As individuals, we all strive to create our best work, whether working solo or as part of a team. In today's dystopian tech-driven work environment, continuous communication disrupts value creation.
If you aren't sending, you are receiving. Either way, you aren't creating. So I created the Agency Agenda to give you control over your day.
I designed the Agency Agenda to help you to focus on your most important work.
It's a daily habit.
A workout for your work day.
A bad case of O.P.W.
Other People's Work fills our inboxes, channels, and browsers.
If you start your day by turning on a screen, you've already lost the battle.
So we rewire your daily brain to start on the analog side.
Informed by Legends
I built this in the shadow of legends.
It's a mash-up of the various approaches that have helped me channel my baseline OCD into a productive daily routine.
Look closely enough, and you'll see the following elements embedded in the Agency Agenda:
- Cal Newport's time-blocking principle.
- Jack Butcher's Daily Manifest.
- Ryan Holiday's core principle concept.
- Tim Ferriss' insistence on automation.
- James Clear's power of habits.
A Foundational Framework
The Agency Agenda is the first step in any 1:1 client relationship I have.
We are the sum of our days. And if our days are a mess, well, you get the idea.
My goal here is to empower you to create your best work.
The Agency Agenda works in two vectors.
First, it helps you to apply focus on core areas of your day.
Second, it positions foundational elements that sustain your focus on the same page.
Download your free copy of The Agency Agenda here.
Activating Your Agency
The template has seven sections. Each element is designed to help you navigate your workday enroute to better outcomes.
Section 1 begins with the Brain Dump.
Leave your to-do list in the past.
Your brain already holds a million ideas, and its a waste of time to try and replicate that.*
We use the brain dump to offload all the things that are front of mind as you get started.
*Yes, I am sure you have real work in projects as milestones, etc, and that's 100% okay.
Section 2 is the Power Hour.
Your first hour of work is the most important part of every day.
You are focused, uninterrupted, and at 100% charge.
Crush four of the biggest brain dump items by adding them to the Power Hour.
There are four sections, each representative of the percentage of time for the work.
- 50% @ the top = 30 minutes
- 25% @ the lower left = 15 minutes
- 12.5% + 12.5% @ the lower right = 7.5 minutes each
You'll need a timer when you come back to this in your first hour of the day, but for now you can move on.
Section 3 tackles the Four Pillars.
Sustained high-quality work doesn't happen automatically.
We all take breaks during the day. And I don't mean heading to the kitchen.
We are monumentally distracted. Our days are full of countless detours to productive work. Every time a screen lights up or an alert dings somewhere, we lose.
Recharging. Self-focus. Serving others. System creation.
Each component is part of the foundation of high-quality work.
- Recharging could be a brief walk or a power nap.
- Self-time could be reading, learning, or meditation.
- Serving others could be giving back through a pro bono project, volunteering, or doing a nice deed.
- Systems involve optimizing repetitive tasks into processes that reduce time and cognitive load.
Dedicating a small part of each to your day "fills your plate" during work. No more racing to catch up when you get home.
Section 4 is Habit Management.
Not all work is work.
Some of the most powerful things we do are the habits we maintain. This space is for habits you try to add to your routine, so pick wisely.
These habits are could be work-related (be on time!) or not (use a standing desk!), but place them here on the list so you don't forget.
Here are some ideas.
Maybe you want to stand 15 minutes every hour? Or drink more water? What about writing for 30 minutes a day? Brush your teeth after lunch?
Section 5 is Focus and Schedule.
Choose the focus for your day at the top. This will help filter days and outcomes as you review them in the future.
- Internal days are 100% yours.
- External days at work are 100% someone else's.
- Hybrid is an electronically charged day with...ok, kidding. It's a mix.
Moving to the schedule, this is the part of the planning process where you might need to use some technology -- your calendar.
Open that app, be careful not to look at any distractions, and fill in the blocks already on your work calendar. Meetings, calls, errands, etc. These all count.
Reminder: Your top goal is to preserve that first hour of the day for your PowerHour work.
Then, using the information from the left-hand side of the Agency Agenda to fill in the remaining blocks.
Don't forget to put in the hours of your day (on the left) and save room to mark the work done (on the right).
At this point, you are ready to launch your day! Everything else below is for during and post-work day.
Section 6 is the Tomorrow box.
Whatever shows up today goes in the tomorrow box unless it's a screaming red light emergency.
This section prevents you from promising anything that will disrupt your day.
99% of the time, same-day turnaround isn't even required!
Free your brain to do the important work of today by placing all new items in here. This way you won't forget!
Section 7 is Plus, Minus, Delta.
When your day is complete, take a few minutes to review your execution. What would you keep [➕], eliminate [➖], or change [🔼].
Spacing work and review time should help you to be objective about these ratings. Don't hold back here.
Remember, your goal is to optimize for your best work.
This will take time. Repetition. Work, rinse, repeat.
Did you wait until the end? Download your free copy of The Agency Agenda here.
You are on the Path!
Congratulations, you are doing the good work. Anyone can put in the time, but few work to improve their focus.
This is where the real returns are in your time investment. Learn to leave that dumpster fire of a useless to-do list behind.
Start small, making sure that the first hour is your best.
Use mini breaks to recharge and fill your bucket with things that make a meaningful difference to you.
There's more to come, but this is the first step to mastering your day and your best work.
Comments or feedback? Find me on Twitter @increateable – I want to hear how you use the Agency Agenda to do your best work. 👍