Welcome back to our special series on time management. Last week we chatted about taking a bird’s eye view of your time (go ahead and check it out. I’ll wait. I’ve got all the time in the world, because I know how to create it!). I showed you how to soar above the clutter and the noise and see the bigger picture.

Today we’re going to go a step further and sink back down a little bit into our lives. We’re still up there in the sky, just at the level of 10,000 feet instead of 20,000 this time.

It’s easy for us to get sucked into the minutiae or everyone else’s pulls on our time, but there’s one surefire way to minimize the distractions and maximize the output. That’s what I’m going to share with you here.

It’s the way I structure every day in my business, and it’s changed my life for the better.

Tell me if this sounds familiar: you’ve got emails to read and respond to, Facebook groups to check in with, clients or vendors to call, marketing strategies to execute, your family to attend to.

When you have too many priorities, NOTHING is a priority.

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That’s why you need to plan. If you don’t plan (and then monitor your execution of it), you will simply run out the clock. And you deserve better.

I want to bring you back up to that 10,000-foot level, where you’re still far above the earth but close enough where you can make out the shapes and patterns. It’s from this height that we’re going to decide our top priorities—3, to be exact.

Why 3? Because any more, and you will feel guilty or ashamed when you don’t accomplish them, but any less and you won’t push yourself to complete anything. 3 is your magic productivity number.

Your challenge for today is to come up with your top 3 priorities. Take a break, make yourself a warm mug of tea, and select those 3 things you really want to accomplish on this day. Once you’ve got them, you can write them down if you prefer to work from paper. (That way you get the sweet satisfaction of marking them as “complete” later.)

I can hear you asking questions now. “What counts as a priority? Is one email a priority?” Better to batch things like that together and label this one “Read and respond to all emails.” If it’s helpful, you can break this bigger priority into smaller sub-tasks. Remember, it’s all about the baby steps. So, for example, your new to-do list for today might look like:

PRIORITY 1: Big picture visioning

  • Come up with a few great ideas for where I want my business to go  
  • Narrow those ideas down to 1 or 2 I can start with today PRIORITY 2: Self-development

PRIORITY 2: Self-development

  • Listen to a webinar on reclaiming 6 hours of “you” time
  • Pick up “Blue Ocean Strategy” from the library

PRIORITY 3: Read and respond to all emails

  • Send Liz a reminder about her invoice
  • Answer Alicia’s question about pricing
  • Schedule Lisa’s next session

Even if you get one of these 3 priorities done, you’re going to feel so productive at the end of the day. You can take comfort in knowing exactly how you spent your time and that you ended up with tangible results by the moment the clock strikes quitting time.

Next week I’ll shed even more light on how to drill down to the right-sized, actionable baby steps that can make or break your day. The flight metaphor continues as I pull in some wisdom from The Fly Lady herself. Meet me back here next Friday.

And if you missed the “Reclaiming Your You Time: Steps to Freeing Up 6 More Hours Every Week,” the replay is available here for a brief time. We’ll be taking it down shortly though, so you’ll want to hustle.

See past time management tips here: 

  1. Surf’s Up: How Taking It To The Beach Can Actually Give You MORE Time As An Entrepreneur
  2. Big Picture Thinking: How Taking A Bird’s Eye View Can Change Your Time Management Habits For The Better

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