You can work for years in the same job, industry, or niche and still not master productivity. Truth be told, maintaining maximum productivity is a challenge that everyone faces all the time. But rather than splitting your attention through multitasking or practicing other dubious strategies, why not build a productive workflow using day theming instead?
Day theming is a simple yet highly effective productivity-boosting technique. It may help you with time management, schedule organization, and much more. Let’s take a look at what day theming is, how it works, and how you can start practicing it this week.
What is Day Theming?
For many modern workers, productivity is key. With so much to do and so many responsibilities to juggle, making the most of every working hour is vital. There are many examples of strategies you can use to improve productivity, including automating rote tasks, using time blocking, setting daily priorities, and using the Pomodoro technique.
But day theming is also highly effective, and maybe even more so than those alternatives. In a nutshell, day theming means theming each of your days to a specific task type, responsibility, or focus. Rather than having a daily to-do list after you clock in with time cards and with a bunch of different tasks that require you to shift gears or focus on completely different things from hour to hour, day theming has to batch your tasks together on each day based on similarity.
It’s simple, easy to implement, and provides lots of great benefits for those who practice it consistently. The more you use day theming, the more likely you are to notice big productivity boosts and decide to leverage it for each workweek.
How to Use Day Theming for Great Results
Interested in giving day theming a try? Good news; you can revamp your schedule and start using day theming’s time management method right away with four key steps. Plus, these steps are easy to implement and enforce throughout a company, so you can use day theming for the entire office.
Choose Categories or Themes for Your Days
First, you should choose the categories of work or themes for each day in your work week. The sky’s the limit in terms of the categories you assign – it all depends on your industry, job responsibilities, and current project load.
For example, on any given workweek, you might need to answer work correspondence, tackle all of your meetings with coworkers, and prepare your work for the next week. All of your work is primarily administrative and collaborative, so it counts as an overall theme.
Then, on other days, you might do all of your data analysis or report-writing, depending on what you need to do for your job and what your job entails. The point with all-day theming is to put all of a specific type of work into one day (or two days) so you don’t mix and match.
Assign Each Theme to a Specific Day of the Week
Next, take your themes or categories and assign each to a specific day of your week. In keeping with the above example, you might assign all of your administrative and collaborative work to Monday so you know what you have to do for the rest of the week and so you can answer any emails you received over the weekend. You can assign your data analysis work on Tuesday, assign other project-based work on Wednesday, and so on.
Again, you have total freedom in terms of how you want to build your workflow using day theming. It’s a good idea, however, to keep your personal energy levels and flow in mind. For instance, if you know that Mondays are your least productive because you are coming down from weekend activities, it’s probably wise to assign your more critical project work on days in the latter half of the week.
Detail the Tasks for Each Day’s Theme
Now it’s time to break down the individual tasks you’ll sign for each day’s theme. This is essentially task batching, in which you’ll “batch” similar tasks together for maximum productivity.
Let’s take Monday in the above example. Your example tasks might be:
- Answer work emails
- Meet with the boss and deliver project updates
- Meet with project coworkers to figure out who is doing what throughout the week
- Identify and confirm project deadlines
- Tackle any administrative work, such as downloading important files, watching workplace education videos, etc.
Write down each of these tasks in your notebook or add them to your calendar. As each day progresses in your themed week, you can cross the tasks off, giving you a sense of progress and accomplishment. It’s a good way to keep yourself motivated, particularly on days of the work week when you have to tackle work that you don’t normally enjoy doing.
One last tip – don’t forget to account for sleep when determining which tasks you’ll tackle each day. Getting enough sleep is vital for your daily energy and your safety; certain studies show that driving after 20 hours without sleep, for example, is similar to driving with a BAC of 10%.
Add the Themes and Tasks to Your Calendar or Time Tracker
Your last step is to add your chosen themes and tasks to your calendar or time-tracking software. Do this carefully and make sure you don’t mix any days up. Otherwise, you could break the productivity sequence you so painstakingly planned.
TrackingTime is a great example of an additional tool you can use to better manage your time, as it can help you measure productivity for yourself and your team, plus set goals and deadlines. Armed with this information, you can see how your current-
scheme is working. If you need to make changes, you can do so based on the information TrackingTime provides.
4 Big Benefits of Day Theming
Now that you know how to implement day theming in your daily work, let’s take a look at the benefits you’ll be sure to see in no time.
For starters, day theming almost always results in major productivity boosts. By giving yourself the ability to focus on one type of work or one subject each day, you’ll tackle that work more effectively than ever. It counteracts the productivity losses that are typical with multitasking.
For instance, say that you theme all of your Wednesdays to be for collaborating with other coworkers. When Wednesday rolls around, you’re ready to go and be an effective team member, knowing you don’t have to summon the same energy or focus for the other days of the week.
Note that these benefits are effectively doubled for remote workers. Indeed, day theming could be one of the best ways to bolster remote work productivity. Many remote workers struggle with structure and discipline when they aren’t in an office with a direct superior nearby. Through day theming, you can give yourself or remote workers the structure they need to succeed, somewhat emulating the weekly flow of focus and work type experienced in a normal work environment.
Furthermore, day theming helps to focus attention on both you and other team members. Again, since you only have to focus on one type of work or one subject each day, you can focus your entire being on that work.
The result? Much better output, for most people. Indeed, focusing your attention this way may allow you to complete your projects more quickly and with better results than ever.
Aids with Prioritization
Like time boxing and other techniques, day theming by nature can assist with prioritization. Since you can set up your day theme schedule, you can prioritize work that needs to be done early in the week on Mondays or Tuesdays, for instance. Then, you can prioritize less critical work for the end of the week or vice versa depending on your unique requirements.
It’s also a good idea to combine your day theme efforts with the use of workflow software that comes with features like time tracking, team productivity measurement tools, and workload monitors, for example. This kind of setup will ensure that vital work doesn’t get missed or skipped by accident, plus help you meet all of your deadlines on time.
Minimizes Start-Up Time Requirements
Lastly, day theming provides a big benefit in minimizing the start-up time requirements you normally experience at work. When you switch tasks or focus, it usually takes a little bit of time to get your gears turning and your mind focused on the new assignment.
With day theming, you never have to worry about this – on each day, you prepare for the day’s work and remain focused until it’s time to clock out.
Pro tip: Bear in mind that to build a daily productive workflow, time has to be on your side. That’s the reason why time management is key. Day theming is only one of the numerous techniques there is out there. In our blog, you’ll find a guide and benefits of task batching, a similar time management method. Combined with tools like TrackingTime time tracker, your next workweek will be your most productive ever: everyone in your company can deliver accurate time reports according to their workstyle. This time tracking is done automatically and in real time, which does not interfere with their work habits and the specific demands of their roles.
Will Day Theming Make You More Productive?
Day theming is the practice of organizing your days through the week by “theming” them to specific tasks or focuses. When practiced smartly, day theming will make you more productive, help you focus your attention, and maximize your time management across the board.
About The Author:
Fabian Sandoval is an HR analyst for small and medium businesses who recently launched a copywriting career sharing his insights on employee productivity and streamlining company-wide projects.
How to use Day Theming for Great Results
- Choose Categories or Themes for Your Days:
You should choose the categories of work or themes for each day in your work week.
- Assign Each Theme to a Specific Day of the Week:
Take your themes or categories and assign each to a specific day of your week.
- Detail the Tasks for Each Day’s Theme:
Break down the individual tasks you’ll sign for each day’s theme.
- Add the Themes and Tasks to Your Calendar or Time Tracker:
Your last step is to add your chosen themes and tasks to your calendar or time-tracking software. TrackingTime is a great example of an additional tool you can use to better manage your time, as it can help you measure productivity for yourself and your team, plus set goals and deadlines.