This past Sunday, I decided to play a little game. I broke my day into hour-increments and then set out to get as much done as possible in each hour.
If you’re interested, I documented this day on my Instagram account (when in the app, just look at my profile and click on the “story” called “Do the Work”).
This “power day” (similar to Gretchen Rubin’s “power hour”), was all about clearing the decks of projects — both large and small — that I wanted to get done before the next week started.
To give you some sense of what was on my list for the day: I needed to prep two upcoming webinars, start the design for a new course I’m building, respond to some important emails, complete revisions on the design of a client website, complete some paperwork for new client contracts, and a few other smaller tasks that had added up.
Here are some of the things that helped me to have a successful and productive day:
- I started with a master list. I knew ahead of time what I wanted to accomplish.
- My master list was doable. Although it was certainly optimistic, my master list of tasks was also doable based on my usual workload on a weekend. This was important because I didn’t want to get stuck on one task and then not be able to move on to others.
- I got a good night’s sleep the night before. Starting the day rested was huge since I worked for about 9–10 hours by the end of the day. Although I enjoy naps on weekend days, they can tend to derail my productivity, so starting the day with enough sleep was crucial to my success.
- I didn’t make a schedule. As I worked through my list, I decided each hour what I wanted to work on next based on what I felt like doing. This helped me to not feel too constrained throughout the day.
- I documented my progress. Throughout the day, I posted Instagram “stories” so that people could see what I was able to get done and when. This accountability required me to pause at regular intervals throughout the day to note what I had been able to do and what I wanted to do next.
- I worked strategically. For example, I planned my less-brain intensive tasks for later in the day where I could complete them while watching the Olympics.
- I mixed work tasks with home tasks. I started my morning by folding and putting away several loads of laundry, changed my bed sheets, and I also cleaned my kitchen later in the day. By adding in some home-based tasks to my list, I didn’t feel like I was focusing too much in one area of my to-do list.
- I took a mid-day break. Around lunch time, I stopped to eat and to take a quick walk before diving back into the tasks on my list. This allowed me to be re-energized after a busy morning of work.
In completing this “power day” I also learned some important lessons about how long certain projects actually take (it’s easy to both under- and overestimate…), and about when I have the most energy during the day.
In fact, I loved the day so much that I’ve already planned another “power day” for this upcoming weekend with the theme of deep cleaning my house. I’ve already created my master list of tasks (it’s 50 items long) and I can’t wait to dive in.
Come find me on Instagram if you want to follow my progress or if you want to play along…
To think on:
- When can you schedule your next “power day”?
- What would be top of your list to get done?