Fall is upon us.
For kids, it’s back-to-school. For the rest of us, it’s a time to get back to work and settle into a routine. Some of my most rewarding achievements have come from establishing routines in an effort to become more productive.
Perhaps it’s a result of being a former college athlete, but over the years, I’ve used many of the same routines and rituals I once used in sports – in business. For example, I split up my week into game days and practice days.
What follows is part one of a series, outlining the time system I’ve used over the past 10 years to fine-tune both my weekly and daily routines. In part two, I’ll discuss the principles behind my routines along with the tools and how I put them into practice. Keep in mind, these are just guidelines, not hard and fast rules. What works for me may not work for you.
The Entrepreneurial Time System (via the Strategic Coach)
I was introduced to The Entrepreneurial Time System (created by Dan Sullivan and Babs Smith) in 2000 (as a member of the Strategic Coach). The system has given me a simple framework for developing effective weekly and daily routines. The system calls for dividing your days into three distinct types – Free Days, Focus Days, and Buffer Days.
A Free Day is a 24-hour period, in which I don’t engage in any business-related activities. In my experience, to perform at your peak during your game days you must be rejuvenated. When you run out of energy, you don’t have the creativity to seize opportunities. You also become boring, having only one thing to talk about: work.
Sundays are my default Free Day. During my free days, I spend time with family, close friends, watch movies, and read.
A Focus Day is a 24-hour period, in which I spend 80 percent of my time on the activities that create results. These are my game days. On Focus Days, you concentrate on your most important business-related activities, relationships, and opportunities. What should you do on your Focus Days? Think about what you do personally that makes the greatest contribution to your company’s bottom line. Imagine how productive you could be if you could spend a day attending to just these tasks, without interruption, and with full preparation and support.
My focus day activities involve having meaningful conversations with clients about their business and writing (strategy documents, proposals, contracts, emails related to income generation, blog posts, online media). Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are my Focus Days.
If Focus Days are game days, Buffer Days are my practice or rehearsal days. On Buffer Days, I handle all of the details that would otherwise distract my attention on a Focus Day. I use these days to catch up, clean up messes, delegate, do research, and learn new skills. Most importantly, I use them to do the necessary planning that will ensure that nothing intrudes on my Free Days & Focus Days.
Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays are my Buffer Days.
Putting into Practice
This system might seem complicated, but in action, it’s fairly simple and straightforward. Over the next 90 days, put these concepts to work and watch both your level of rejuvenation and overall productivity sky-rocket.
About the Author:
Mitch Fanning is VP of Strategy & Business Development for Fruition Interactive, an authorized member of Social Media Club, and founding member of Social Media Club Niagara. He’s spent 10 plus years working with businesses of all sizes, from global brands including NBC.com to Canada’s fastest growing Internet companies ranked in the 2009 PROFIT 100. Follow Mitch on his adventures in new media at [mitchellfanning.com].
Photo credit: Strategic Coach