Below is one of the lessons from our Time Management course.
Utilizing Themed Days for Focus
Something I’ve hinted at in some of the previous lessons is this idea of having themed days.
The idea is that each day of the week, you have one primary focus: one “theme” for the day.
This allows you to give your full attention to something for the majority of your day, without having to switch modes frequently during the day. This is something that can be helpful if you have multiple areas of responsibility in your job and/or your home life. Or, if you have multiple projects you’re working on, you could use themed days to focus on one main project each day of the week.
A friend of mine works for himself and has multiple areas of responsibility: He hosts a podcast, he has a regular newsletter he publishes, and he also does coaching and client work. So he themes his days.
One day of the week is only for podcasting: he prepares, records, edits, etc. One day of the week is only for writing. Two days of the week are the only days he meets with his clients. One day of the week is when he does all of his admin work.
You could also approach themed days as focusing on different projects on different days.
If you have two or three or more active projects at work, perhaps you could give each project its own whole day each week. Instead of taking each day and workin on each project for one hour at a time.
What’s nice about themed days is that it allows you to go into “monk mode” for a whole day and give an extended amount of focus on a particular project. This allows you to enter what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls a “flow” state.
When you find flow, you are more engaged in the task at hand. Your skill level improves. And you make more progress over less time.
What this means is that 4 hours spent on one project all at once may be far more productive than four, one-hour chunks spent on a project spread out over 4 days.
Additionally, what’s nice about themed days is that when something hits the “inbox” for a project or area of responsibility, you know exactly when you’ll next get to it.
As I’ve mentioned before, I used to use my Sunday afternoons to open all my snail mail and pay all my bills. Sundays were my family admin day. So I didn’t even bother with the mail until Sunday, and I always knew that I’d have an opportunity to get to the admin work on Sundays. This let me freely focus on other things during the week. And that’s exactly what a themed day does.
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