One of the challenges today is so many people are caught up in reactive tactical mode that they aren’t purposefully creating and approaching things in a way that would create greater productivity and greater results for them. One little tip that’s going to support you in getting more out of your week is a time management strategy called front loading. From a daily scheduling perspective, front loading is doing the most important things first at the start of the day or week. Give yourself the opportunity to give your attention and your focus in the beginning of the week because that’s when your energy is greatest and where you create the momentum and set the tone for the entire week. Learn a few tips on front loading to help you offset any procrastination and set priorities of things that needs to get accomplished.
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Time Management Strategy: Front Loading
On this show, we focus on strategies that help you to be more efficient, effective, and smarter about how you use your time. I want to highlight the word, ‘strategies’ because when we use strategies, it means that it was pre-thought. It’s a proactive approach that we’re going to do around a certain circumstance or situation. One of the challenges nowadays is that so many people are caught up in a reactive tactical mode that they aren’t purposefully creating and approaching things the way that would create greater productivity for them and greater results. In this episode, I want to focus on one little tip that’s going to support you in getting more out of your week. That’s a strategy called front-loading.
I want you to understand that strategies are cross-contextual. You’ve probably heard about front-loading in other types of areas such as in financial planning. They tell you to front-load your investments because you’re going to get more in the long run. You’re going to create momentum. You’re going to create leverage from the beginning. Plus, whenever we front-load something, we’re also creating and conditioning positive habits. That means that maybe it turns out from a financial perspective that you’re continually putting in more than you had expected because you started that from the start. Creating good habits upfront makes a huge difference in the results that you’re getting. I also do front-loading in areas like product development.
How can we apply this to your time management? Let’s talk about the problem. The problem that we have with our time management is that the week gets ahead of you very quickly. Before you know it, you’ve got not only the things that are most important for you to do, but more urgencies are coming at you and more distractions as the week goes on. Stress builds up as a result of that because the more that you’re distracted, the more that you have to work, and the less effective you are when you are working because you’re depleted and distracted. You’re not giving things your full attention and things accumulate through the week. It’s because we’re in a reactive mode.
Our solution is to front-load the week with the most important things that we do first. We know from a daily scheduling perspective, all the greats in this space talk about doing what’s most important first because the urgencies will always be there. If you don’t do those most important things, what happens is that you push it off and then other things get in the way. They never happen because they’re important for the long-term, but they’re not urgent. They’re more strategic to you. They’re the things that when you do them, they’re going to make an impact in the long term. We get so sidetracked on those short-term things that need to be done today or the requests that are coming in, but they’re not the most important things to you that are driving forward for yourself.
The Pareto Principle tells us that 20% of your tasks are going to get you 80% of the results. You want to get clear on what those 20% are. What are the most important things that you want to do at the beginning of the week? The first thing is to get clear on what that 20% is. What are the most important things? The second thing is to schedule your time and block your time. If not for everything that you do, at least for these most important things. Schedule them starting out front-loading with Monday and Tuesday. Get the biggest chunk of what you need to get done on Monday and Tuesday.
If you’ve got a big deadline that you want to reach on Friday, front-load it. Give yourself the opportunity to give your attention and focus at the beginning of the week because that’s when your energy is greatest. That’s where you create the momentum. Set the tone for the entire week. Get that at the beginning. That will help you to offset any procrastination. Get started with it and get it scheduled. The benefits of front-loading are that you’re going to reduce the stress that you have because you’re going to get it done sooner and you’re going to feel good. You’re going to create that momentum and that momentum comes from a drug that’s released in our brain called dopamine.
That dopamine, we want more of it. You’ll continue to work at that pace. It’s like Newton’s Laws of Motion where an object in motion stays in motion. Put yourself into motion and set the pace at the beginning of the week by doing the most important things because that’s going to make you feel good. When you feel that progress at the beginning of the week, that’s a huge benefit to keep that energy going. It’s also going to help you free up time later in the week so that you’ll have more flexibility and be more creative. Take some reflective and unstructured time to recognize what’s working and what’s not working. That reflective time is something that often gets left out. When you front-load everything to the week, it gives you some reflection time at the end of the week.
Let me share with you an example of how that supports me in my time management process. I have to say that this is something that I started years ago. I dare say not college because I did cram for things at the last minute in college. As I started my technology business, I started to recognize what things were most important and what things we’re going to grow my business. I would focus my time and energy to provide some time for creativity around those things. The only way that would happen would be if I scheduled it. The earlier that I scheduled in the week, the better. For instance, this podcast is important to me. It reaches out and shares strategies with you in the community. However, it’s not a direct business maker for me. It might not be in the top priority of urgencies to get accomplished.
[Tweet “Put yourself into motion and set the pace at the beginning of the week by doing the most important things.”] I have to plan that. I have to plan it early on in the week. I have to preschedule my interviews because otherwise the time will easily get eaten up by other important and especially urgent activities. That’s why I use scheduling and time blocking for the things that are most important or critical. When you can get them done at the beginning of the week, it’s a relief for me that I know I’ve gotten that done. It sits on me as a little bit of a stressor because I’m not sure where I’m going to fit it in if I do it at the end of the week because there are so many things that have built up, new tasks that have come on, new proposals that I have to create, which are also important because that is what grows the business. That’s a little bit more urgent than me doing a podcast.
In order to stay true and to follow a schedule, I need to block that. My best effort is to block it early on in the week. It’s a powerful strategy. It just requires you to sit down even for fifteen minutes to get clear on what’s important, what are the most important activities for you to do, and then to schedule them for Monday and Tuesday. It’s a fixed appointment. There’s no moving these appointments. You want to schedule them in block time and not just leave it open because having that start and end time gives you clearer focus and allows you to create little goals for those times. You can say, “My intention and goal for this time period is to complete X.” In that way, you can break down whatever the project or the important tasks are into their pieces so that you can get those done.
The more that you can break it down and be specific as to what needs to get achieved, the faster and clearer you are in what it is that you’re going to be achieving in that period of time. It’s time to reset your priorities and front-load your schedule so that you can get those most important aspects to growing your business, to focus on the most important activities, even if they’re not most urgent. This little tweak in your schedule is going to save you a huge amount of time, effort, and energy. It’s going to reduce your stress. It’s going to increase the progress and how you feel about your progress. It’s going to create greater momentum. Thank you so much for being here.