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Get the most out of your agenda with 2 simple questions

Nir Eyal
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Nir Eyal

Nir Eyal is the author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Articles and blogs about the attitude of articles at (show all) Nir Eyal is the author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Articles and blogs about the attitude of articles at For more insights on using attitude to change chump behavior, join his free newsletter and accept a free workbook.


It doesn’t so much matter what you do with your time; rather, success is abstinent by whether you did what you planned to do. It’s fine to watch a video, scroll social media, daydream, or take a nap, as long as that’s what you planned to do.

Alternatively, blockage work email, a acutely advantageous task, is a aberration if it’s done when you advised to spend time with your family or work on a presentation. Keeping a timeboxed agenda is the only way to know if you’re distracted. If you’re not spending your time doing what you’d planned, you’re off track.

To create a weekly timeboxed schedule, you’ll need to decide how much time you want to spend on each domain of your life. How much time do you want to spend on yourself, on important relationships, and on your work? Note that “work” doesn’t alone mean paid labor. The work domain of your life can accommodate association service, activism, and side projects.

Build your values into your calendar

How much time in each domain would allow you to be constant with your values? Start by creating a weekly agenda arrangement for your absolute week. You’ll find a blank arrangement using my free online agenda tool at

Next, book fifteen account on your agenda every week to reflect and refine your agenda by asking two questions:

Question 1 (Reflect): “When in my agenda did I do what I said I would do and when did I get distracted?”

Answering this catechism requires you to look back at the past week. I acclaim using this Aberration Tracker to note when and why you become distracted.

If an centralized trigger distracted you, what strategies will you use to cope the next time it arises? Did an alien trigger, like a phone call or a articulate colleague, prompt you to stop doing what you wanted to do? Or was a planning botheration the reason you gave in to distraction? If so, you can look back through your Aberration Tracker to help answer the next question.

Question 2 (Refine): “Are there changes I can make to my agenda that will give me the time I need to better live out my values?”

Maybe commodity abrupt came up, or conceivably there was a botheration with how you planned your day. Timeboxing enables us to think of each week as a mini-experiment.

The goal is to figure out where your agenda didn’t work out in the prior week so you can make it easier to follow the next time around. The idea is to commit to a convenance that improves your agenda over time by allowance you know the aberration amid absorption and aberration for every moment of the day.

Before moving on, accede what your agenda currently looks like. I’m not asking about the things you did, but rather the things you committed to doing in writing. Is your agenda filled with anxiously timeboxed plans, or is it mostly empty? Does it reflect who you are? Are you absolution others steal your time or do you guard it as the bound and adored ability it is?

When our lives change, our schedules can too. But once our agenda is set, the idea is to stick with it until we decide to advance it on the next go-round. Approaching the exercise of making a agenda as a analytical scientist, rather than a drill sergeant, gives us the abandon to get better with each iteration.

Protect your most antecedent resource

By axis our values into time, we make sure we have time for traction. If we don’t plan ahead, we shouldn’t point fingers, nor should we be afraid when aggregate becomes a distraction. Being indistractable is abundantly about making sure you make time for absorption each day and eliminating the aberration that keeps you from living the life you want—one that involves taking care of yourself, your relationships, and your work.

Published September 4, 2020 — 08:00 UTC

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