Do you ever wake up with a knot in your stomach? Are you ever worried that you won’t be able to get everything on your to-do list done in a given day?
A big part of our daily lives requires scheduling. But the way we manage our time can dramatically impact our professional and personal success.
What is Time Blocking?
Does this sound familiar?
You start your day with a to-do list, and by the time everything is written down, you’re already feeling overwhelmed. Your list is so long – you have no idea how you’re going to get everything squared away before the end of the day. Then, as you cruise through your first few tasks, you’re finding that you’re taking longer to get them done than you’d planned. Any hope you’d had to finish the list is quickly disappearing, and you end your day feeling worn out and a little defeated.
This pattern isn’t good for personal or professional growth! Getting a handle on your schedule can help.
Time blocking is an easy method of setting up your calendar based on your most important tasks. It can also help you to avoid the never-ending-to-do-list problem that overachievers often have! Here’s how it works:
When you block off your time or organize your calendar into different “blocks” of time, you’re able to wrangle your schedule and stay organized and on your most critical task. It’s usually easiest to start with “work” time since that takes up such a big chunk of our day. Block off different days, or portions of each day, that are intended for different tasks. For example, let’s say you’re a business owner. Maybe you take meetings Monday-Wednesday in the mornings, you work on client work Monday-Wednesday Afternoons, you have “creative time” on Thursdays, and Fridays are reserved for business development.
Within those broad time blocks, you can take things a step further and block out time for each individual meeting, and the breaks you’ll need to answer email, stretch your legs, or grab lunch between them. Then, you can block out specific hours within your client work time to focus on different projects, prioritizing them based on what’s most immediate.
You can even block off hours within your creative days, or business development time to focus on specific tasks like marketing, networking with your colleagues, taking a development course, or reaching out to COIs!
Before I had Liam and was working full time, my schedule looked like this:
Monday was all client prep day, meetings with paraplanners. Tuesday thru Thursday only client meetings. I used to do 20+ meetings in person and online in those 3 days! That was nuts, but it was productive. Friday was my “work on the business” day and meeting with my team for weekly huddles to catch up. Also, every day of the week for 30 minutes I have a standing meeting with my operations manager.
My schedule these days looks different. I am still utilizing the “time blocking” approach, but only for a 3 day work week. I significantly cut my client meetings for now:)
Once your work day is blocked out, you can start with your personal time. Look at both the morning before your workday starts and your evenings. How do you usually spend your time? If you’re feeling frustrated because you’re constantly “stuck” in a cycle of grabbing a quick dinner on the way home and sitting in front of the TV with your family until it’s time for bed – now is the time to break the cycle.
When do you have extra time in your day to achieve your goals? Maybe you have between 5-6 AM to squeeze a work out in, or a few hours on a Sunday to meal prep and avoid constantly eating out. Maybe you block off time in the evenings to read before bed, or to take your kids for a bike ride around the neighborhood – instead of slipping into watching endless seasons of your family’s favorite TV show on Netflix in the evenings.
We all have more time than we think we do – and when we prioritize the things that actually matter to you in the time we do have, we feel empowered, calm, and like we’re on the path to reach our goals.
How Can Time Blocking Help You?
Time blocking doesn’t always work in every situation, but it can be a helpful practice to get you organized and to break bad time management habits. Time blocking, even for a few weeks, can help you to reconnect with what’s most important to you, and regain your productivity!
A well-organized schedule can sometimes be a form of self-care. You’re taking care of yourself by putting your “first” things “first” in your day, and by making time for things that truly matter to you.
Do you use time blocking to organize your calendar? If not, what system works for you? We’d love to know!