The three key activities to block are:

• Anything personal that you are really trying to attend to, she said. “Maybe it is going to somebody’s soccer practice. Maybe it is not being bothered at the dinner hour,” she said. The idea is to block times to yourself and your family and friends. While you should honor those block times, Peterson said they will be broken roughly 15% to 20% of the time if something urgent comes up. But she cautioned that breaking your commitments more than 20% means a pattern is emerging. “Really look at that calendar … and say, I am going to try and honor that time.” 

• The second thing you want to put in the calendar is white space, she said. This is “the most consistent activity of the most productive leaders,” she said. Effective leaders devote 30 minutes to an hour per day to uninterrupted time for themselves, she said.

• The final thing to block in your calendar is time toward key relationships, including one-on-one time with people such as your clients, she said. “We are really in those meetings to transfer information, not just to build relationships, she said. For example, she said, it's a good idea to carve out time to check in on your team.  

3. Tracker Versus To-Do Lists
Peterson said to-do lists are wonderful tools that are  used by successful people, but a tracker is “an amazing way” to manage time as well, she said.

Your tracking list, she said, might be for promises that you have made that you don’t want to forget to follow up on. You might have a tracker for each person on your team to follow what they are working on or what’s going on in their personal lives, Peterson said. It’s a way of keeping up with the existence of people and activities, Peterson said.

“Think of it as a what exists list,” she said. “The best leaders know the status of everything. They’re not micromanaging, and they are not always involved but they always know status,” she said.

4.  Use Dead Time Effectively
Peterson describes dead time as any time you have a free five or 10 minutes. “You don’t get a lot of it,” she said, adding that you should prepare for it because little things add up. “I would tell you the best thing to do with it is something relational. Check in on people because now you’re feeding that other strategic activity that the best leaders are highly relational, always managing dead time.

5.  How Do You Use Pre-Decisions
Sitting down with your team and "pre-deciding" the issues that come up for that week will eliminate reactivity, Peterson said. “Any time you do this, what winds up happening is you’re the master and commander of your own schedule,” she said. “You’re saying, ‘We already know what we’re going to do, so we don’t have to have a bunch of meetings to talk about it.’ We already know we are going to push back in this way.”

There are a lot of little things that make you that more effective and will make leading and working enjoyable because you will feel more in control, she said.

“It will take you a year or two of deep practice before you feel you really are captain and commander of your schedule,” she said, adding that the whole idea is to figure out what you really are  trying to solve for, whether it’s to escape constant distraction, take control of your time, create balance or leading with priorities.

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