by Kathie England

Better Than Before – Day 18

Scheduling Habit – Power Hour

Do you have a long list of tasks you just never seem to get around to completing, but you really want to get them done?

Gretchen Rubin offers a strategy that I think can help. She calls it the “Power Hour.” Once a week for one hour she schedules a “Power Hour” whose sole purpose is to get those tasks you’ve been putting off completed. That’s the only thing you do during your “Power Hour.”

Rubin explains (and I have certainly found this too) that we overestimate what we can accomplish in the short term. We underestimate what we can accomplish over the long term if we work consistently. This perspective aptly is described in one of my favorite quotes: “Small steps actually taken lead to more progress than great steps that never happen.” (From It’s Hard to Make a Difference If You Can’t Find Your Keys by Marilyn Paul.)

Two strategies can support your “Power Hour.”

  • First, create a Capture List. That’s the list of every task or idea that pops into your head. Capture it. David Allen in Getting Things Done calls it a brain dump. Get it out of your head. Julie Gray in True for You TIME Management suggests the term “Capture List.” I used to refer to the “Capture List” as a Master List but I like Julie’s term better.
  • Second, create a daily to do list. I call it your Today List because it reminds you of the things you want to do today. Keep this list short – three to five items when you get started. If you complete them all, then refer to your Capture List for your next steps. If you don’t get three to five tasks completed, then start with one or two items. The goal is to complete tasks and get the benefits of “Completion Chemistry,” a term coined by Cameron Gott of Global Creatives.

One more guideline from Rubin about the “Power Hour” – don’t use it for recurring tasks like paying bills or answering emails. Remember its purpose it to get those tasks completed that you’ve been avoiding.

Tomorrow – how scheduling can help you restrict the time you spend on activities.