In this video, Dave Crenshaw discusses the importance of time reclamation and focus protection. Learn how to build buffers into your day and schedule to make room for interruptions.
- In the past 20, 30, 40 years ago, time management was about maximizing the use of your time. We wanted to make sure that every single minute was packed full with something that was meaningful. In the 21st century however, our issue is very different. We are dealing with time reclamation and focus protection. This means that if you have a schedule that is completely full, where every minute is spoken for, you are going to experience a continual lack of focus.
Why? Because in our day, we will be interrupted. Despite our best efforts, interruptions are a part of every person's day. This means that instead of filling our schedule full, we actually want to build buffer room. Buffer room allows us to respond to the interruptions and get everything done that we intended to accomplish when we set out in our day. The first step to building a buffer is overestimating how long something's going to take.
Now how much you overestimate really depends on you, and it depends on your ability to accurately estimate how long something is going to take. However, I found for most of my clients that 50% is about right. That means that if you think something's going to take an hour, you want to schedule 90 minutes. However, if you're in a highly interruption-driven position or if you have a hard time estimating how long things take, you might want to overestimate by 100%. This means if you think something's going to take 30 minutes, you schedule an hour.
The second step to building buffer space in your schedule is simply to leave space. We actually want to see little pockets of nothing in your day. I recommend about 10 minutes for every hour that you have scheduled. So if you have two hours of something, you want to have a 20 minute break. There's actually a little bit of science behind that. Most people learn best in 90 minute increments and then require about a 20 minute break. If you have these little pockets of space, it'll leave room to allow you to decompress and process what you just experienced.
In this way when inevitable interruptions occur, you'll be less impacted. By leaving buffer space in your schedule, you'll find it easier to maintain focus and you'll be prepared for whatever comes your way.
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- Maintaining focus for longer periods of time
- Using your calendar to preserve focus
- Building a mental firewall
- Establishing expectations and boundaries
- Making time for others
- Avoiding distractions in a digital world
- Improving your workspace