Scheduling Productive Days - Dont Interrupt, Im Pouring Concrete

Almost everyone in business knows the balancing act between the weekly work schedule and business development time is almost as challenging as walking on a tight rope. I suggest breaking your work week into focus days to work in your business and buffer days to work on your business. For many people, there is a strong desire to skip preparation and just tackle everything on the to "do list" at once. As an alternative to this method, I told the following story at the workshop to create a model for scheduling your time to be more productive in your workweek.

This past summer, the city in which I work started a major reconstruction project on Main Street where my office is located. The project called for new lighting, the addition of traffic islands with green space, new pavement and attractive new sidewalks.

I watched the sidewalk construction crew as I traveled to and from my office. Like many crews, I saw three workers hard at work, two workers leaning on shovels and a supervisor who spent a good part of the day on a cell phone. That picture is familiar to all of us.

Old sidewalks were marked for demolition and ripped from their resting places in precision attacks by a tracked excavator and tossed into a waiting ten-wheeler for transport to the landfill. Physical labor at removing the sidewalks was kept minimal while the machines did the work with little effort.

Crews took their time spreading gravel,leveling, and building forms for the concrete for the new sidewalks. They moved forward with the task, but had ample time to check the forms for elevation and size, have coffee and conduct business on cell phones. There was time to tell jokes and stories and retie slackened bootlaces.

The workers' attitudes changed dramatically on the days that the concrete trucks arrived early in the morning when it was time to pour concrete. The whirr of the concrete mixer and the rattle of aggregate were sounds that signaled the crew for a focus day.

Pouring concrete meant no time for jokes, coffee or a cell phone call from home. It's an all focused business day. There was constant movement with shovels and floats, quick decisions and sweat on the brow. All mental and physical energy is directed towards the job at hand. It's not time to call it a day until the last concrete truck is long gone and the last finishing trowel is hosed clean.

If you can set up three days of your workweeks so that you are "pouring concrete", you'll enjoy your best year ever. Plan, prepare and focus. It's not a new formula but one that many resist trying. Every day can't be a pouring concrete day, but if you schedule three days a week to have your concrete pouring attitude in place, you will become amazingly productive. Try it and let me know how it works for you.

Doug Emerson is a business trainer, consultant and coach who helps clients earn more profit in less time using 8 key stragegies. He writes a free weekly electronic newsletter called Getting to the Point. Free subscription at homepage on website

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