Time management can sound super boring and even constricting, which is why so many people avoid it and suffer from distraction-itis instead. But I can promise you that, done correctly, the method of time blocking I’m going to share with you in this blog can give you so much more freedom and flexibility!
When you time block, mode switch, task batch, and use the Pomodoro method as outlined in this article — NOTHING is set in stone and things can always be moved around and adjusted. Just a glance at your calendar will tell you where there’s space to move your responsibilities.
Let’s say you have a day of admin work on your calendar, and you wake up feeling really creative. If your time is blocked, batched, and categorized in a ‘mode switching’ fashion — more about that shortly — you could swap two days of your week around to take advantage of your inspiration. Super simple!
In this blog, you’ll get an overview of time blocking, and then I’ll expand on some of the techniques you can use within this method to make the most of your time.
Pro Tip: If you want to supercharge your time management, don’t forget to check out my time and task audit blog, where I talk about how to whittle down your to-do list and find out where your time is going.
Two words: Time. Blocking.
Time blocking is THE most helpful method you can use to plan your time. With it, you’ll literally block out time on your calendar for every responsibility, task, appointment, break, and travel time you need to plan for. I recommend using Google Calendar to block your time, as it makes moving tasks around really easy.
To get started, at the end of the week, sort your tasks for the upcoming week into different modes of work, batch them, and schedule them in your calendar. It’s essential to pepper your tasks throughout the week and not just take them on as they come. Then, at the end of each day, tighten up your plan for the next day.
Some things to add to your calendar are:
Avoid stacking things back to back with no breaks for lunch and no space for yourself. I also like to color code so I can easily see how much time I’m blocking out for myself.
I teach my clients to mode switch in their businesses in three main ways.
The first is the CEO/worker bee method. In CEO mode, we’re thinking ahead, we’re anticipating things, and we’re planning. In worker bee mode, we’re just working and getting things done. You can divide your tasks into these two modes to optimize your time blocking.
The second way I show my clients how to mode switch is by using an A Week / B Week model. I personally use this strategy by having an ‘A’ week where I am ALL calls. And in my ‘B’ week I focus just on my existing clients.
And lastly, day theming is when you schedule similar tasks on the same day. So, you may have content creation time on Monday, calls on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, admin work on Thursdays, etc.
I recommend sticking with one of these options for at least a month before you change anything drastically again.
Did you know that every time you get distracted, it takes an average of 15 minutes to regain complete focus on the task at hand? Batching helps you save time and brain power by grouping a bunch of similar tasks to complete in the same time period with no interruptions. You could use batching for content writing time, admin tasks, bookkeeping, and invoicing, or any other like tasks.
Pro Tip: If you have a team, it’s crucial to let them know when you need uninterrupted time. Remember, protect your time and set those boundaries – even with your team!
Using the Pomodoro technique, you can break a large task down into short, timed intervals spaced out by short breaks. It’s amazing how just knowing there’s a ticking timer for your task – and a break coming soon – will help you power through distractions and get things done in short bursts of focus.
To use Pomodoro, you’re going to:
There are TONS of different Pomodoro timers and apps out there. You can do a quick Google search to find them. I use an app on my phone called ‘Focus Keeper’, which I keep right on my home screen for easy access.
Now, there’s this little thing called Parkinson’s Law which says that work will expand to fill the time available for its completion. If you give yourself no time limits, completing a task might take all day. Yet if you set some boundaries and give yourself an hour to do something, chances are pretty high that you can get that task done within the hour.
Because time blocking requires you to think and be intentional about your time and spending it, you’re more likely to stick to what you want to get done, AND you’re more likely to protect the time you block out for creativity, rest, and recreation.
If your time feels like too much to manage, maybe it’s time to bring in some pro support. As an OBM, I help my clients maximize their impact by optimizing their time, productivity, and business systems. Together, we can tackle every hot mess in your business so you can scale with freedom and ease. Just click here to contact me and set up a free consultation where we can talk about my service options and get all of your questions answered.
February 14, 2023