Four Quarters Method: No More Zero Days

Need to turn around a bad day? Or salvage a slow start? This simple, yet effective approach can get your day back on track with minimal effort.

One of the best techniques for salvaging a slow start to the day or getting back on track when you’ve found yourself drifting from your plan also happens to be one of the easiest to implement.

Unlike more complex methods that require rearranging your to-do lists, repurposing time blocks, or reprioritizing your day altogether, this method simply requires a shift in perspective.

What is the Four Quarters Method?

This simple productivity trick, often referred to as the “Four Quarters” Method, was described by author Gretchen Rubin in her book Better Than Before before taking off on TikTok and catching the eye of productivity bloggers.

From Rubin’s book:

Instead of feeling that you’ve blown the day and thinking, “I’ll get back on track tomorrow,” try thinking of each day as a set of four quarters: morning, midday, afternoon, evening. If you blow one quarter, you get back on track for the next quarter.

Fail small, not big.

Better Than Before

Why It Works:

By tricking your brain into thinking there are many “beginnings” throughout the day, you’re benefitting from the momentum of multiple fresh starts.

This division of the day also keeps you from writing off an entire day as unproductive should you get off track because you’ll have multiple chances to make up progress.

How To Implement the Four Quarters Method:

Divide your day into four quarters. The actual timeframes don’t matter that much. What matters is you have your day divided into four separate parts.

Adjust based on what works best for you.

Example Implementation:

  • Quarter 1 – Morning (5am – 9am)
  • Quarter 2 – Late Morning (10am – 1pm)
  • Quarter 3 – Afternoon (2pm – 7pm)
  • Quarter 4 – Evening (7pm – Onward)

As you work through your day, use the start of each quarter as a chance to reset expectations and focus on what you really want to accomplish.

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