Some productivity tips seemingly take so long to implement, you immediately feel discouraged by reading about them. Jam sessions are different.
Maybe the only jam sessions you know about relate to musicians collaborating creatively and spontaneously. But there are jam sessions related to productivity too. Let us show you how you can add them to your day.
What’s a Jam Session and How Does It Boost Productivity?
For productivity purposes, a jam session is a designated block of time for solely focusing on priorities. The length of a jam session varies, but it’s typically between 60 and 90 minutes. Plan to have at least two, maybe three, jam sessions in a day.
Jam sessions provide next-level productivity power by forcing you to put energy toward your most important tasks. In other words, don’t start a jam session before deciding what your priorities are.
Also, be sure the responsibilities you come up with are genuinely crucial for achieving goals. For example, if you’re a business owner, your objectives probably center on profitability. If you’re someone eager to progress up the corporate ladder, you likely work hard on career development.
The time-sensitive nature of jam sessions also works as a motivator. Many people use countdown timers during each one. A quick look at the decreasing time on the clock could be enough to keep you on track.
However, jam sessions won’t work well if you don’t understand how to put their principles into action. Check out the actionable suggestions below. They relate to techniques and tools you already use, or can easily learn.
1. Mark Yourself as “Busy” Without Giving Details
Did you know it’s possible to indicate you’re unavailable in your Google Calendar without giving details about why?
When you add a new event to your calendar, click on the More Options button.
Make sure your event is displaying as Busy to anyone who can view your calendar.
This feature is handy if you want to try jam sessions privately for a while, without letting anyone else know what you’re doing.
2. Add Jam Sessions to Your Personal Google Calendar
Shared Google Calendars serve their purposes. However, they can become chaotic as the number of users with access goes up. That’s why it’s smart to indicate your jam session times on a private Google Calendar.
To create a new Google Calendar that only you can access, go into Google Calendar and focus on the left-hand menu.
Look for the My Calendars section, then spot the plus sign above it. It’s directly to the right of the Add a friend’s calendar option.
Click the plus sign, then select New Calendar.
From there, you’ll launch a settings box where you can indicate a name for the calendar. If desired, make a calendar just for jam sessions. Then, click Create Calendar.
After that, you’ll see a gray box at the bottom of your screen. It confirms the calendar’s creation and has a Configure link in it. Clicking the link opens up a large options panel.
You can make the calendar only accessible to you. However, remember that jam sessions are uninterrupted blocks of time. That’s why you might share the calendar with a spouse, boss, or assistant. Then, the individual can refer to it and know when your time’s off-limits.
Want to add jam sessions to an existing private calendar, instead of creating a new one?
Consider using a color-coding system. Click on the area of the calendar set aside for a jam session. Doing that opens up an event box. You can type a name and time, plus select the appropriate calendar if you have several. However, instead of clicking the blue Save button, choose More Options to the left of it.
Then, you can pick a color for the event, mark yourself as available or busy, and more. Using specific colors for jam sessions lets you verify unavailability at a glance.
3. Prioritize Your To-Do List Items
If you’re like some people, you write disorganized to-do lists without ranking tasks according to priority. Fortunately, there are many ways to organize responsibilities in order of importance.
Remember, that’s a key principle of jam sessions: only focus on the most pressing tasks that drive you closer to your goals.
Finding prioritization difficult? Try writing down all your tasks first. You may have 20 or more, and that’s OK.
Then, narrow the task pool down into your top three to five must-do things. Those duties are the things to take care of during a jam session.
4. Make Tasks More Streamlined With Chunking
Chunking, or time blocking, is a productivity-enhancing strategy you can apply to a jam session. It could involve splitting large tasks into smaller segments. Alternatively, you may use it to combine similar tasks into one.
Making a PowerPoint presentation is an example of a substantial task. You might not finish it in one jam session. However, you could depend on chunking and segment that one to-do item into several. Create entries for finalizing your slide design choice, inserting the text, adding images, and so on.
Alternatively, maybe it’s time to buy office supplies soon, but you haven’t chosen a retailer yet. Don’t write one list item that says “Research prices for supplies” and another that reads “Buy supplies.” Instead, combine both into a single to-do list item: “Determine prices for supplies and buy necessary items.”
Using chunking to split large tasks makes you feel less overwhelmed.
On the other hand, converting similar smaller responsibilities into one shortens your to-do list and makes it more specific.
Chunking gives direction to your jam sessions, too. It helps segment your to-do list, making your action items more visible.
5. Add To-Do List Items That Set Expectations for Others
Jam sessions become useless if you’re distracted. However, perhaps you aren’t used to ignoring all input from others for designated periods of time.
In that case, the people with whom you interact probably aren’t accustomed to non-responsiveness from you.
That’s why your to-do list for a day with a planned jam session should allow time for setting expectations. You can set up email or text message auto-responders that describe the length of time you’ll be unavailable. If you are an in-demand person, consider designating an alternative contact person in your absence.
Finally, put your phone on airplane mode to ensure a distraction-free, maximally productive jam session.
6. Understand Priorities Change
One of the main rules of a jam session is that you only put energy toward priorities.
However, you must also keep in mind that your goals can fluctuate. Due to urgent deadlines and unexpected requests, re-prioritization is sometimes necessary.
Your jam session is a task-oriented block of time. Consider the things you plan to accomplish during your session as subject to change when your needs do. Use the same mindset when arranging and rearranging your to-do list.
What Will You Accomplish in Your First Jam Session?
Maybe you’ve wanted to try jam sessions for a while or only learned about them from reading this article. In either case, you now understand why jam sessions are worthwhile, and how they could help you succeed. Use the tips above to make jam sessions part of your daily routine.
What will you set aside time for this week? Tell us in the comments section below.
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