Mari

Debbie: Power Hour

In Brainstorm, Business, Human behavior, Marketing, Org B, Organization, Shoes, Strategy, Take action on 01/26/2010 at 12:59 pm

If you’re like me, you get distracted by phone calls, emails, Facebook notifications, Tweetdeck chirping in the background, a 4 year old who wants yogurt or string cheese or candy or cupcakes, a buzzing dryer, online Sudoku, blogs, Google calendar, the need to shower, etc.

My former business coach Debbie taught me that each distraction actually takes 4 times as long to tend to, which is why she told me to start my Power Hour: focused, non-distracted work time to get through things that are critical for maintaining business. I go to my office and shut the door with a little post-it that says “Working” on it so everyone knows not to interrupt.

I break down my daily Power Hour into four 15-minute segments. (I do 15 because I’m so ADD to begin with; anything longer would require way too much brainpower. :))

1. Reply to e-mails. DO NOT OPEN TWEETDECK, FACEBOOK, OTHER BROWSERS. (SO super challenging.)
2. Make outreach business building, focused phone calls. I hate making phone calls, so often I’ll bribe myself with shoes. (For every 100 phone calls I make, I get to buy a new pair of shoes. :))
3. Strategize. I’ll focus on different areas daily, such as operations, marketing or networking. A 15 minute timeframe makes me think critically and acutely.
4. Learn. I’ll read an article, a chapter out of a business book, blog post, etc.

What are the four areas in your life you need to maintain daily? And what would happen if you could do them without being interrupted?

Debbie, I love you for making me create my own power hour. My life is infinitely more productive, serene, and less cluttered by distractions. LOVE YOU FOR IT.

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  1. I’m actually exploring in this very topic right now! I have found that the “Stickies” application in Mac (I’m sure there’s a PC equivalent) is helpful for always keeping my task list in front of me (which I’ve broken down into A, B, and C priority). I then use a second Sticky for my detailed weekly calendar, where I fill up my time with items from the to-do sticky. Time is broken up somewhat loosely: morning, afternoon, evening, late night so as to allow for flexibility. Not perfect, but it seems to be helping in the never-ending quest to clean up my crowded brain!

  2. The A, B, and C priority lists are very much part of my past when I followed the Franklin methodology. I loved how it made me feel in control of what I was doing and helped me stay focused.

    Good idea to keep things flexible with morning, afternoon, and late night!

    And as always, good to see you today!

  3. What a great post! And do you really buy yourself new shoes after every 100 calls? Hot dang, I would have a lotta shoes if I did that… I wish! πŸ™‚

  4. I really hate making calls, so I need some tangible incentive! And I figure – after making 100 calls, if we haven’t gotten any business, I’ll be so sad I’ll *need* shoes anyhow. πŸ™‚

  5. So waking up early is one of my key “productivity” enhancements – but I know I am the minority there and it’s just not in the cards for most people to wake up at 4am. So – other times I do almost exactly what you’ve done here – tell myself that for the next hour (or two, whatever) I am going to focus SOLELY on productivity. NO distractions. Easier said than done – but your productivity level gets multiplied by 1000 when you cut out the noise.

    • That makes sense. I totally get why waking up early is productivity hour for many people. I wish I could do it more often, but turns out that some nights I’m still finishing out my day when you’re just getting it started. πŸ™‚

      Thanks for being here, Matt!

  6. I have a great power hour in the morning but I need to build another one into my day. What is happening is that I’m taking way too much work home with me and that stinks!

    I marked my calendar for a specific time tomorrow afternoon to start “power hour” with door closed and tasks to complete! Wish me luck.

    • Taking work home is never fun! But good for you for figuring out a way to work it into your schedule rather than let it take over your schedule.

      I hope one day I can be as disciplined as you are and take work home. πŸ™‚

  7. Mari! I love this! This is exactly what I need to do for myself, especially when I have those days (or weeks!) where I feel so overwhelmed by everything I need to do. I find I’m more easily distracted when I have many complicated tasks at hand than when I only have a few simple ones to tend to. Next time I have a crazy week, I am going to start my day this way so as to really get focused and be productive.

    So good to see you this morning! πŸ™‚ I hope to keep you seeing so often, ha ha.

    • Good to see you this morning too, Rebecca!

      My coach kept telling me to do this consistently every single day – to make it a habit. It’s tough to schedule, but a week of successful power hours feels SO DANG GOOD!

      Good luck and let me know how it goes, and what else you learned so I can make my power hours kick even more butt. πŸ™‚

  8. I really need to do this. I’ve tried it many times, and probably only succeeded half the time. Definitely all about discipline!

    I probably tell you all the time, I love this blog Mari….such a great idea!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Tim.

      I totally agree with you that it’s all about discipline. Right now, I should be power-houring, but instead I’m approving blog posts and linking to other people’s blog posts and checking out their twitter streams and looking up restaurants on open table and downloading a new iPhone app and browsing shoes on JCrew and looking at a pile of laundry on the end of my bed and…

      Sigh. πŸ™‚

  9. except for the laundry all that stuff you’re doing is “biz related,” right? πŸ™‚

  10. I really like this idea – I think I’ll try it.

    And Mari, I love what this blog has developed into. Good job. πŸ™‚

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