Treat your day like an exam



If you are like me and have teenagers studying hard for Junior and Leaving Cert, you are very aware of the stress they are under and the challenge of getting as much down on paper as possible in a 3 hour exam.

The stress exams cause can often stay with us for years.  I had an English teacher who said he got the shivers every May, particularly when the sun came out, as it reminded him of sitting at his desk studying for exams.

Thinking about exams has me thinking about my working day, and without re-living the May shivers, there are good practical lessons from exams that can be applied to how we approach our working day.

Just like an exam, certain activities yield more points/results.  In planning our day we need to make sure we allow sufficient time to complete these activities. The 12 week year speaks about creating ‘time buffers’ in your day/week,  allocating ‘strategic blocks’ (the important stuff), ‘buffer blocks’ (the normal stuff),  and ‘break out blocks’ (time off).

You get more results out of the first 20 minutes you spend on any question in an exam, and this often applies to activities we undertake during the working day.  Allocate your time, and be aware of this time as you complete this task.

If you are meeting a client in 5 mins and you have 10 mins of a task left, you’d better shift your rear!

Don’t let one task drift into the next if possible. Stop it, take notes of where you left off and get stuck into the next task. Leave a time slot in your day to allow yourself catch up on items that you almost finished.

I find the Google Calendar diary a great tool in planning my day.  At the start of the week,  I look at the time blocks I have set out and allocate specific tasks into each day.  Each morning I review what’s on that day and check into it to make sure I am keeping time with my plan.

The more descriptive you are in your daily/weekly plan the better. ‘I will call a debtor today.’  ‘I will complete my social blog by 10am.’  ‘I will walk 20 mins at lunch.’

The power of writing something down and ticking it off is amazing.  If you are following the 12 week year, you can measure the hit rate on your actions.  A high hit rate on your actions equals results.

I have now completed my social blog, on time, tick!

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