Swamped? Try The Friday Morning Shuffle

Last Updated May 1, 2011 9:26 PM EDT

Many people feel like their workdays are disjointed. It's easy to get started on a serious project, then glance at your calendar and realize you have a phone call in another 20 minutes. Even if it's not a very important phone call, you decide not to delve too deeply into your project, because you'll just have to pull yourself away soon.

The problem, if you're not careful, is that then you never get long stretches of time to devote to serious thought. Strategic thinking time is incredibly important for productivity.

One solution? The Friday morning shuffle.

I got this idea from a woman who found herself fielding lots of requests for time on the phone from people looking to "touch base,” learn more about her organization, or do quick check-ins on projects that were running fine. She wanted to take many of these calls, but if they were scattered every 2 hours through her week, they'd soon take over her whole life.

So, as much as possible, she tried to steer all these phone calls toward a block of time on Friday mornings. If the other person asked her when would work, she'd say Friday. If the other person had suggested a different time, she asked for Friday availability before agreeing. It wouldn't always work, but by stacking all these non-urgent but nice-to-do calls during a certain block of time, she freed up big chunks of the rest of her week.

I think it's a great idea. What stretch of time could you devote to work housekeeping like phone calls and answering old emails? How could you steer more requests to that block of time? And what would you use the freed up blocks of time for?

Open days on a calendar are difficult to achieve. But definitely worth it if you do.

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Photo courtesy flickr user, Don Nunn