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Whilst it may have a time and place, who wants to feel like the scarecrow in “Wizard of Oz,” simply whiling away the hours?
I’ve now left the corporate world behind. I see how easy it is to fill my days with bits and pieces, not really knowing what I’ve accomplished.
I’ve been thinking about my friend who lives by the idea of “Eat that Frog” (it always makes me chuckle). Our “frog” is the item on our list that we typically procrastinate on. It is also the one that can have a huge impact on results and positive next steps.
Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
Here’s how to make the most of every day:
1. Using time with intention
Whilst I haven’t started strongly, I want to start making changes and work toward consistency. I guess the key for each of us is knowing what works for us as individuals. Seth Godin talks about either you using time or it using you. We can all put time to good use, but without direction and intention, will our spending get us where we want or need to be?
I’ve found notes from a session I attended years ago called Productivity Ninja, by Matt Cowdroy. The tips apply for anyone—and they’re simple for those of us working at our kitchen tables. I’m going to turn off the ping of notifications and organise clearer sight of my daily priorities.
2. Splitting up your week
I’ve also decided to try allocating days for certain things, or just ensuring that certain days are free of some things. You might like to consider set days for networking, an admin morning each week where you truly have to “eat that frog,” or time for reading articles.
I also spent time thinking about weekly planning. Was Sunday evening the right time? Maybe it would work better to have it all sorted on Friday before the weekend kicks in.
What about planning buffer time? Surely there is benefit to not overplanning and feeling like every minute is scheduled. Executive assistants seem to have this sorted for their CEOs, although I know that urgent priorities often fill these otherwise allocated spots.
How to start the day? The right start can help us achieve more, think more clearly, and focus on the things that matter. Tim Ferris is a lifestyle guru focused on lifestyle optimisations and has morning rituals to get him in the right frame of mind. One of those is to simply make his bed, which provides a small initial sense of achievement. I had a colleague during lockdown who would shower, put on lipstick, then walk around the house before commencing her day. I guess it was her transit to work.
3. Everyday accomplishments
Let’s talk about achieving during the day. I guess it’s back to eating frogs, learning how to accomplish things, taking charge, and getting into that routine before distraction kicks in. What about those priorities that we know in advance will interrupt our days? Try planning for them and ensuring that highly valued tasks are tackled before these priorities.
How about at the end of each day writing down the top three things to accomplish the next day, then using that list to start the following morning?
4. Manage your energy
I’ve been one of those people who chases. It is usually multiple things at once, and it can be exhausting, especially when I’m not quite sure it’s all worth it. Managing energy is critical, and knowing when to stop pushing is essential to preventing burnout. You might be the type to consistently work hard and fast, or maybe you’re the slow then last-minute scurry type. Either way, time for rest and recuperation could be valuable. Knowing when we need to adjust is important.
We’re designed to have periods of rest and rejuvenation. Don’t forget that there are many types of rest—physical, mental, sensory, creative, social, emotional, and spiritual. How about considering the time we put aside for contemplation, reading a good book, or even a chilled pajamas day.
I hope these suggestions help you to find a high-performing, happy, and healthy space. Remember that things happen unexpectedly, like COVID-19, and all you can do is go with the flow.
In my next few weeks, I’m going to eat a lot of frogs and hopefully happily follow that yellow brick road.
When managing your time and energy, what works for you?