The most important 15 minutes of your day - still!Feb 24, 2021
Remember the rollercoaster?
Remember when life it your tourism business felt like being on a rollercoaster? Remember the various stages of the year - that stationary time of the winter, the slow ascent and build up in the early part of the year, the rapid acceleration into high season, the up and down freefall of the summer before gradually winding down to a period of standstill again in the winter??
Back then, there were times of the year when it was really difficult to find time to work on your tourism business, rather than in it. A tool that I had found useful to help with that was the 15 Minute Daily Planner.
The 15 Minute Daily Planner
I created this 15 Minute Daily Planner (and the ritual to go with it) for myself originally – to discipline myself to look up from the busyness at least once a day, even in the most hectic days. Many of my coaching clients came to use it too and I first shared in here in my weekly article nearly a year ago, on 3rd March 2020. At that time, I thought it would be a useful productivity tool as businesses started to speed up towards the busy season we were expecting.
So, is it still useful, now that the rollercoaster is at a standstill?
Yes, absolutely! The first 15 minutes of the day are the most important 15 minutes of your day – always! It’s because it’s in these 15 minutes that you you decide to lead your day, not just react to what comes to you. It’s when you choose your focus and your mindset for the day ahead. This was true when tourism was busy and it remains true now.
To make this work for you, print one off for each day. Then, reserve the very first 15 minutes of your day to filling out this sheet, and doing the thinking that goes with it! As the sheets build up, keep them in a folder as a record of your week or month. They are great to look back on!
Step-by Step Approach 15 Minute Daily Planner Sheet
Make sure you have the 15 Minute Daily Planner open or beside you when reading this:
4 Key Ps in 15 Key Minutes
1. Key Pleasers
Even if you don’t feel pleasure, joy or contentment as your open your eyes every morning, committing to filling in this first box first thing in the morning will encourage you to find those small sources of contentment and reasons to be grateful. No need to overthink it, just start your day with a reminder of what you’re grateful for! It might be for your health or your family. It might be the speedy delivery of those runners you were waiting for, last night’s tasty dinner, the walks that you can take near you, the comfort of your bed, your new blend of coffee, Netflix. Whatever it is that makes you happy and feel blessed or brings you joy, name it and write it down. This works wonders especially in times of adversity!!
2. Key Projects
Select a maximum of 3 projects per day. For each one, identify up to 3 actions (max!) you will take to help you progress those projects. 3 actions for 3 projects every day? Yeah Right!! Most of us cannot take 9 actions that are truly additional in one day – 3-5 is a better range of actions to aim for (1 project is probably enough as well 😊) so be selective here and identify which actions are really key!
3. Key People
Before looking at email or social media, list the people you would like to connect to today to help you progress your project(s) or who are waiting to hear from you to progress a mutual project. This is your contact list for today. At the same time, note any people who you are expecting to get back to you so that you can progress a project or item. When you do open email, check if any of those have come back to you. If not, add them to your list of people to contact.
4. Key Priorities
This is my very favourite one and all-time favourite productivity tool! Complete the sentence “No matter what else happens today, I will….’ This focuses your mind on ensuring you get at least one thing done that brings you forward, that moves the needle of your business, your team or your life. If you commit to it, it means you get to look back at the day with a feeling of achievement and satisfaction.
3 Golden Rules to making the most of the 15 Minute Planner Sheet
Golden Rule 1: Avoid email and social media until you have completed the 15 Minute Daily Planner Sheet
Can’t imagine not checking your email or social media first thing? Yes, many of us have gotten into the habit of checking these things first. That means they are getting the utmost priority in your day – the very first thing you give attention to.
Let’s take email first. We forget that our email inbox is nothing more than the amalgamated To Do List of all of our connections. It’s like a folder of other people’s stuff! It’s full of things that other people want you to know or want you to do. By checking in there first, we unintentionally give more importance to other people’s priorities than we do to our own. Avoid doing that so that you give precedence to what matters most to you and your business.
As for social media, we all know it’s a drain on attention and focus at the best of times. Now, when we are not in the best of times, it has a whole new ability level to suck us into a spiral of news updates, stats, latest bulletins, hospitalisations, deaths, anger, upset, personal stories of grief, despair, hopelessness interspersed with some positive, inspirational, shiny-side-out contributions. We are all in it! Often, it is a source of comfort. However, for the first 15 minutes of your day, it is not where you want to start.
Golden Rule 2: Commit to writing it down
Use these 15 minutes to check in on yourself and your business every morning. It’s vitally important that you write things down as this helps clarify thinking. Writing has more impact than typing so I strongly recommend that you use the trusty and traditional pen, rather than the keyboard. It also means that if you keep a record of what you write every day, you will have a log of your best learnings and insights from the season. This is valuable data that will serve you as you plan the further development of your business into the future.
Golden Rule 3: Make it a Ritual
Make this a morning ritual. Carve out the time every morning. If you dedicate your very first 15 minutes to this every morning, you don’t even need to worry about carving it out – just do it and then get on with carving up the rest of the day! If you don’t, this groundhog day scenario we’re in right now will truly grind you down. You will be hanging in there all day long, you may even busy all throughout Covid, but you won’t know if you’ve added some value and made some progress.
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