What would you do if you had a day when you had no responsibilities? So, is it possible to create such a day? Neil Pasricha of the Harvard Business Review has written a wonderful article on the concept of “Untouchable Day” from his own experiences. Let’s take a look together:
Some days it may seem impossible to avoid phone calls, meetings or lectures that interfere with your personal productivity. But you are not helpless to reclaim your precious productive time. In this article, I will give you a few tips to save your time.
I hate meetings. Because meetings don’t just occupy me the moment they happen. My meetings take me; Before I go to sleep, when I wake up, while sipping my morning coffee, in short, it occupies every moment I breathe and always takes place in my mind. But the worst part is, as soon as a meeting is over, a new meeting is decided.
While working as a director at Walmart, my days were spent in meetings. Of course, the days of everyone who worked were like that. When I decided to carve my own path as a writer and speaker in 2016 and quit my job, I thought that my days of meetings were over.
But I was wrong.
Now I have interview calls, lunches with editors and web developers, talks about book titles and broadcast schedules, and radio interviews. I also have an obligation to hold separate meetings before each speech I give to clarify the objectives and logistics of the event. So you see, meetings never end.
But the problem is that at this point I feel like I’ve lost my creativity and it’s getting harder and harder to find time for it. As our world gets busier and our phones ring, the scarcest resource for all of us becomes creativity. As a result; If you don’t take the time to give the world something new and beautiful, your value is rapidly declining.
I am no longer that person. Now when I come home after work, I spend more time with my wife and two young sons. Nothing is and never will be more precious to me than the time I spend with them. Exactly for this reason; I am prejudiced against the opinions of those who do not spend enough time with their loved ones. As I spent more time with my family, I realized that what I really needed was a practical way to get more work done without spending more time on it. So I had to be more productive somehow. I should be able to do more work per unit of time. To be honest, I needed to find the answer right away. Why? Because in my first year as a full-time writer, I began to feel my productivity plummeting. Moreover, even if I quit my previous job, which I didn’t do “so” fondly.
I finally found a solution that I think has saved my career, my time, and my sanity. If you’re with me right now, I bet you also need this solution; I call it “Untouchable Days”.
These are the days when people can’t reach me fully.
Untouchable Days has been my secret weapon in getting my business back on track. This is how I complete my most creative and rewarding work. To make a rough comparison, I can write maybe 500 words in a day between meetings when I write a book, whereas I can write 5000 words in a “Untouchable” day. In short, I am 10 times more productive these days.
How Do I Determine Untouchable Days?
I open my calendar and start filtering the days from the first day after the next 16 weeks. It declares an unpredictable day for each week untouchable and writes on that day in all capital letters: “untouchable.” I don’t capitalize on anything else, but let the untouchable days speak loudly.
Why am I looking forward 16 weeks? Because I have clarified the program of the events I will attend as a speaker 16 weeks beforehand. But more importantly, I have determined the “Untouchable Day” before everything else. Other days can be added to the program later, of course.
When I start my Untouchable Day, I picture myself completely alone in a fully equipped bulletproof car. Nothing can go in or nothing can go out. Meetings thrown at me are reflected in the windshield; so are texts, alerts, and phone calls. My cell phone is in airplane mode all day, wifi is completely disabled on my laptop. Nothing can bother me and not a single thing can bother me.
How will I be informed about emergencies?
Short answer: there will never actually be a real emergency. The long answer is that no one used to have a cell phone, but somehow we became available at some point – and when it really needed to be. Of course, my wife was very angry at my answer. When I started planning my untouchable days as a compromise, I said I would open my bulletproof car door for an hour at lunch. When I did that, I was faced with seventeen text messages, dozens of emails, loads of notifications, and exactly zero emergencies from my wife. After a few months I stopped doing that and instead started telling my wife where to be. This gave him peace. If something bad happened, he could call my place of work or just go and find me as a last resort.
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