The Magic of ‘Untouchable’ Days

Scrolling through my LinkedIn newsfeed, I saw a post titled, “Why You Need an Untouchable Day Every Week.” Sensing it contained advice on work-life balance, I clicked. (For the past two or three years, I’ve found myself working more and more weekends and letting once important things in my life — tennis, friends, etc. — slide.) Turns out, the article wasn’t about finding leisure time (well, not directly), but how to ramp up your productivity.

This, perhaps, is an even more valuable lesson that could ultimately help me succeed with my other goal.

The idea of untouchable days is simple: one day a week, you eschew any distractions. No phone calls, no emails, no Wifi, no questions from colleagues or loved ones. This is your time to really focus on those big challenges that weigh on. For me, it’s mapping out feature stories (oh-so-painful and intimidating). For you, it might be analyzing your COGS and labor costs, forecasting for the future or working on a large-scale campaign or partnership.

This concept reminded me of a presentation Derrick Myers, CPA, CFP, PFCI, gave at last year’s Canadian Florist Business Forum. “So many florists are so busy working in their business that they never get a chance to work on it,” he said. Goal planning and big-picture issues get passed aside to put out immediate fires.

I admit, I am one of those people who tries to reply to emails, as they come in. I switch gears dozens of times a day. As a result, my work piles up. Clearly, my habits contribute to inefficiency, which leads to stress, creating a vicious cycle.

I plan to try this tactic, starting next week. We shall see how it goes! I’m curious: what strategies do you have that help you tackle challenges and improve your productivity?