Will your to-do list never die? Is the number of things you think you should, could or would do simply overwhelming? Are there just too many things and never enough hours?
One simple way to have a massive productivity boost and kill some of this stuff off for once and for all, is to have a power day. An oldie, but a goldie, the power day is the antidote to overwhelm, inertia and procrastination. Here’s how it works.
What is a power day?
A power day is a whole day devoted to the pursuit of your goals, and I mean the whole day. You get up, you start, you do not take breaks, you do not stop, you keep going until you get into bed.
It is exhausting.
It is the most productive, satisfying and exhilarating day you will have, probably over your whole year.
The key to a successful power day is preparation.
Pre-book your power day, and make whatever arrangements you need to support it. No time to take a day out? Treat it like a funeral, or some other must-attend event that just has to happen, regardless of convenience. Book it on a weekend, take a day off work, get a babysitter, do what you must. This is happening and there have to be no distractions.
Once your arrangements are in place make sure you have all the basic supplies you need. Remember, there are NO BREAKS. You need on-the-go food and drinks – set yourself up a refreshment station if you have to. Make sure you have a playlist ready to go if working to music helps you. Whatever you need to get you through the day – have it to hand.
Next – and this is the crucial part. What are you going to do?
Take the time to sit down and write you whole to-do list out, if you don’t have one. If you do have a to-do list, but it’s quite short, put everything on there – it can be an activity wish list, that’s fine. Depending on what time you sent your alarm for, and what time you plan to go to bed, you will have something like 16-18 hours to do things in – that’s nearly half a working week, BUT WITH NO DISTRACTIONS.
Make sure there are no distractions. Turn the phone off, do NOT look at your email, Facebook etc. do not answer the door. All those people desperate to contact you will still be there tomorrow – it’s one day.
Got someone in your life who just might legitimately have an emergency they need you help with (e.g. elderly relatives, childcare)? Make sure you have a special arrangement in place that they can contact you, but they know not to unless it really is a crisis. Make this exceptional arrangement for them only. Do NOT vary it for anyone else.
Back to your list – what kind of things are on there?
Do you need any equipment. Phone (charged?), bin bags? Paperwork or statements to hand? Again, ensure all your needs are met in advance – you don’t have time to nip to the shops for supporting materials.
Look at the type of tasks you want to so, versus the day you have chosen. Do you need to make lots of phone calls to people in office hours? Are you doing things where the date or time don’t matter? Do the shops need to be open? Check want you want to do, and double-check your timing is wise, if not, think again, and move the date to a day of the right type.
Done all your planning? Then get to it!
When you are working through all your activities, if you hit a blocker, park it and carry on with something else – the idea here is to finish, break or progress lots of things in one go.
Variations on the power day.
No time for a power day? Try a power hour – same thing, shorter timescale – you’ll still be astonished what you get done.
All your activities on one theme? Great – it’s a project day. There is a reason 24hour hack-a-thons and similar are so popular – you make unbelievable progress if you FOCUS – Follow One Course Until Success.
Work-based power day. More difficult but with stellar planning can be pulled off – you need to cancel all meetings, ignore email and phone etc. Essentially an on-site away day.
If you try a power hour, I’d love your feedback on how it went. Any other thoughts or ideas? Leave a comment below.