Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategy

An 18-Minute Plan for Managing Your Day

An 18-Minute Plan for Managing Your DayI’ve been having a hard time staying focused lately. When you professionally work in social media, you tend to get distracted by the non-stop communication. Don’t get me wrong I love what I do, but it’s sometimes difficult to stay on track.

I just ordered a weekly schedule book, an actual book. I find that when I have to open or switch to another application on my machine gets me more distracted. I think having the physical book in front of me all day will help to remind me what my goals are.

I did a little research and found some great tips from a post on called An 18-Minute Plan for Managing Your Day.

Here’s how the 18 minute plan breaks down:

STEP 1 (5 Minutes) Set Plan for Day. Before turning on your computer, sit down with a blank piece of paper and decide what will make this day highly successful. What can you realistically accomplish that will further your goals and allow you to leave at the end of the day feeling like you’ve been productive and successful? Write those things down.

STEP 2 (1 minute every hour) Refocus. Set your watch, phone, or computer to ring every hour. When it rings, take a deep breath, look at your list and ask yourself if you spent your last hour productively. Then look at your calendar and deliberately recommit to how you are going to use the next hour. Manage your day hour by hour. Don’t let the hours manage you.

STEP 3 (5 minutes) Review. Shut off your computer and review your day. What worked? Where did you focus? Where did you get distracted? What did you learn that will help you be more productive tomorrow?

Give it a try. Let me know how it works. What do you do to stay focused?


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  • Dave- Great idea! I've been pulling a trick from my agency days where you have to document time spent on each project. Their reason was to track billable hours, but I'm doing it so I have an idea of how much time I'm spending on each task. It's great because now I'm seeing that there's room to speed some things up quite a bit. [The only downfall is that I'm spending a lot of time writing stuff down.]

    I'll definitely give this process a shot! Sounds a lot less time-consuming. :-)

  • Good thinking Paige. Let me know how this works for you. It's been good so
    far, I've already realized an issue I have allocating to many things to one
    one hour block.


  • ukoonto

    I've tried this now every day. And I have to say that I have failed every day, but I surely have become so much more productive. I think the most important thing is to plan. So I have been planning every morning what I think I can do that day, and then tried to stick to it all day. I'm pretty sure that I will get better over time with it.

    Cheers, Hans

  • I'm using my Mac to play an alarm every 30 minutes. Then I refer back
    to my notepad to make sure I'm still on track.

    It's been working rather well. I really think you need the physical
    notepad infront of you, it helps.

    Good luck Hans.

  • I use evernote and write down a daily MIT (most important things) i need to day that day.
    But I like the idea of not being on a PC and getting a real notebook.

    I know this will sound crazy – and you'll all say NO WAY but TURN OFF TWITTER and STOP CHECKING YOUR EMAIL – do it at one every 1 hr to start , then change that to once every 2 hr.

    Productivity comes from being in the zone and that can take time to get into and can break out in seconds (so it's important you turn off all those possible interruptions.
    Set aside an hour – where you'll have full concentrations – and Single-task.
    Usually 3 gets done.
    The full method is in this amazing book – he also has a great blog zen habits.
    His book:

  • Great find from the Harvard Business Journal, Dave. I can so relate to your struggle to stay focused and the many distractions of the computer desktop. I've learned two important things from your post and the HBJ post that inspired it:

    1) I'm very compulsive about planning each day, so much so that I can tie up lots of time obsessing over whether all my bases are covered before I start work. That means I either take a lot of time to plan or that I procrastinate planning and am less focused than I could be. This brief planning idea addresses this well.

    2) You said that you stuff too much into a single hour, and I tend to stuff too much into a single day. This is a good reminder to me that I can't do it “all” in one work day, even though I often like to think I can.

    I tried this technique today. I'm at a conference in Indianapolis, so my day was a bit weird, but this did help me be more productive and more focused. I'm going to keep trying it out. Thanks for sharing this method!


  • Thanks Rob.
    I've been using a timer to keep me on track too. When the tuner goes
    off I need to switch gears and follow my schedule.

    It's working well.


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  • I do all my planning on my Palm Pilot. It's like a personal digital assistant.

  • I do all my planning on my Palm Pilot. It's like a personal digital assistant.