As she looked at the clock and saw it was already 4:15, all Patty could think about was how the day flew by and how little she actually accomplished. Her planned “office day” ended up being an exercise in wasting time and not controlling her schedule. And if she told herself the truth, this happened far more often than she wanted to admit. When she needed the time to plan her sales calls, her customer visits and clean up the paper work mountain on her desk, the time seemed to vanish. It was apparent that the only thing consistent about these “office days” was that they were consistently unproductive.
Patty is not alone in her frustration about hours and days lost to interruptions and sadly, her own lack of business discipline. She knew her time was too valuable to waste it with trivial email, bothersome phone calls, frivolous Internet surfing and whatever else showed up as a time thief. By not making a definitive plan of what she would spend her day doing, the next blinking light on her phone of monitor seemed like a good thing to get involved with, even if it was a waste of time or stopped her from finishing a priority task. Patty lacks a way to keep her activities in order so she can manage them to completion and her personal satisfaction.
Without any sense of what “type” of day she wanted to have, Patty was constantly having some of everything in every day. Personal time, customer focused work, planning activities all seemed to show up in a random parade in her life. Some of today’s most productive business people stopped living that type of existence by naming days to correspond with a specific mission. Dan Sullivan, founder of The Strategic Coach, trains his students to work on three types of days: “Focus Days,” “Buffer Days” and “Free Days.” A Focus Day is a day that keeps you working on the revenue and business building activities required in your world. Buffer Days are those days where you clean up after Focus Days or Free Days as well as plan for your next Focus or Free Days. Free Days are just that, days where you are free of any work activities and you are left to enjoy and reward yourself. No system is perfect, but by committing to some sort of process that names your days to indicate where your energy is spent, you should find that more days are productive and fewer days are wasted.