Post 14/30: Would You Be More Effective If You Did This?

By Jeff Allen | @JeffAllenUT | President at Hanapin Marketing

I have been thinking a lot about how to get the most out of my time. This is evident in the posts have been writing, but this is in terms of how to formally and intentionally structure my days so people know what they can count on me for, when, and so I stay focused on getting urgent and not-urgent and important things done.


There are nearly endless ways to do this but I have settled on three ideas. There is no clear winner in my book yet so if you have tried any of the below I’d love to get your thoughts in the comments section!


1. Functional Area Themed Days

I could do themed days on 1-2 functional areas. This is what Jack Doresey, co-founder of Twitter and Square, does. It would look something like:


Monday – Paid Search Department

Tuesday – Sales

Wednesday – Talent & Culture and Engineering

Thursday – Marketing and Blogging

Friday – Projects and Partnerships

Saturday – Recreation

Sunday – Recreation and Preparation


I love how clean it is. Sure, things will pop up that will pull me away from the stated focus but in general I will start everyday knowing what I am working on. It also tells the team when I will be working on projects/ideas/management that affects them.


My concern with this is that I often travel on Monday-Tuesday or Thursday-Friday. This means I’d miss a disproportionate time with Paid Search, Sales, Marketing and Blogging. The alternative would be to try to reschedule all those meetings I miss when I am out which doubles or triples up the meetings on days when I am in the office.


I also worry that I would bury the leader of the functional team on the days I am focusing on that area and neglect them when I am not.


2. Management Function Themed Days

This would be to theme days by how the time would be spent each day. So instead of functional area it is a focus on management area. For example:


Monday – Employee Management (Reviews, 1:1s, etc.)

Tuesday – Department Meetings

Wednesday – Client Engagement & Strategy

Thursday – Streamlining Processes

Friday – Working on Projects and Partnerships

Saturday – Recreation (Scotch, Beer, Darts, etc.)

Sunday – Recreation and Preparation


Under this model I miss all or none of the department meetings. Meaning if I miss more than one in a row I can reschedule the whole group to a new day. The downside is that it is less clear what I do each day and every individual department may receive less of my attention than the first option (which maybe they’d prefer!?)


3. Time Blocking and No Theme

The last option is to keep everything open. To simply put my attention to where it needs to go on any given day. This frees me up to be more adaptable to present needs, but that also means I can more easily push off projects and areas that aren’t urgent but are important.


This is basically how I structure things today. I do my best to block out times where I have no meetings so I can address pressing needs and be available to the team (I don’t do this well enough) and I squeeze my projects into the cracks.


The downside is that I have to be very proactive about managing my schedule; it’s easy for one functional area to not receive any attention from me for too long.


As mentioned towards the top of this, I would love to hear your thoughts on which of these types of time management you’ve had the most success with!