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June 22, 2024 6 mins

Turn low-energy time into something more productive

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
Welcome to Before Breakfast, a production of iHeartRadio. Good Morning.
This is Laura. Welcome to the Before Breakfast podcast.

Speaker 2 (00:16):
Today's tip is that if you can't work, plan, even
if your current self doesn't feel like doing anything, you
might be willing to think about what future you should
be doing. That can turn what might feel like wasted
time into something far more productive. So longtime listeners know

that one of my favorite time management rules is to
plan your upcoming weeks on Friday afternoons. When I tell
people about this rule, I first explain the idea of
planning your life in weeks, think about the upcoming one
hundred and sixty eight hours and what's important to you
profession and personally. I promise that this is a life

changing practice. But once people have their heads around that,
inevitably the follow up question is why Friday afternoons. The
answer is that if you work a Monday to Friday week,
it is really hard to start anything new on Friday afternoons.

Most people are drifting into the weekend at that point.
But if you can't actually execute on any of your priorities,
at least maybe you can define what those priorities will
be for upcoming days and then future you, who hopefully
has more vim and vigor than Friday, you can tackle them.

That's why Friday is my weekly planning day. But you
can convert any low energy time into play time. We
have all had those days you meant to work on
a big project in the afternoon, but you just got
back from lunch and frankly, you would rather take a nap. Unfortunately,

you work somewhere that this is frowned upon. If that
is the case, why not use this time for planning
something else. It could be.

Speaker 1 (02:25):
Your full upcoming week, but it could just be defining
your to do list for tomorrow. You could plan your
upcoming weekend. Or here's an idea, you could do some
longer range planning. Make a summer fun list, a list
of things you'd like to do to enjoy your summer
and make summer memories. You could work on your list

of one hundred dreams. This exercise, which was shared with
me by career coach Caroline Senza Levine years ago, is
basically a long unedited bucket list. You could put items
like travel to New Zealand or singing Carnegie Hall on there,
but you can also put stuff like visit that state

park that's thirty minutes away that you keep meaning to
go to but haven't. Or it could be trying that
new gelato place or replacing your leaky coffee maker. If
a list of one hundred dreams isn't inspiring, you plan
something random, like next year's Christmas vacation or that hobby
themed vacation you want to pitch to your best friend.

Or if you're like me and have to come up
with ideas again and again, you might look through discarded
ideas from last year and plan November's podcast topics. Now,
one of several things might happen if you plan when
you can't work first. Sometimes people find planning energizing. As

you picture yourself writing a collection of seasonal sonnets, or
visiting Iceland or going on a full bike ride through
the Grand Titan, you might start to feel more excited
about life. Maybe you'll even be excited enough to make
a tiny bit of progress on whatever project you've been
putting off. But if that doesn't happen, at least now

you've got a cool plan for next week or next
weekend or next November's podcasts, which is something you didn't
have before. You may not feel like doing anything today
but tomorrow's schedule. That is a work of art with
time allocated to all your priorities. You've planned some fun

weekend get togethers from now until August. You've picked out
which operas you want to listen to in your car
on your commute. Who knows what you have planned. When
you plan when you can't work, you are in fact working,
and in many cases you are doing higher you work

than you would have been doing anyway. The satisfying life
is all about turning intentions into reality. If you plan
when you can't work, you are one step closer to
that happening. In the meantime.

Speaker 3 (05:19):
This is Laura. Thanks for listening, and here's to making
the most of our time. Hey everybody, I'd love to
hear from you. You can send me your tips, your questions,
or anything else. Just connect with me on Twitter, Facebook

and Instagram at Before Breakfast Pod. That's b the number
four than Breakfast pod. You can also shoot me an
email at Before Breakfast.

Speaker 1 (05:52):
Podcasts at iHeartMedia dot com. That Before Breakfast is spelled
out with all the letters. Thanks so much, I look
forward to staying in touch. Before Breakfast is a production
of iHeartRadio. For more podcasts from iHeartRadio, visit the iHeartRadio app,

Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

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Laura Vanderkam

Laura Vanderkam

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