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Prioritizing Your Day

April 26, 2010
by Scott Levitt ·  

Scott’s Thoughts: Do What You Can When You Can
Prioritize your day according to your focus & energy…

“Time is the most precious element of human existence. The successful person knows how to put energy into time and how to draw success from time.”
–Denis Waitley, productivity consultant

Mastering the art of productivity requires self-knowledge. There are no hard-and-fast rules for becoming more productive– there are only helpful hints which will direct you to discover what strategies work for you.

One tip, however, seems to work for everyone I’ve encountered: Plan your tasks around your capacity to complete them.

Throughout your day, your mental focus and physical energy will vary. As you organize your to-do list for the next day (or coming week), you’ll find you’ll get more done if you match tasks which require complex thought or extraordinary attention to the times of day in which you are sharpest or best able to focus.

Take, for example these three tasks:

1. Cleaning out the SPAM folder on your email.
2. Hand writing “thank you” notes to clients who’ve sent you referrals
3. Drafting a new blog post for your website

Now consider these three times of day:

A. 10AM, after your second cup of coffee
B. 3PM, between client meetings
C. 8PM, watching baseball on TV

If you were to match the above tasks to the above times, which do you think would make the most sense? Your personal situation may vary, but for many, the optimal task-to-time planning would be:

1 = B (cleaning out the spam between client meetings)
(Afternoons tend to be low-energy and since you’re between clients, it’s easy to break-off from the task at any time.)

2 = C (thank you notes during the ballgame)
(Writing personal notes by hand is an ideal task to perform while you’re relaxed and in “leisure time.”)

3 = A (drafting a new blog post after morning coffee)
(With a good night’s rest and a little caffeine, you’re likely to write your sharpest posts!)

Too often we allow ourselves to “slip into” tasks when our focus and energy should be spent on better tasks. Be mindful of not only of what you want to accomplish, but when the best time is to perform it. You’ll reclaim more time and acheive better results.

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2 Responses to “Prioritizing Your Day”
  1. I look forward every week to your wealth of knowledge. You can’t even begin to know how much you have helped our team.

  2. Eric says:

    It’s our pleasure, Danicia! Thanks for taking the time to read our newsletter and website. By all means, feel free to share it with others.

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