Day Theming is a productivity framework that's used by some of the most successful people in the world. Imagine taking an overwhelming to-do list and transforming it into a manageable stream, each day dedicated to different aspects of your personal or professional life.
However, you don't have to be a billionaire CEO to take advantage of the benefits of this strategy. Whether you're a founder, a freelancer, or a busy parent, Day Theming can help you achieve more flow states, reduce decision fatigue, and prioritize what's important to you.
In essence, it turns chaos into harmony, one day at a time.
How Does Day Theming Work?
Day Theming is task-batching on steroids. When you perform task batching, you group similar tasks together and work through them in a devoted block of time – whether it's running errands or returning phone calls.
Day Theming is a macro approach. Instead of focusing on small tasks, you focus on large projects or areas of focus and commit to doing just one for the day. For example, Mondays may be for administrative tasks and Thursdays could be reserved for creative brainstorming.
Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk are known to use Day Theming to effectively run multiple companies. In an interview with Forbes, Musk said he works at SpaceX on Mondays and Tuesdays, at Tesla on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and then returns to SpaceX on Fridays. Dorsey, during his time at Twitter, would divide his days across company functions. For example, Mondays were for Management, Tuesdays for Product, Wednesdays for Growth, Thursdays for Partnerships, and Fridays for Company and Culture.
Either way, the benefits are clear...
- More flow states - Day theming encourages you to batch similar tasks together without interruptions. This single-focused method encourages you to get into flow states. This can help you increase your productivity to get more done in less time.
- Less decision fatigue - Day theming allows you to create a consistent rhythm to your work schedule which removes the need to make decisions. Every time we have to decide what to work on, we create decision fatigue which affects our ability to solve complex, important problems. However, when we determine what types of work to do ahead of time, we’re more able to focus on the execution of the work in that slot. This allows us to perform better and do better work.
- Prioritize what’s important - The biggest advantage of batching work ahead of time is that it allows us to prioritize the work that’s important to us. By carving out a slot in your calendar daily, you make sure that you’re setting time aside to accomplish what’s important to you. You design your day for success.
Here's a step-by-step guide to making Day Theming work for you:
- Identify Your Themes: Begin by listing out all of the tasks and areas that require your focus throughout the week. This could include admin tasks, projects, meetings, creative tasks, and personal time. Group these tasks into broader themes. For example, 'Planning and Strategy,' 'Project XYZ', 'Meetings and Calls', 'Admin and Errands', etc.
- Assign Themes to Days: Once you've identified your themes, assign each to a specific day of the week based on their importance and your energy levels throughout the week. For example, I block Mondays for Admin and Planning, Tuesdays and Thursdays for Meetings, and Wednesdays and Fridays for creative 'Deep Work'.
- Set Clear Boundaries: Make sure that each day is specific to the theme. This means avoiding the urge to switch tasks. Remember, the goal here is to reduce the cognitive load between switching tasks and to allow yourself to get into a flow.
- Be Flexible: Life doesn't always go according to plan. Fires and unexpected events will arise. In these cases, it's important to be flexible and adjust your day as necessary. The goal here is progress over perfection.
- Tweak and Refine: After implementing Day Theming for a few weeks, review your schedule. Notice when you're most effective. Also, pay attention to the days that are least effective. Use this information to tweak and refine your schedule. This is an iterative process.
Remember, the goal of Day Theming is not to pack your schedule with as much work as possible. It's about being effective and creating space for focused work, minimizing distractions, and prioritizing what's important.
Try Day Theming in your life and let me know how it goes.