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Design Your Day ebook - Nokia - #SmarterEveryday


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This book is about a powerful idea: making the choice to design your day so that you can perform at your best.

There are many productivity and time-management models out there - and we list many of the good ones in part one of the ebook - but there is no single model that fits everyone. Different brain types suit different working styles and different productivity systems. We’re not advocating any particular scheme, just a framework that makes the most of them and helps you to choose the right approach for designing your day.

For more #SmarterEveryday content follow us @NokiaAtWork

Published in: Business, Technology, Career
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Design Your Day ebook - Nokia - #SmarterEveryday

  1. 1. 3 Introduction Part 1: Useful ideas about designing your day10 Managing time and energy16 Lists20 Workflow22 Delegating and outsourcing22 Habits24 Neuroscience32 Planning life (not just work)33 Happiness and purpose Part 2: How to design your day38 Design thinking, meet productivity44 Observation46 Prioritise first48 Design the shape of your day54 Defending your day60 Conclusion: Taking others with you62 Further readingContents.
  2. 2. 3Designing Your Day IntroductionIntroduction.This book is about a powerful idea:making the choice to design your dayso that you can perform at your best.People who achieve a great deal havealways spent time thinking abouthow they can be more effective.Some of these great minds have leftus clues - or even clear instructions -as to how they organised themselvesand their day to get more done, ormore importantly get more of whatthey wanted to get done. (We’lllook at some of those inspiringindividuals throughout the ebook.) Designing your day involves aconscious rejection of the ideathat you can just work harder. Noamount of ego-fuelled posturingcan make people work effectivelyin the long term just by committingever-increasing hours. Indeed, plentyof research has shown that longhours radically erode productivity.Your time, energy and thinkingprocesses all impose constraintson what you can do - and when youknow and accept this, you can designyour day much more effectively. There are many productivity andtime-management models outthere - and we list many of the goodones in part one of the ebook - butthere is no single model that fitseveryone. Different brain types suitdifferent working styles and differentproductivity systems. We’re notadvocating any particular scheme, justa framework that makes the most ofthem and helps you to choose theright approach for designing your day.
  3. 3. 4Designing Your Day IntroductionThe challenge.Dr David Rock, an expert on applyingneuroscience in the workplace,compares the scenario knowledgeworkers are facing with technologynow to the one the first drivers faced100 years ago. When cars were firstused on first used on public roads,it took about ten to fifteen years forrules of the road to emerge: rightsof way, traffic signs, speed limits andthe like, and until these rules cameinto force, accidents were common. There are no rules of the road forthe connected age yet. Mobiledevices connect us to everyonewe know and work with, put thesum of human knowledge atour fingertips, give us limitlesspossibilities for entertainment -and distraction. It’s as if we’re backin those first days of the road again- we have access to these powerfulmachines, but we don’t reallyknow how to use them effectively,safely and considerately yet. With news, email and social networksdemanding attention on our screens,it is easy to be distracted by constantbusyness without actually achievingmuch. A constant buzz of emails, callsand meetings can create an illusionof productivity that convinces youthat you’re working hard, even whenyou’re not actually getting much done. You end up trapped in a responsivemode of working, riding high on thedopamine hits of small achievements- pressing “send” on an email reply,finishing a meeting having completedthe agenda, crossing the easy itemsoff your to-do list - but withoutreally taking control of how you arespending your time, or prioritising it tomake sure what you are doing has themost value to you and your employer.Ironically, this is in effect a form oflaziness - taking the easy route to afeeling of work satisfaction, withouthaving the discipline and courageto test if that feeling is genuine.
  4. 4. 5Designing Your Day IntroductionThe alternative is relaxed productivity- a day where you achieve personaland professional goals (or makeprogress on them at least) withoutbecoming overwhelmed by work orthe incoming information you aredealing with. You are focused andeffective, without feeling undulypressured, because you have a clearpicture of what you are doing whenand why. You respond to incominginformation from colleagues andothers involved in your work atdefined times, and you have theflexibility to adapt your plans to matchany changes promoted by others.The scientific evidence is clear:multitasking is a myth − certainlyin your prefrontal cortex, the partof your brain that does the activethinking. We actually work on thebasis of sequential focus, and thatfocus can only be applied to a verylimited number of ideas at one time.Performing complex tasks is actuallya process of addressing a largenumber of smaller tasks in sequence.Focus is all, and it is precious -because it is so easily broken.Maintaining focus and flow will be acore issue we examine in our secondebook, but for now, remember thatyou need to design your day in sucha way that you can protect yourselffrom interruptions when you need toperform detailed or complex tasks.
  5. 5. 6Designing Your Day IntroductionWhy design your day?But why design your day yourself? Why not just learn from others,and copy best practice for productivity? Even place-based concepts like“home working” or “mobile working” don’treally capture the shift that’s going on.Right now, there isn’t any bestpractice. The old rules and structuresof working life have been overturnedby technology. Working tools areno longer tied to a particular place.Pervasive connections, cloud storageand flexible devices mean that weare no longerdependent ona particularlocale to haveaccess to thepeople, information and tools weneed to do our jobs. Our phonesallow us to tap into our documents,our colleagues, clients and supplierswherever we are in the world. Formany, our devices are our newoffices, ones we can throw in a bagand take with us wherever we go. Even place-based concepts like“home working” or “mobile working”don’t really capture the shift that’sgoing on. Place is no longer a vitalcomponent of information work. Ifwe work anywhere, we work in theflow: the flow of information, peopleand communication. Flow alsodescribes the way that many aspireto work - fluidly, adapting to changingcircumstances, but still with a focuseddirection. It is fundamentally differentto the industrial-era approach thathas defined so much working theoryuntil recently.Shifts like thiscause dissonance,tension andconfusion. Many people take comfortin familiar, traditional structures,because they are tried and tested.They minimise risk. Other peopleare naturally risk-averse, andfor them, this is an uncomfortabletime. The old structures of work arebreaking down, and new ones will taketime to develop. People cling to theold certainties even as they becomeinefficient and damaging. Workingin the old office paradigm, tied toa desk and a standard daily routineleaves employees less efficient, lesspassionate and, in aggregate, thatleaves companies less competitive.
  6. 6. 7Designing Your Day IntroductionCompetition in the marketplace willeventually drive the traditionalistsout of business, and any illusionof structural comfort with them. In the meantime, though, somepeople will have to take charge offiguring out how we work in this newera. They will need to experiment,to actively challenge their ownpreconceptions about work - andthose of the people around them -while integrating it into their workingday. Risky? Sure. Anything new is risky.Challenging? Indeed. There are noclearly marked trails for you to follow,so you have to define your own pathwithout the comfort of knowing thebest route - and the likely pitfalls.The rewards, both in terms ofincreased productivity andcompetitiveness, are greatthough, and the satisfactionof being a genuine work-styleinnovator is immense. Fundamentally, it’s about beingflexible enough to deal effectivelywith the information, projects andchallenges coming at us, but withoutletting them dictate every second ofour working days. It’s about having themental safeguards in place to allowyou the focus you need - and aboutacknowledging those things youcan’t control - then working aroundthem to control everything else. It’sabout taking personal responsibilityfor your time and productivity,not letting it be completelydictated by external factors.
  7. 7. Part 1:Designingyour day.Useful ideas about designing your day.There is no right way to design yourday. While it can be useful to compareand contrast designs with others,or take inspiration from the workroutines of high achievers like artistsand historical figures, your perfectday, or even just a good, effectiveday, is something you need to takeresponsibility for creating. It takesa plan and it takes discipline anddetermination to execute in the faceof everything life might throw at you. We are going to start with a lookat useful ideas that help youdesign and manage your day.
  8. 8. Managing timeand energy.Designers talk a lot about“constraints” when they areapproaching a brief. For thisbrief to design your day, the twofundamental constraints are timeand energy: how many hours youare awake, and how much energyyou have to get things done. Time is relatively easy to plan,but as anyone who has planned aseries of back-to-back meetingsand then tried to write a strategyplan or something that requiressome creative thought can tell you,even without interruptions, not allhours are equally productive. A calendar showing the availablehours in the day does not tell thewhole story of what energy you haveto draw on and what you will be ableto achieve. When you think aboutdesigning your day, you need towork on two axis - time and energy.10Designing Your Day Managing time and energy
  9. 9. 11Designing Your Day Managing time and energyTime.Diaries are many people’s primary toolfor planning their day. They may beelectronic now, but this is a traditionthat dates back hundreds of years. Diaries that you could use to planyour day were first popularised in1800s Britain by Thomas Letts, abookbinder. They were intendedfor merchants to use to recordtransactions in, but were also auseful way to schedule appointmentsand tasks throughout the day.Combined with the spread of moreaffordable and smaller clocks andtimepieces, the industrial age gaverise to an obsession with time in theworkplace, that continues to this day.In the late 19th century, theassembly-line and mass productionwas accompanied by Frederick Taylor’sfamous “time and motion” concept.Taylorism, as it became known, madepeople think about themselves andtheir workers like machines, focusingon measurable outputs from wordstyped to numbers crunched, toitems on a to do list checked off.Organisational cultures have oftensupported this perspective. Time iseasier and less complex to measurethan the seemingly intangibleconcepts of energy and ability tofocus on creative and strategicthinking, for instance. We planprojects with hours and outputstightly correlated, though the bestproject managers build in margins andflex for - among other things - theunpredictable performanceof individuals.
  10. 10. 12Designing Your DayEnergy.Like time, energy is a finite resource.If you simply block out the days withmeetings and demanding activity likeanalysis, writing or creative thinking,you are making an impossible promiseto yourself. Allocating blocks of timeto activities and work with others isuseful - and often non-negotiable -but the question you need to askas you chart out the hours is: whatwill be happening to your energylevels while you are doing this?When sports coach Jim Loehr startingworking with business people he wasshocked by the difference betweentheir expectations and their actualability to perform at their peak.When he was working with athletesa key indicator of their performancehad been “return to resting heartrate” - how quickly they could beginrecovering from bursts of exertion.The key to an athlete’sperformance is often recovery.If you were to train for a marathon,as well as putting in the miles, youwould need to schedule rest daysand even easier weeks. And if you rana marathon, you wouldn’t expect torun one the next week - not withoutyour performance diminishing andincurring a significant risk of injury.Rest is key to getting fitterand to performing at your fullpotential - it lets your energy levelsrecover and your body mend.Working with your mind is no different.You need times during the year, aswell as each week and each day whereyou can recover your energy levels inorder to perform at a high - or evensufficient - level. Sometimes thismeans actual rest and relaxation -taking a walk, having lunch, a chatwith colleagues - but you can alsorecover by doing a different type ofwork that uses your mind differently- reading for instance, tidying up ordoing some undemanding admin.That’s right, the good/bad news isthat mundane tasks might actuallymake you more productive.On a day-to-day level, mentalactivity can be physically tiring too.The brain uses 20% of our body’senergy, by some estimates. Whenyou think hard you use up some ofyour supply blood glucose, whichis finite and needs to be restored.Managing time and energy
  11. 11. 13 Managing time and energyThe consensus from experts inenergy management and brainscience suggests you include thefollowing elements when youdesign your day to make the mostof limited stores of energy:More breaks.Short breaks from intense workcan help you focus for longer. Thetrick is to find an optimal rhythmfor different types of work. Exercise and moving around.People who have an exercise regimewill have more energy. Getting up andmoving around your office or goingoutside for a quick walk can help keepyour energy up.Sleep and naps.A good night’s sleep is essentialfor good energy levels, so planto get to bed at a decent time. Ifyou are low on sleep, naps - evenshort ones - are hugely effective. Snacks and meals.Eating well and having regularhealthy snacks can help maintainyour energy levels. Unhealthy foods,especially sugar, will cause spikesand crashes in your blood sugar.More holidays.Taking holidays is an important part ofmanaging your energy. Some expertssuggest that more long weekends andone-week holidays are better thantaking a couple of longer breaks.Focused bursts.A more efficient way of using yourenergy is to focus on one task ora series of similar tasks in a burst.Some people use timers to help trickthemselves with a mini-deadline.
  12. 12. 14Designing Your Day Managing time and energyKnowledge workers.In 1959, management thinker PeterDrucker famously coined the term“knowledge worker” to describepeople who were paid to think ratherthan perform physical labour.Working with your mind was not anew thing, of course, it was just -with the advance of automationand the growing communicationsrevolution, becoming somethinga lot more people were doing.As Drucker noted in the opening ofhis seminal article Managing Oneselfin Harvard Business Review in 1999:“History’s great achievers - Napoleon,da Vinci, Mozart - have alwaysmanaged themselves. That, inlarge measure, is what makesthem great achievers. But theyare rare exceptions, so unusualboth in their talents and theiraccomplishments as to beconsidered outside the boundariesof ordinary human existence. Now,most of us, even those of us withmodest endowments, will haveto learn to manage ourselves.”
  13. 13. 15Designing Your Day Managing time and energy
  14. 14. Lists.Besides diaries, calendars and time-planners, the other perennial toolfor managing your day is the list.Task lists can probably tell you asmuch about a person’s personalityand working day as a glance at theiroffice or the contents of their bag.Lists are by turns compulsive,reassuring and sometimesoverwhelming; used asorganisational life-rafts andabandoned as impossible burdens.People organise their to-do listson paper, in apps, spreadsheets.From a neurological point of viewthey relieve the mental burden oftrying to hold several tasks in yourworking memory and allow youto concentrate on prioritising.Even if you have a task list on thego, starting again can be helpful: anew list can be like casting fresh eyeson the problem of what to do nextand how to get everything you needto do completed. Sometimes thissense of a new perspective can beboosted by trying a different methodof list-making - using a white board orindex cards and Post-its to visualiseand reorder what needs to be done.16Designing Your Day Lists
  15. 15. 17Designing Your DayGTD - the ultimateto-do list?A time management classic thatspawned something close to amovement of devotees as well ashundreds of apps organised aroundits principles, Getting Things Done(GTD to its fans) by David Allentook the idea of the to-do list toits logical conclusion: a watertightsystem for managing everything.Everything you think of as a taskor project goes into an inbox to beprocessed into different bucketsto be attended to, or simplyfiled for future consideration.The system takes some setting up -Allen recommends a weekend, at least,to get things in order - and requiresdiscipline to make it work. As withmany time management systemsthough, many who have tried it takeaway a few key, valuable lessons andprinciples that help them greatly.It’s recommended reading, buthere are a few key learnings:•  Two-minute rule.If you are putting something on yourlist that would only take a couple ofminutes, you should do it right now.•  Next action.The emphasis should always be onasking “what next”? Adding a wholeproject to your to-do list is sometimesunrealistic and can become a mentalblock, because it’s too big to tackleyou avoid it. Rather than notingdown “write presentation” we shouldhave “plan presentation process” or“begin research for presentation”.•  Weekly reviews.Allen advocates taking time out duringthe week to clear clutter from inboxesand lists and review how thingsare going. This “appointment withyourself” approach, scheduled in yourdiary is a great way to keep any weekon track.Lists
  16. 16. If you want to see a really big,ambitious to-do list, take a look atThomas Edison’s from one day in1888. It is scrawled over five pages,is titled “Things doing and to bedone” and includes projects suchas “deaf apparatus”, “artificial cable”,“electrical piano” and “ink for blind”.The ultimate to-dolist: Thomas Edison.Lists
  17. 17. Workflow.Workflow will be familiar to web developers and users of some enterprisesoftware platforms, but on an individual level, it means finding the mostefficient personal process for completing a task - a kind of personalproduction line.You can develop and optimise yourpersonal workflows for the simplestof tasks - what’s the quickest way toclear an email inbox, for instance?Probably not email by email, in dateorder. You could triage, deletingnon-urgent mails to make space,replying to high priority individualsand requests, adding to-do listsand scheduling time for tasks whererequired, then scanning for otherimportant/time-sensitive mails, andfinally scanning and filing or deletingthe “FYIs” and round robins.For a more complex task, say writing apresentation, a defined workflow withphases that allow you to do a good jobwith the right tools can be beneficial.20Designing Your Day Workflow
  18. 18. For instance:•  Research.Gather new knowledge and pertinentdata, using online research, contactsand resources like social bookmarking.•  Decide on insight.Review what you’ve learnedand list your key insights andpoints you want to get across.• Craft your story.Outline how you want thepresentation to run.•  Pull together visuals.Develop slides and/or othersupporting materials foryour presentation.•  Refine.Proof and sense-check - thisshould include having someoneelse give feedback.•  Deliver.Give the presentation.•  Share.Post materials online ifappropriate and/or send links/documents to attendees.Review feedback and process. Taketime to look at any feedback andthink about what could be donebetter next time, both in terms ofcontent/delivery and your workflow.
  19. 19. 22Designing Your DayDelegating andoutsourcing.Obviously, one way to clear your to-do list is toget other people to do things for you.No matter how experiencedsomeone is, delegation takesdiscipline and planning - and it isthe up-front investment in theseaspects that too often detersus from delegating to others.We have all been told the how and whyof delegating at some point. Makinga habit of it, developing systems fordeciding what and how to delegateand who to are the challenges.For a useful reminder of the essentialsof delegating, read Harvard BusinessReview contributing editor andbusiness consultant Amy Gallo’s blogpost: “Why aren’t you delegating?”Delegating and outsourcing
  20. 20. 23Designing Your DayOutsourcingyour work.Just a logical step further than delegating tasksis the idea of personal outsourcing.Delegating and outsourcingOrganisations routinely outsourcethings that are not a corecompetency, but it is completelyfeasible for individuals tooutsource tasks to others - itjust takes some organisation.Personal outsourcing and virtual PAservices are common now, but theconcept was popularised by Tim Ferrisin a book called The Four Hour WorkWeek. Ferris advocates “lifestyledesign”, developing career planswith “mini-retirements” and - ofmost relevance to designing yourday - “elimination” of tasks and workwhich someone else can do morecheaply than your time is worth.While few people may havesuccessfully followed all of therecommendations of The FourHour Work Week, its focus on whatyou want your life to look like andruthless attitude to minimisinglow-value tasks is somethingmany of us could learn from.Going too far.Famously, one over-zealous personalout-sourcing effort came to lightin early 2013, when a US securitysoftware developer was discoveredto have hired someone in China tohis work for him. The differencebetween his salary and the costof this made it worthwhile.The deception didn’t exactly liberatethe US developer however, he stillspent a lot of time in the office, albeitsurfing the web idly, rather thandoing anything useful with his time.
  21. 21. 24Designing Your Day HabitsHabits.Habits are why you can do somethinglike listen to a podcast or audiobookwhile driving without putting yourselfin danger - the mechanism of drivingis locked into the basal ganglia, leavingspare cognitive capacity to listen. It’s this outsourcing of repetitive tasksto a more energy-efficient part of thebrain that makes habits an incrediblypowerful tool to apply to your workinglife. Identify things which you needto do repeatedly in a constrainedbut automatic way, and make themhabits. Research suggests that habitformation can take a long time -months in most cases - but buildingthe right patterns into your day allowsyou to do so without committingmuch effort into the process.A habit is a process which has been repeated often enough toroot itself in the brain (the basal ganglia, to be precise) meaningit can be performed without much conscious effort.
  22. 22. Designing Your DayOutgrowing bad habits.HabitsMany of us have already establisheda habit of opening our e-mail appwhenever we look at or use ourphones, and that means we’recommitting time to that activitywithout making a choice to do so. Thatmight be OK - if dipping in and outof e-mail is important in maintainingyour flow - but if it’s a distraction, itneeds challenging and breaking. That’swhy the review stage of designingyour day is so important. Without thatyou can’t identify and break habitsthat are stealing time away from you. When you’ve identified them, youcan work out what the structureof the habit is and, in particular,what triggers the behaviour.Once you know that, you cangrow a new habit to replace it. One bad habit many people have ischecking emails the moment that theywake up. Without giving themselvesa chance to wake up properly andmake plans for the day they can findthemselves in a minor state of crisisor problem-solving. At one of thedesigning your day workshops we held,someone suggested that a betterhabit to grow would be spendinga little time reading some articlesthey had saved on their tablet.Conversely, designing your day gives you thestructure you need to break bad habits.
  23. 23. The original habitsof a highly effectiveperson: Aristotle.We might call Aristotle the originalover-achiever. He studied almostevery subject of his day - includingphysics, anatomy, geology andastronomy - and made his mark onall of them. Philosopher, polymathand teacher of Alexander the Great,Aristotle noted that “excellence isnot an act, but a habit” - a clue tohis personal management, perhaps.26Designing Your Day HabitsHabits.
  24. 24. 28Designing Your Day NeuroscienceNeuroscience.We are in the middle of a revolutionin the understanding of how ourbrains work.As neuroscience - a field whichcombines several disciplines, includingpsychology, chemistry and philosophy- expands what we know about ourbrains, the lessons are beginningto be applied in the workplace.We have gathered some insightsthat will be helpful in designingyour day. To find out more aboutthis fascinating subject, take alook at Your Brain at Work, byDr David Rock and Thinking Fastand Slow by Daniel Kahneman.Thinking is expensiveAs discussed in the section onmanaging time and energy, the brainuses about 20% of our blood glucoseeach day, most being consumed bythe prefrontal cortex, a small sectionat the front of your brain responsiblefor conscious thought. When youthink hard about something you useup glucose and deplete your ability tothink about other things. The moredecisions you make, the harder it getsto make them.We need to complete thingsOne of the reasons that finishingtasks - or reading books, or articles- is so satisfying is that it closes aloop. Leave something undone andyour mind will return to it again andagain, burning more precious energy.This applies as much to an unfinishedexpense report as to an email thatneeds a reply, or a bulb that needsreplacing at home. This is the reasonwhy so many of us love lists, or moreprecisely, ticking items off on lists.Toward and away modesThe brain has two basic mental states- “toward” and “away”. The former ispositive, open and engaged, while“away” is negative, defensive andwithdrawn. If you feel threatened ortoo stressed, your ability to think wellis limited. Asking yourself which stateyou are in during different times ofthe day can help you control this. Ifyou are in an “away” state and need tothink clearly or creatively, you shoulddo anything you can to change yourmood to a “toward” state.
  25. 25. 29Designing Your DayThe Goldilocks brainDr David Rock talks about the“Goldilocks brain” where things haveto be “just right” to achieve peakperformance. In order to operateat your best, you need to be in apositive state, but you also needto be stimulated by a potentialreward or threat. So while stressand the “away” mode can limityour thinking, you sometimes needa little bit in order to motivateyourself to get on with things.Our subconscious supercomputersThe conscious mind uses a very smallfraction of the brain. If you let it, yoursubconscious can do a lot of problem-solving and thinking for you. The trickis to relax - as Don Draper adviseshis protégé in Mad Men, in order tocome up with a creative solution “Justthink about it deeply, then forget it…then an idea will jump up in your face.”When you are designing your day, youcan think of breaks and mundanetasks not just as an opportunity toallow your brain’s energy levels torecover, but also for high qualitythinking to go on in the background.No multitaskingMany of us have heard thatmultitasking isn’t such a good idea,but we still do it anyway. The problemis two-fold: it makes us look verybusy and we literally get slightlyhigh on the hormone (dopamine)our brain gives us as a reward foranswering email or using our socialnetworks. The problem is, it is anillusion - we are getting less doneand we are doing it less well thanif we did one thing at a time.Our brains operate best sequentially-tackling one task after another.Multitasking is best described as whatcoach and McKinsey adviser CarolineWebb called “procrastination indisguise”.Neuroscience
  26. 26. 30Designing Your Day NeuroscienceThinking on the move:Charles Darwin.Darwin’s prodigious output asa scientist relied on lab work heperformed in the morning. Inthe afternoon he would walkcircuits of his garden’s “ThinkingPath”, while he reflected on hiswork and thought deeply.The evidence from neurosciencesuggests that this is an extremelyeffective strategy for helping getthe most from your brain. In hisbook, Brain Rules, Dr John Medinasays that we evolved to walk manymiles a day and think best when weget lots of this kind of mild exercise.Neuroscience.
  27. 27. Planning life (notjust work).Designing Your Day is obviously a book with the business of workat its core. When you look at a design for your day - a timeline or adiary page, for instance - work will be at its core, but the other thingsthat fill up the rest of your day should be considered as well.The idea of “work/life balance” istroubling to some, because it seemsto set the two things in opposition,when they are part of the sameday, the same person. Work andlife outside of work support oneanother in so many ways. When youarrive at work alert, engaged andhealthy, ready to perform, to be thebest you can be, it is because youare a whole person - supported byhome, a social network of familyand friends, your own interests andpassions, and a healthy lifestyle.Your non-work life supports yourwork and also makes demands onyou - you need to make sure youhave allocated time and energy toeverything that is important to you.The idea of “balance” is also a trickyone. Sometimes you need to throwyourself into your work completely,at an unsustainable level, in orderto make the most of an opportunityor to respond to a crisis. This isnormal and necessary, but when youare designing days where work hassqueezed out family time, social life,exercise, you have to be aware thatthis can only go on for a short while.Dr David Rock and Dr Daniel Siegelhave a model for how this works froma neuroscience point of view, calledThe Healthy Mind Platter. In the sameway as you would make food choicesto ensure different types of nutritionare represented in your diet, Rockand Siegel suggest you need to havedifferent types of thinking - includingsocialising, play, exercise and focus- in order to reach your potential.32Designing Your Day Planning life (not just work)
  28. 28. Happiness andpurpose.Knowing yourself starts with having a clear idea of who youare - your past, the skills you have built, the experiencesyou bring to bear - and where you are going.Like any well put togetherorganisational strategy, making theright decisions about where to putyour focus and where to allocateresources is far easier if you have aclear idea of what your purpose is. Having purpose is not just soundadvice for life, it has a bearing onyour practical effectiveness eachday. Knowing why you come to workand how that fits in with your idea ofwho you are lowers anxiety, making a“toward” state easier to achieve, whichin turn makes you more effective.Over the past decade or so a bodyof thinking has emerged aboutthe importance of happinessat work. Some individuals andorganisations - famously Zappos -put the happiness of their peopleright at the heart of their strategy.Some Scandinavian countries havea word “arbeijdsglaede” to describehappiness at work, it’s a shame thatword doesn’t exist in more languages.The evidence is that happinessmakes you more productive, morecreative and more resilient.Happiness shouldn’t be a bonus,it should be the foundation of aproductive day. It begins witha personal sense of purpose.Happiness and purpose33Designing Your Day
  29. 29. 34Designing Your Day
  30. 30. Part 2:How todesignyour day.Useful ideas about designing your day.The critical idea in this approachis not about making grand, life-changing commitments, but rathermaking small changes one day at atime and learning from yourordsuccesses and failures. Design one day. Review it.Design another.
  31. 31. 36Designing Your DayHow to designyour day. The days quickly turn into weeks and months until you findyourself in a radically different place than when you started, butwithout setting yourself up for the sense of failure - and likelyproject abandonment - that a sweeping resolution brings.36Designing Your Day How to design your day
  32. 32. 37Designing Your DayThe key principle is stepping back:taking time out of the process ofwork to prioritise, plan and finallyreview effectiveness day-by-day.This structure gives you the freedomto concentrate on those things thatare most important. Successfulpeople don’t have more time, energy,or freedom than the rest of us - theyjust use what they do have better. Begin each day with a set ofquestions: What do I want to achieve today? What do I need to achieve today? How much time do I have available? Where do I need to be? Once you know what matters, youcan plan your day to make it likelythat it happens. You won’t alwayssucceed in implementing the thingsyou design into your day exactly asyou wanted, but that’s OK. Learnfrom that failure, and begin againtomorrow. Each day is, in effect, aprototype - but it’s a prototype of aproduct that will never be finished.How to design your dayAs you get better at reviewing yourday, every day, it becomes easierto see what activities are makinglow-value contributions to yourlife - and consciously try to planthem out of existence. You tradelow-value activities for high-valueones, and make your working daysubstantially more effective withinthe same time constraints. However, nothing can liberateyou from those constraints.As we explored in part one, we all havetime, energy and personal limits onwhat we can achieve in a working day.The aim is to take those constraintsand use them as a structure tobuild the rest of your day around.Instead of being limitations youpush against, they become aconstructive and accepted part ofyour working day. Knowing yourlimits is a critical factor in design. Design always has an aim. Youraim for designing your day issustainable productivity.
  33. 33. 38Designing Your DayDesign thinking,meet productivity.The devices we use, the chairs anddesks we sit at, the vehicles thattransport us, the buildings and publicspaces we move through - all ofthem have been shaped by designersand the method of design thinking.Why not apply the same processesto how you work - to creatingmore effective habits and routinesand what we talk about at Nokiaas a “smarter everyday”?Brilliant minds and thousands of hours of their thinking havebeen invested in designing the world in which we work.38Designing Your Day Design thinking, meet productivity
  34. 34. 39Designing Your Day Design thinking, meet productivityThe Wikipedia entry at thetime of writing this ebookdescribes design thinking as:“the methods and processes forinvestigating ill-defined problems,acquiring information, analysingknowledge, and positing solutionsin the design and planning fields.”That lays out a good case for whyyou should take a design approachto how you shape your day, optimisethe way you use your time and energyto get things done. The problem ofhow to stay focused amidst the roarof distracting demands and make theright calls about where to spend yourattention through your working day is“ill-defined”, but through a process ofanalysis and trying out solutions, youcan find better ways to work (and live).Tim Brown is one of the founders ofIDEO, a leading design consultancy.He and his firm have played a largerole in popularising the idea of designthinking and applying it to businessproblems. In late 2012, on his blog,Tim suggested applying designthinking in our lives, concluding hispost with the tantalising provocation:“Think of today as a prototype.What would you change?”What is design thinking?You may be aware of the concept of design thinking, or at least haveheard it mentioned, but let’s pause for a moment and understandexactly what it is and why we can use it in our everyday lives.
  35. 35. 40Designing Your Day Design thinking, meet productivityFive-step designthinking process.Let’s take a look at a simple model of how the design process works and thensome key ideas designers use that you can apply to designing your day.The design process might be mapped out in the following stages once abrief or challenge has been set:Discovery.Observe and try to understand whatis happening in the current situation.Use empathy to understand whypeople behave in the ways thatthey do. Develop insights about thechallenge.Define the challenge.Based on what you understandabout the challenge, the peopleand the behaviours involved, workout the best way to describe it.Asking the right questions, usingthe right language to frame or re-frame the challenge is crucial todeveloping an effective solution.Ideas.Develop ideas - as many as possible,without restrictions - about possiblesolutions to the challenge. Thinkabout what the best possiblesolutions might look like.Prototype.Select an idea and try to make it realas quickly as possible. For productdesigners this means building a model,no matter how rough, so that theycan see how it works. Website andsoftware designers will create bare-bones versions of the product. Servicedesigners may start storyboardingwhat the customer experience will belike or mocking up physical locations.Test and Iterate.Create and test working prototypes.Each new version - called an iteration- is an improvement on the last. If youwere designing a product or a pieceof software you would say at the endof this process that it was time to shipthe product or put it on the market.For the purposes of designing yourday, you can probably say that youwill always be iterating, adjusting tosome extent how you design each day.
  36. 36. DiscoverDefineIdeasPrototypeTest and iterate
  37. 37. Create the right conditions.Marko Ahtisaari, Nokia’s head ofdesign, talks about “creating theright conditions for innovation”as being essential to his designprocess. In practical terms thismeans having the right people inthe room, the right atmosphereand the right tools to hand.Threemoreusefulconceptsfromdesignthinking.42Designing Your Day Design thinking, meet productivity
  38. 38. 43Designing Your DayLearn from failure.Designers expect to fail during theprocess of finding a solution. Infact failure is vital to the processof finding the best solution. Whendays don’t work out, when plans goawry, you should look for what youcan learn from the experience andwhat you can improve next timearound, rather than feeling bad.Constraints are liberating.We might think that creative mindslike designers can’t stand beinglimited by process. In fact theycrave that structure, seeing theprocess and acknowledgementof constraints as essential tocreativity. Designing your day aroundthe constraints of your work andpersonal life can still leave roomfor creative and strategic thinking.
  39. 39. 44Designing Your DayObservation.To design your own day, first you have to understand how you work. This may be more difficult than you think. Somehow we can have the abilityto both be incredibly critical of ourselves (“I am terrible at staying focused!”)and overly flattering (“If there’s a deadline, I’ll hit it, no matter what.”).Observing how you work requires alittle rigour. Here we have gatheredsome approaches which might help:•  Keep a work diary for a few days:Note down the things you havedone in each hour. You might alsomake a note of your energy level,and how happy and motivated youfeel. Use a scale like marks out often to give some consistency. •  Write a timeline.Sketch out the 24 hours of theday and note what you do ineach. When you sleep, travel,read, the types of work you do,when you take breaks, etc.•  Bad day/good day.Based on your notes or from memory,create a timeline or free-formvisualisation of what a bad day lookslike. What’s not working? What’sgetting in the way? Then try showingwhat an ideal day looks like: when youare really getting great work done,have enough time for family andfriends, and get a good night’s sleep.•  Be dispassionate.Be as dispassionate as possible, asif you were analysing the actions ofsomeone you had never met before.Try to be relatively non-judgementaland simply curious: “I wonder why Ileave all of those windows open onmy computer all of the time?” “Whydo I add something I have just done tomy to-do list and then cross it out?” •  List your insights.Based on your observations, list someinsights you have about yourself. Whatdo you do well? When do you do it?What are the things you need in orderto be able to work well? Where dothings go wrong? What are habits thatwork well and which get in the way? • Get feedback.Talk to a trusted colleague or friendand ask for their impressions of youat work. Do they think you are wellorganised, happy, effective? Wheredo they think you could improve? Ifyou have listed some insights aboutyourself, ask them if they agree. 44Designing Your Day Observation
  40. 40. 45Designing Your Day ObservationYour bodydoesn’t standa chance on acaffeine andsugar hit.Use yourMornings wisely,its when youhave the mostenergy.Email andmeetings canrule your day -if you letthem.Exhausted anddemoralised, you needa drink! But alcoholmay disrupt precioussleep and lead to poorfood choices, making itless likely you’ll be onyour A gametomorrow...Sleep is the mostimportant factor inhaving goodcognitive function -it should be thepriorityGET UPBREAKFAST ON THE MOVEGET UPEAT BREAKFAST AND READTRAVEL / CHECK EMAILMEETING07:0013:00PRIORITISE AND PLAN THE DAYLUNCH AND GO FOR A WALKEMAILTRAVEL / EMAIL / SOCIAL MEDIALUNCH / EMAIL / SOCIAL MEDIAInstead ofdefaulting toemail, defaultto looking atpriorities.Exercise mayseem like aburden, but therewards speak forthemselves.Time well spent.Relax orreflect onthe dayahead.Switch off -relax andre-charge.14:0018:00MEETINGDRINKPROJECT WORKRECHECK PRIORITIESMEETINGSREVIEW THE DAYCHECK EMAIL & SOCIAL MEDIATRAVEL/SOCIAL MEDIABeing able tospot what isreally urgent is askill. Most thingswill wait.EMAIL19:0024:00EATTV/EMAILBEDEAT DINNEREXERCISEBEDPHONE IN DOCK, SCREENS OFFTRAVEL/EMAIL/SOCIAL MEDIAEMAIL AND ADMINNooooo!Email is not thebest place tostart the day.EMAIL
  41. 41. 46Designing Your DayPrioritise first.The more habitually you returnto setting priorities, the moreeffective you can be. When thingsget a little crazy and you aren’tsure what comes next, it shouldbe your cue to take time out andset or reset your priorities.  One of the things that neuroscienceteaches is that the brain has evolvedto be lazy, or more kindly put, toavoid activities that consume a lot ofresources. Planning and prioritising- or re-prioritising - seems like hardwork and so we will try to avoid it,muttering “I’ll just get on with it” anddiving head-first into the first taskin front of us, or that old fall-back ofthe mindlessly busy person: email. Knowing what your priorities aretakes an effort of will. It takesdiscipline to focus on the task andthen to complete it, but it is essential.  Lists are the obvious place to startwith setting priorities, but oftento get a fresh perspective youneed to try something new. If youhave a massive list of things to do,marking them A, B and C will onlyget you so far. Try writing a freshlist, allowing yourself only a handfulof priorities. Some prefer to use avisualisation approach, rearrangingindex cards, or getting things upon a whiteboard before sitting backto consider which things shouldreceive the most attention. Whatever methods you use, reallyeffective prioritising means beingruthless and realistic with yourselfabout how much you can achieve. “Prioritise prioritising”- Dr David Rock.If you take just one piece of advice from this book, fromall of the works on managing yourself and your time, it isthat you should put prioritising first on your list. 46Designing Your Day Prioritise first
  42. 42. 47Designing Your Day Prioritise first In their book, Willpower, RoyBaumeister and John Tierney tell thestory of a psychologist asked to speakat the Pentagon to a group of elitegenerals about time management.They asked the audience to definetheir personal approach to beingeffective in 25 words or less. Theonly useful response came from theonly female general in attendance: “First I make a list of priorities: one,two, three, and so on. Then I crossout everything from three down.”Now that’s focused prioritising.
  43. 43. 48Designing Your DayDesign the shapeof your day.Lists tell you what to do, calendars when to do it and priorities tell youwhich things really matter. To help all of these things work best together,you need to use two approaches: chunking and shaping. 48Designing Your Day Design the shape of your day
  44. 44. 49Designing Your DayChunking and shaping.Chunking Chunking means grouping togethersimilar tasks - say, making phonecalls, filling out expense claims, andeven more cognitively demandingtasks like writing, research andanalysis. It is a very efficient wayof working, because using yourbrain in a certain way on a series ofsimilar tasks allows you to stay inthe same mode, as it were, ratherthan having to shift into a new one.  The term chunking is also usedin the psychology of learning andproject management, to describethe breaking down of complex tasksinto smaller ones. It is much easier totake on a simple task than a slightlyunknown larger project, so it’s betterto plan your task lists in chunkswhere the next action is what youfocus on. Larger projects belong inyour planning and prioritising time.  In designing our day, you shouldlook to exploit the benefitsof both kinds of chunking.ShapingFollowing the logic of chunkingyour time and tasks, a method fordesigning the “shape” of your dayshould emerge too. Rememberingthe insights you developed fromobserving your day, as well asyour ideas about what a “goodday” looks like, you can plot outwhat kinds of things you needto do and when in order for theday to run as well as possible. Thinking about when your energylevels are highest, whether you area morning person or a night owl, youcan plot out what types of activitybelong where in the day. If you areat your most creative and focusedfirst thing in the morning, youshould shape your day to get youto your desk and writing, planningor whatever as soon as possible. You also need to block out time forbreaks - short ones and longer onesfor meals - as well as factoring intime for exercise, socialising andspending time with your family.Sounds challenging, doesn’t it?Well no design problem is withoutchallenges, but by devoting time andenergy to those challenges you candevelop better ways of doing things.Design the shape of your day
  45. 45. 50Designing Your Day The ChallengeDay designer:Benjamin Franklin(1706-1790)Franklin might be regardedas the godfather of designing yourday. He structured his ideal day in athoughtful, measured way as youcan see from the table opposite. You will note that his day wasuntroubled by email, childcare,commuting or other concerns ofthe modern knowledge worker.(Although he did fret aboutinterruptions nonetheless.)Design the shape OF Your day.As well as being a founding father of the United States, a President,a distinguished diplomat, a scientist and an inventor (of bifocal glassesand the lightning rod, among other things).Despite this there are real insightsto be gained from the close readingof his routine. Creating “zones”for types of work when you are atyour most productive, “chunking”similar tasks together, takingbreaks and planning time for therest of your life are all things thatmake for a well-designed day.  
  46. 46. 51Designing Your Day The ChallengeThe morning question,What good shallI do this day?Rise, wash, and address PowerfulGoodness; contrive day’s businessand take the resolution of theday; prosecute the presentstudy; and breakfast.Work.Work.Sleep.Put things in their places, supper,music, or diversion, or conversation;examination of the day.Read or overlook myaccounts, and dine.Evening question,What good haveI done today?5678910111212345678910111234
  47. 47. 52Designing Your Day Design the shape of your dayTrying thisfor yourself.There are a number of ways you can design the shape of your day.It’s up to you whether you use a white board, an electronic diary or justa blank sheet of paper. In the spirit of innovation, maybe try differentways of planning on different days to find what’s best for you. If you are using an electronic diary,you can set up a new calendar justfor this activity. This will allow youto block times for types of activityin a different colour to your actualcalendar appointments, and toswitch views between your scheduleand your design for the day. On paper or a whiteboard, startby sketching out a timeline for alltwenty-four hours of the day. Thenplot out things that need to happenall the way along it. Don’t be afraid tocross or rub things out and try again.  Another method would be touse index cards or sticky notesrepresenting time blocks andmoving them around along a time-line to see how you can developdifferent shapes of the day.  Try some radical ideas to see whatthey look like. What if you workedin the evenings and early morningsand exercised and socialised in themiddle of the day? What if officehours started at 1pm? You may notend up working like this, but thethought experiment may be useful inshaking you out of a rut and thinkingabout what different approachesyou might take to your day. 
  48. 48. 53Designing Your DayReviewingand redesigning.Just as you need to build time into your day to prioritise, you also need toset aside a few moments to review, reflect and revise your prototype. If you find that you frequently failto meet all of your goals for the day,then perhaps the larger problem lieswith you taking on too much work,so the issue will be  prioritisation. Ifyour plans are often scuppered byan unexpected development, thenwork will be required to make yoursystem more agile and easy to adapt. As you perpetually improve yourprototype of ‘the perfect day’ youwill assemble the parts one by one.Through the process of working youtest it, break it, and rebuild it againin an improved form, discarding whatdoesn’t prove itself to be valuable.With each new configuration, theframework will grow stronger, andyour confidence in what can beachieved will grow exponentially. Sometimes reflection, redesignand prioritisation are all part ofthe same “meeting with yourself”.Don’t be afraid to rip things up andbegin afresh. You’ll be surprised bywhat you discover when you do.No system will ever be immune toimprovement, and the challenge isin forcing yourself to step back andexamine your work objectively. What worked well for you today?Did you achieve everything youset out to do? Could you havedone more? How do you feelnow that the day is over? The process of asking these questionsat the end of each day shouldbecome a habit, the mirror of theprioritising and planning session atthe start. Through repeated analysisyou will quickly notice patternsemerge. If the same problemssurface time after time despiteyour best efforts, then a processof elimination will soon allow you toidentify the real cause for concern.Design the shape of your day
  49. 49. 54Designing Your DayDefending your day.Having invested time and concentration in designing your day, it isnow necessary to protect yourself from the temptation of revertingback to bad habits. Time gained by cutting away unnecessarytasks can just as easily be squandered elsewhere, and the chaosof the wider world can frequently be too great to ignore.Nobody works in a vacuum. Situationsevolve, and your day needs to berobust enough to evolve with them.As your daily processes are refinedand improved upon you will need toremain agile and adapt often. Roll withthe punches, but stand firm on whatyou know to be most important. Don’tallow your priorities to be hijacked. With the best of intentions, youcan only defend your day so far.Ultimately you are working towardsan ideal that will fail in small waysmany times, running up againstproblems. However, there will alsobe small victories that mount upover time and can bring powerfulchanges to you, your team and yourorganisation as a whole. Pushingback in a positive way and assertingcontrol can become a powerful habit.  Let’s look at some of the mainthings that can get in the wayof your day going to plan. 54Designing Your Day Defending your day.
  50. 50. 55Designing Your DayDistractions.In his book Thinking Fast and Slow, psychologist Daniel Kahneman tellsus that the best way to not allow us to be distracted by habits likechecking email is to stop the chain of events as early as possible.hour or two while you work. A pairof headphones, even if you aren’tlistening to music, can help as a signal.If someone does wave or interrupt,let them know you are focused andcan talk in however many minutes. Ifcolleagues are used to interruptingyou, then adapting to a new work-style can be as much a habit-settingexercise for them as for you.  Ultimately, if it is impossible to remainuninterrupted at your desk, it may bea sensible idea to retreat to anotherspace for focused work: a café, ameeting room or break-out area.  Developing distraction-resistantworking isn’t a case of a quick-fix, it is something to work at. Likethe whole project of designing abetter working day, you need topersist, try out different tacticsand develop effective habits. The moment you open Facebook,Twitter or your email inbox it isvery hard indeed not to noticeseemingly fascinating or urgentmessages that require yourattention, then open them, thenreply, then move onto the next one. The best solution for avoidingcommon distractions is to createthe right conditions and habitsfor focused work, or to put itsimply: remove temptation andwork on a routine for deflectingdistractions. Turn off alerts and appsor programmes that aren’t essentialto the task in hand. Get notes andfiles from any emails that you needbefore starting your task. Unless youare expecting an urgent call or text,turn off communications devicesand set phones to flight mode.  If you are in an office environmentwhere people may interrupt you, givesignals that you are focusing on work,perhaps even tell neighbours thatyou will have your head down for anDefending your day
  51. 51. 56Designing Your Day Defending your dayMeetings.Meetings are obviously a vital tool for any team to stay in touch,compare thoughts, and plan for the future. However, when mismanagedit is all too easy for meetings to become overlong, disorganiseddistractions from the business they are intended to support. So how can you make meetingswork for you? As with so muchin the process of designing yourday, it can often be a case ofasking the right questions, bothof yourself and colleagues. For instance, is your attendanceessential for this particular meeting’ssuccess? If the answer is no, thenperhaps a phone conversation or evenan email could achieve the desiredresult in a fraction of the time. Isyour attendance required for thewhole of a meeting? If not when canyou join and leave? A well-plannedand chaired longer meeting shouldbe able to give you a time slot. Is the meeting itself necessary?How long should it be to achievethe objectives? People default to anhour or round up to hours becausethat is how diaries are laid out, buta ten minute huddle to reach adecision, or a twenty minute updateon news might work just as well. Once meetings begin, there are somesimple questions that we all knowbut sometimes forget to ask, andtheir going unanswered can result ina baggy, less effective session. Whois chairing the meeting, keeping itto time and its objective? Who willshare actions? What are the keyobjectives? If no formal agenda hasbeen set, take a couple of minutes todo that. Conversation that is off topicor deserving of more time should bepolitely deferred to a future meeting. Aside from these traditional rulesand structures for meetings to helpthem run well, the age of always-onconnectedness brings new challenges.Colleagues can drift off from thediscussion, looking at email and otherwork behind laptops or on phones. One useful tip to avoid this pitfalland retain the focus of your team isto promote the practice of declaringtechnology in use at the table. Ifsomebody is using a laptop to take
  52. 52. 57Designing Your DayThis can encourage people to arriveon time and prepared, and givethem time for a break if they haveback-to-back meetings all day. Lastly, don’t get stuck in a rut. Ifregular Monday morning roundtablesare proving unproductive, tryscheduling in a midweek lunchtime, oreven last thing on a Friday. Steppingout of established habits will provokethought and engagement fromthose involved, and lead to shorter,more valuable meetings for all. Weekly meetings can become a badhabit if they outlive their usefulness.Adding an agenda point every fewweeks to briefly discuss if themeeting is still useful or could beshorter is a useful discipline to keep.notes, have them say so at thebeginning of the session, so thatothers know they have their fullattention. If someone needs to checkemail for an urgent client messageduring the meeting, they should sayso up front, and reassure colleaguesthat they aren’t just responding toanything that pops up in their inbox. This eliminates confusion as towho might not be fully focused onthe discussion, and discouragesdistraction. Why not switch offyour mobile phone and encourageothers to do the same? More focuson getting the business of themeeting finished efficiently maymean that it can end sooner, andthen everyone can give their otherwork full attention. (As we saw in theneuroscience section, multitaskingis extremely counter-productive.) Another useful strategy is to make apoint of booking your meetings at oddtimes, for instance ten past the hour.Defending your day
  53. 53. 58Designing Your Day Defending your dayEmail.In discussions about productivity and managing time email is oftencast as the most villainous of all distractions. This is of course veryunfair. There’s a reason that email is everywhere: it is incredibly useful. Blaming email for your misfortunesis the modern equivalent of theproverbial poor craftsman blaming histools. Tools need to be used skilfullyand methodically to achieve the bestresults, and email is no different.  So here are a few headlines and tipsfrom the many experts and advicewe have come across on how toachieve mastery of email, rather thanletting your inbox dictate your day.Find a new default setting(for yourself)Email is the default activity for manypeople. They reach for their phoneto check it when they wake up, whilewaiting for their train, walkingbetween meetings. It’s a habit, andperhaps not a useful one as it canraise stress levels (psychologistssays constant checking of email orsocial networks can create a senseof false urgency or anxiety) and stopyou from taking a rest or reflectingon things that have just happenedin a meeting. Habits that mightbe useful could include reading, arelaxation exercise or reviewing yourplan for the day and priorities. 
  54. 54. 59Designing Your DaySchedule time for email.Many people recommend schedulingtimes to check email and sticking tothem as an effective counter to thetemptation to check your inbox everyfew minutes. Everyone needs to findwhat works for them, but a quicktriage for urgent messages at thestart of the working day - resistingthe urge to respond to non-urgentones - followed by a focused burstof clearing messages and replying tomessages at the end of the morningis a recommended approach. Email bankruptcy.Ask people how many unread emailsthey have in their inbox and it’s notunusual to get answers of 10,000 oreven 20,000. The concept of “inbox”becomes fairly meaningless at thispoint and it is fair to say that if youhave this many unread you mayhave lost control of your email.A solution that some resort to is“email bankruptcy”: tacitly admittingthat none of these will now be repliedto and deleting the lot to startover. With caveats about deletingurgent client messages or emailsfrom your boss, it can be incrediblyliberating to start over, free fromthe psychological burden that thatridiculously high inbox number brings. Inbox Zero. Suggested as an approach by DavidAllen in Getting Things Done andexpanded upon by Merlin Mann, theidea is simple. Email inboxes are notsurrogate task lists or file storagesystems - every time you focuson your inbox it should be clearedto zero. Emails need to be repliedto, added to proper filing systems,forwarded, delegated, ignored orfiled for later reading. Inbox Zero isa highly effective way of ensuringthat mails are not forgotten andcutting back on procrastination,because emails that demandaction and are dealt with quickly. Defending your day
  55. 55. 60Designing Your Day ConclusionConclusion: Takingothers with you.Thank you for reading Designing Your Day, we hope it has been useful to you.There is so much to explore on the topic of how to design a more effectiveday. As we have discovered, you could spend all your time thinking about howto get things done, but you would neglect actually getting on with your work.Taking the decision to design yourday, to make each day a little betterthan the one before, is a projectin the first instance. It requires aninitial investment of time: to read,reflect, plan and to implementchanges in your everyday life.  As we have tried to make clear, thereal power of thinking about howto design your day is about turningthese good intentions, insightsand ideas into habits, a routinethat slips into the backgroundand becomes less effortful.  Every now and again we simplyneed to check ourselves against thefundamentals of how to design yourday. In all of the things we lookedat, three principles stood out:•  Purpose.You need to check your day’s designagainst what your purpose is - whatyou want to achieve with your work,where you are headed in your life. •  Prototyping.If every day is a prototype, youlearn and improve with set-backs and failures, ratherthan being disheartened. •  Prioritisation.The most important task in your dayis setting priorities. When thingschange or you aren’t sure what comesnext,your return to prioritising.  
  56. 56. 61Designing Your DayBeyond this approach, there is onefurther dimension to the idea ofdesigning your day: other people.Few of us work in isolation - we havecolleagues, wider organisations,industries and communities thatwe are part of in our working lives. Sharing your approach and includingcolleagues in discussions is the logicalnext step from taking responsibilityfor the design of your own day.Imagine the potential of sharinggood habits, of building designsfor the ideal day for a whole team,of building a movement withinyour company of people who thinkdeeply about how everyone canget the most from their days. Best of luck to you in designing yourday. Let us know how you get on.  We hope you have enjoyed thisbook. For more about this and othertopics in the Nokia Smarter Everydayprogramme, please find us at:
  57. 57. 62Designing Your Day Further ReadingFurther Reading.Design Thinking.Tim Brown,http://designthinking.ideo.comFlex: Do Something Different.Ben Fletcher and Karen Pine,University of HertfordshirePress, 2012The Four Hour Work Week:Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere,and Join the New Rich.Tim Ferris, Vermillion, 2011.Getting Thing Done: How toAchieve Stress-free Productivity.David Allen, Piatkus, 2002.The Healthy Mind Platter, DrDavid Rock and Dr Daniel Siegel. Popova, Rules: 12 Principlesfor Surviving and Thriving atWork, Home and School.John Medina, Pear Press, 2009.Change by Design: How DesignThinking Creates New Alternativesfor Business and Society.Tim Brown, Collins Business, 2009.The Chimp Paradox: The MindManagement Programme toHelp You Achieve Success,Confidence and Happiness.Dr Steve Peters, Vermillion, 2012.
  58. 58. 63Designing Your Day Further ReadingThe Seven Habits of HighlyEffective People: PowerfulLessons in Personal Change.Stephen Covey, Simonand Schuster, 2012.Thinking Fast and Slow.Daniel Kahneman, Penguin, 2012.Why aren’t you delegating?Amy Gallo, Brain at Work: Strategiesfor Overcoming Distraction,Regaining Focus and WorkingSmarter, All Day Long.Dr David Rock, Collins Business, 2009.Willpower: RediscoveringOur Greatest Strength.Roy Baumeister and JohnTierney, Penguin, 2011Inbox Zero.Merlin Mann, Oneself,Peter Drucker, Power of Full Engagement:Managing Energy, Not Time, Isthe Key to High Performanceand Personal Renewal.Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz,The Free Press, 2003.The Power of Habit: Why We DoWhat We Do, and How to Change.Charles Duhigg, WilliamHeinemann, 2012.
  59. 59. #smartereveryday@nokiaatwork