Implementing the $25K Executive Time Management Technique

Ivy Lee’s productivity technique may not be as practical in today’s high-pace work environment, where distractions and multiple simultaneous projects are much more common.

After all, can you really work on just one item from start to finish until you are done with it?

For most executives, that’s just not practical.

Your executive coach can help you adapt this technique to your own situation and needs, but here’s one simple adjustment that you can use to adapt this method to today’s fast-paced work style:

1) Start with a list of the tasks that you need to do

2) Group related tasks into projects, which represent your ultimate outcomes rather than just the actions you need to take. Write your projects in a separate Master Project List.

3) At the start of the day, select the most important project from your Master Project List, the one project that if advanced would make the most difference to your productivity, goals and objectives.

While this may very well be an important and urgent project that you need to do today, see if you can sneak in some of the truly important but not-as-urgent projects that you may have been neglecting.

4) Schedule a one-hour “project block.” This is an appointment with yourself to work exclusively on this project and take it as far as you can, or until you run out of important things to do for it.

Schedule this appointment as early in the day as you can, when you are most likely to be able to work on it without distractions or interruptions.

If necessary, come in a bit early to work to have some extra time to yourself.

Start with the most important task for this project and continue working on it until you are done or run out of time in your block. If you finish the most important task, then move on to the 2nd most important task and so on.

Be sure to give this “project block” the same respect and attention you give your most important executive appointments and meetings. Don’t shortchange yourself.

During the rest of the day, continue working on your projects and tasks normally.

This simple executive coaching time management technique can significantly enhance your productivity, but only if you truly pick the most important project to work on and only if you focus single-mindedly on it during your project block.

If you like the results you are seeing, consider adding a 2nd project block each day.

It could be a project block for the same project you worked on before, or it could be a block for the next most important project on your list. It’s completely up to you.

Obviously, this technique is only as good as your prioritization. If you don’t select the “right” projects and tasks to work on, the ones that are most important and will truly make a difference in your results, then your productivity improvements will be limited.

Taking It to the Next Level

While daily planning using either Ivy Lee’s method or project blocks is a big improvement over not planning at all, going from daily planning to weekly planning can take your productivity to the next level. This is the kind of quantum leap in productivity that executive coaching can help you achieve.

A week is an ideal timeframe for project block planning because it’s short enough to do meaningful and realistic planning, but it’s long enough to balance your important long-term projects with your more pressing short-term tasks in a meaningful way.

The result is a plan that not only takes into account the important and urgent tasks you need to do this week, but that also allows you to advance some of the more important and less urgent projects on your list.

As you feel comfortable adding more project blocks to your day, I want you to really consider switching from daily to weekly planning.

I hope you found this simple technique helpful. It can really make a difference in your productivity if you put it to work for you.

NOTE: Achieve Planner is a proven time management software system that can help you implement either the Ivy Lee technique, or the more advanced project block strategy I described. You can download a free 30-day trial here:

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