you realize there’s a lot of stuff that you really don’t need to do. So, as part of your daily planning, start by crossing out those things that really don’t ever need to be done.

Just delete them.

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to delegate.

What things do you have on your to do list that should be delegated to other members of your team or to other resources that support your team? If you delegate those upfront, you resist the temptation to try to do them yourself.

Then, what does not need to be done today? What can you delay?

And when you’re delaying you can think about that time that you scheduled for yourself. Remember, yesterday, we said schedule time for yourself…where you can get ready for appointments, you can do your research. So, when you’re delaying, you’re really filling in some of that time by deciding those things that are on your to do list that you didn’t delete, you can’t delegate, you’re not going to do them today. You need to push them into the future. Where are you going to plug them in? That’s where you start filling in some of that time that you’ve set aside for yourself.

And the final category is…what are the things I need to do today?

That’s your do list. One of the problems with to do lists is they tend to get too long. We tend to think that we can get more done than we can actually get done.

So, I have three rules for your to do list…

Rule number one…

Only have ONE to do list. I don’t care if it’s on a legal pad, a sticky note, or on your computer. Only one list. When you have things scratched down in lots of different places, things are going to get lost. You need to organize them in one place. I use a free tool online called workflowy.com. I use that to keep my to do list. I can see it on my computer. I don’t have sticky notes all over the place. And if I need to refer to it when I’m away from my desk, it has an app that goes with it so I can see it on my phone. But I have just one list. So, that’s the first essential element of a to do list…only to have one list.

Rule number two…

When you’re thinking about the things that you must do today, break them down into big tasks, medium-sized tasks, and small tasks. Think about those things that you’ve decided as you’ve gone through the delete, delegate, delay, and do process…all the things you need to do today. Which ones are big, which ones are medium, and which ones are small? If they’re all big things, you’re probably not going to get them done. Some people will use a 1-3-5 system for their big, medium, and small tasks. They’ll say, I’m going to work on one big thing today, three medium things today, and five small tasks…1-3-5. You could adjust those numbers to fit your style. Think about your typical day and the things that you need to work on as you’re scheduling that time for yourself…set aside to do items that need to get done. How can you break them down into big, medium, and small tasks? What’s the right balance? 1-3-5 seems to work really well.

Rule number three…

Once you settle on your to do’s for the current day, don’t add new tasks without eliminating something you’ve already decided to do.  Replace…don’t just add new tasks. In large part, you can probably just add to the bottom of your list and then add it into your to do’s in the days and weeks to come. But if you have to get it done today, don’t just add it to your list. Replace something. What can be replaced if something new comes in that’s so important that it needs to be done today?

So, that’s it for today.

I want you to focus on where you’re going to put daily planning into your ideal day and your ideal week to make sure you have that valuable 15 minutes…every day.

It may take you a half an hour when you first get started with this success habit, but eventually this will become the most important 15 minutes of your day.

Thanks for listening and we’ll talk tomorrow.



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