Learning how to manage your time is something that takes practice. But time blocking will help you simplify your tasks and give you a plan to get work done.
Before we get started let’s clarify something. Time blocking is the same as time batching is the same thing. Just so you are not confused.
So What Is Time Blocking?
Time blocking is literally blocking out sections of time for a certain task or category of work in your day. Pretty simple right?
BUT there has to be a little bit of thought and planning you have to do before you can use the time blocking method in your daily life.
You will need to know what your big goals are and be able to break them down into smaller tasks. That way you can plan your days with intention.
Time Blocking Is Not A Time For Multitasking
No more switching from task to task. You might be thinking “but I am a great multi-tasker.” Read some of these facts then think about that again.
- Multitasking reduces productivity up to 40%!!!
- Multitasking leads to depression and anxiety.
- Increases errors by 50% and reduces your IQ by 15 points which is three times the amount of smoking marihuana.
Ouch! That last one convinced me when I heard it.
When you are multitasking you are really just quickly switching from task to task in your mind. You are not actually doing two things at once.
Think about it. If you are writing a comment on a Facebook post and there is a business podcast you are listening to on your phone. Are you ACTUALLY comprehending what is being said in the show? Sure your ears are taking in the sound but did you take to heart what was being said? Probably not.
How Time Blocking Will Help You
I started hearing how much more people where getting done while time blocking their work schedules and I decided it was time for me to give it a try. I am getting SO MUCH done and even working much farther ahead in content creation.
When I am focusing on one thing at a time I am able to focus on the task at hand. My mind feels so much more at peace. I am not thinking about 5 different things that need to be done. I just focus on one thing at a time and get it done.
How To Manage Your Time With The Big Picture
If you just randomly start doing things for an hour, two hours, or three. You are not going to be heading anywhere with intention. If you want to manage your time well you have to set your sites on the big picture goals first.
Think about your life down the road.
What will your life look like in 2-3 years from now? Maybe you have your dream life in your mind but you are not sure exactly when you will be able to reach those goals. But what does it look like?
Think about a few of these things…
- Where do you live?
- What are you doing for income?
- How much money do you have in the bank?
- How do you spend time with your kids or spouse?
- What do you do in your free time?
- What are your hobbies?
- What are your home or life improvement goals?
Now that you have an idea of what life you are working towards you need to think about the steps you have to take to get to where you are going.
Choose two to three major things you want to work on THIS YEAR. Be as specific as possible. Set dates in your calendar of when you what to see each step of that goal completed.
How To Break Down Your Goals To Manage Your Time
Let’s say you want to write a book by the end of this year. For example’s sake, let’s say you have already decided on a topic. Here is an example list of what would need to be done.
- Block out time in your calendar to write.
- Write your outline.
- Set a “words per day and words per week” goal
- Set your total word goal each month.
Now let’s do a little math to see how many words you would have to write each week in order to have your book done in one year.
The average book is 70,000 words and if you divide that by 50 (so you can take a little time off) that is only 1,400 words per week. Which is not a lot. But life happens and you need to leave time for editing.
Goals For Month 1
Tasks for Week 1 of month one.
- Block time out in your calendar.
- Write your outline.
- Set your word goals.
- Write first 1,400 words
Week 3 – have 2,800 words written.
Week 4 – have 4,200 written.
Goals For Month 2
Week 1 – Have 5,600 words written.
Week 2 – Have 8,000 words written and so on.
See how much you break it down? This is a very simple task breakdown example. But if you have a bigger project then you should be just as detailed if not more.
If it is as simple as researching and choosing a color you need to write that down in your task list.
How To Choose Dates For Your Time Blocks And Project Tasks
There are a few ways you can choose the due date or completion date for a project.
First, you can decide you want something done by a certain time. Then assign each supporting task a completion date in between the time from where you are and the desired completion date.
The only thing with that is this method does not leave you flexible. This next step is what I prefer. BUT if you are a procrastinator this might not be the best idea for you.
I like to look at each task and give them the appropriate amount of time in my calendar. Then based on that. Then have an estimated idea of when the project will get done.
Some things to consider before choosing your project deadlines.
- Time of year and how busy the season is.
- Any smaller things going on in your calendar. IE birthdays etc.
- Homelife. Vacations…
What Does Time Blocking Look Like?
Here are some quick “rules” of time blocking.
- Once your block of time is up, that’s it, close up shop and move on to the next task. That is how you are able to get through a large number of tasks because you have no choice but to stop and move on to the next thing.
- Focus hard on the one thing you set to get done in that section of time. No checking email while writing a blog post.
Time Blocking Example
Here is an example of what a week might look like when you used time blocking for each of the tasks that you do for your business each day of the week.
There are small gaps of time in between each task because sometimes things take longer than I planned.
When using Google calendar or some other digital calendar you can go down to as small is just a few minutes. So until you get the hang of it put every little thing in your calendar. Even things like sweeping the floor, taking the dog for a walk, or unloading the dishwasher.
Even though they don’t take a lot of time they still add up.
My favorite planner for managing my time and using the time blocking system.
A paper planner won’t work if you don’t have the hours marked in each day. You can try but that makes it very difficult. My favorite planner is the Living Well Planner You can find it here.
It has the hours marked each day from 6 AM to 10 PM which is a wonderful spread. I have not found any planner at a store that has that big of an hour spread. There is so much I love about this planner so you can read all about it in this post here.
Time Blocking Helps You To Always Be Ready
You have to be ready to jump into work when you reach that block of time in your day. If you don’t have a plan of attack you won’t get nearly as much accomplished. You need to be in execution mode when it is time to work so you can jump in without thinking.
You need to make a list of the things that you are going to do when you are in that block of time. A set process for every task. Whether it is social media post scheduling, blog post writing, or spending time cleaning up your house. You need systems to guide you through the process.
Related Post: How to manage your time with a purposeful to-do list.
ime Blocking Work For Everyone
You bet it does! Whether you are a busy mama running a business and wrangling kids, running a home, or you just have a lot going on. Time blocking can be useful for anyone.
It might seem silly or darn near impossible if you have kids who are constantly depending on you for things. But I want you to keep reading because these tips how you can manage your time with time blocking in a way that will work for you too.
Give Buffer Time
Unless you have something that keeps you from doing your tasks in the time given, aka children or you are on call for your day job. Mark specific times in your day for each block of time.
Because what doesn’t get scheduled, doesn’t get done. And if you don’t set a time for it you might decide to skip something and that will get you nowhere.
If you are someone who has an unpredictable schedule. Give yourself 30 minutes of buffer time on each end of the blocks of time you think the task will actually take you. Meaning if you think something will take you two
The reason you still need to mark the time in your day planner is once the day gets started time can easily get away from you and before you know it. Its time for dinner and nothing has been done.
So if something gets you off track. Look at where you are in your day and pick up where you left off. Don’t start at the current time you are in.
Set a timer if you need to while doing the designated task at hand that way you can keep your mind on track.
One Task For Each Block Of Time
When you block out time to do a task for your home or business only do that ONE thing. If you set aside 30-60 min (longer if possible) for blog post writing while your child is napping. Only write blog posts.
Don’t play something to listen to or clean up the room while you are plotting your points. Remember, no multitasking… You will get much further along if you do that one thing and don’t multitask.
How to Start Time Blocking
Using this image below as a time blocking template and all of the tips you have already gone through. Write out a list of the things you do every single week whether it is your morning routine or certain tasks for work.
Take that list and plot out blogs of time for everything you HAVE TO DO each week before you start adding in the tasks that are for your projects.
If you like to color code you could create seperate calendars for your home, business, kid’s events and so on.
PRO TIP: Create one shared calendar for you and your spouse to put things on that each one needs to know about that way they since up BUT you don’t see everything from your spouse’s calendar.
You Are Not Stuck, Everything Is Editable
I would be crazy to let you think that because you use time blocking in your schedule that your plan will go the same way all of the time. We have appointments that come up, life happens, and plans get derailed, that’s ok. It’s the plans we set that help us be able to reschedule and adjust to work with the new issue that came up.
Find time to set your plan for each week so you can mark down those appointments and pop-up tasks. If you have a doctor’s appointment then cut your time a little sort if you need to but don’t let the whole day go to waste if possible. Put things in the morning or towards the end of the day.
It takes time to work out a good plan for your days that also feels right. Try time blocking for at least two weeks before you dismiss it. Getting into new habits takes time. Keep testing to see what works and don’t give up.
How to start a blog online. (has the category explanation in the post.)