Spend at least 30 minutes each morning preparing
for your day. Many speakers skip this step, mindlessly launching into their workdays by hastily
responding to emails and voicemails while sorting
papers and enjoying their morning coffee. Jumping
into the day without a plan, however, will negatively impact your productivity and achievements
for the next eight to 10 hours.
South African sales speaker Richard Mulvey
keeps his productivity on track by taking time each
morning to carefully plan his day. “Allocate time to
the tasks you want to complete today and then stick
to the plan,” Mulvey advises.
Silence your mobile phone, and set your land-line to voicemail. It is not imperative to be on call
and available every second of the day. In fact, many
successful speakers worldwide find that resisting the
urge to constantly check email and take phone calls
minimizes distractions. “Nothing bad will happen”
if you check email less frequently, promises Alan
Stevens, APR, president of the U.K. Professional
If you have an assistant or other office staff, tell
them you are unavailable
during the first 30 minutes of each workday.
Eventually, your staff will
learn to work around this
time. With this quiet time,
your first order of business
is to block out time for
meetings, travel and personal breaks.
IF YOU FIND YOURSELF FEELING
STUCK, TRY THE 15-MINUTE RULE.
YOU WILL BE PLEASANTLY SURPRISED
AT HOW MUCH YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH.
Get Your Priorities Straight
Too many people work all day without taking a short
break to enjoy some sunshine and fresh air. Human
beings aren’t meant to spend the entire day shut in an
office, and can’t work at full capacity for such long
periods of time. Schedule a break every day and take
it, even if it’s only for 15 or 20 minutes.
Once you have blocked out meetings and breaks,
schedule the rest of your time accordingly. Top
Australian thought-leader Matt Church, CSP, finds it
helpful to compress the time he allows to complete
tasks. “It’s amazing what you can achieve in 30 min-
utes if you set that as your only time to work on a
task,” he noted.
Church advises speakers to priori-
tize their to-do list. Ask yourself, “If I
could accomplish only three items on my
list today, which would deliver the best
results?” The answer gives you your “A”
priorities. The remaining items on your
list are your “B” and “C” priorities. The
“Bs” can wait until they reach “A” status another
day, while the “Cs” may or may not need to be done
at all. Freeing, isn’t it?
If you find yourself procrastinating or feeling
stuck, try the 15-minute rule. Whether it is catching up on correspondence, making phone calls or
starting a big project, simply allocate 15 minutes of
focused energy to the task you’ve been avoiding.
You will be pleasantly surprised at how much you
Wrap up your workday by spending 10 minutes
prepping for the next day. Create a new to-do list,
carrying over any incomplete tasks and adding new
priorities. Check your planner to see what’s on tap
for the following day and determine how to prepare
for it. Then tidy up your desk, set your phone to
voicemail, and turn off your computer.
On the Road Again
Whether you’re preparing for the platform or running through an airport, the last thing on your mind
is handling administrative details, such as bookkeep-