If like me you’re running a business, working, building a family, running a home, dating, trying to stay fit and healthy and loving on your fur baby then you my friend are probably sick of calendars and diaries and trying to fit it all in.
I hate being over scheduled. Whilst I love organisation I feel utterly hemmed in when I have a rigorous itinerary or routine each day. Personally, I think it’s one of the reasons running my own business is the best option for me.
That being said, I also hate trying to cram everything in or realising I’ve forgotten something essential (like scheduling my content before going on a ‘disconnected’ holiday or arranging some jabs for my son)
It will probably come as no surprise then, that I’m a firm believer in flexible scheduling using an old tried and tested method called time blocking. I know, I know, you’ve heard it all before and it’s just not your thing. That’s ok, firstly you don’t have to read on if you really don’t think it’s for you but if you’re not sure and wonder whether it’s worth a retry then this is a great way to do it.
It’s a fairly simple tool. I simply block off chunks of each day and assign a main goal to each chunk, I don’t complicate it more than that. If necessary, I will list the things a few things it’s essential for me to do in that time related to that goal i.e. Money making activities – [send new invoices and chase up unpaid invoices]. I also do my level best to stick to those times like glue. When that slot is up I stop.
It can take a bit of getting used to but once I know that timer is set I find my momentum (I also do this for household chores – don’t judge me)
The best thing is that everyday I schedule an unplanned slot for me to do whatever the hell I feel like. It’s crazy how effective this is. I remember the August bank holiday weekend I used this unplanned slot to nap and have a bath it was 10am -12 noon! I had been to see Ed Sheeran the day before and had worked from 7am till 10am when I realised I was knackered and hot. I got so much done in the later time blocks because I had just refreshed myself by doing exactly what I fancied.
I also score through a day each week to not work at all. I might jot down notes or thoughts but they are dealt with the day after. Doing this makes me feel like I have permission to have time away from the business too which reduces the guilt.
If you’re unsure about time blocking my 5 top tips are:
- Use a tool that works for you. If you are glued to your mobile – use your calendar on your phone / if you love a bit of paper and a pen use an actual calendar or a diary
- Time block for work according to your mental energy levels – if you work best first thing then this is when you should put in your business blocks, if you are a night owl then this is where they should be
- Make sure you have accounted for things like birthdays and events so don’t time block for more than a week in advance, do a quick once over on a Friday and check the plans for the week to come. What day can you have off? What things are occurring and when – I’m talking about the things that you MUST do? All of these will have a baring on when you time block for the week ahead.
- Cluster like for like tasks – I always time block 2 x 3 hour blocks for content each month. This allows me to write all my blog posts and outline my newsletters for the month to follow. 6 hours in a month blocked out means that’s exactly how long it takes me to write 3 x blog posts a week, draft 1 x newsletter a week, script 1 x audio a week and 1-2 videos a month. 6 hours and I get it done because I know that’s all the time I have.
- Eat the frog. When you’re time blocking make sure you’re addressing the stuff you don’t enjoy or stress out about the most as your first tasks. They take up a lot of mental and physical energy and will hamper your productivity all round. Getting them dealt with sooner rather than later will mean it’s off your plate and you can focus on the other stuff.
If you want more useful tips like this then you will love my upcoming E-book, ‘Reverse The Rulebook’ get yourself on the waiting list!