HOW TO: TIME BLOCK EFFECTIVELY FOR PRODUCTIVITY
Written by: Khloe George
Time is one thing we get only a limited amount. Think about that statement. Really dive deep into the meaning of having limited time.
Think about how we can't make time up. We can't add more than 24 hours to a day and we can't borrow it from another day. We have to make the most with what we are given. Even though this statement is scary, one thing we must remember is that we own the time we have; time does not own us. We decide what to do with said time - even when we have obligations. We can either make time for the important thing or we can waste it. We have that choice. That is where our control of time comes into play.
Time for Me
I was sent an amazing video on time blocking and how it could boost your productivity - and man, let me tell you, it works! Works a little too good, in my opinion. But I went on this journey of time blocking and found that it really was helpful for me. This image below shows a snippet of what my calendar for the week I started looks like. It's so pretty, isn't it?? I digress. ...
For those of you that don't know, time blocking is a way to get more of your time and make better use of it. Essentially what you'r doing is blocking time on your calendar and dedicating the time to the things you need to get done.
I started off the calendar pretty simple. I created the important meat and potatoes, or the foundation, if you will, of every calendar that I wanted to add to it. For ex, I wanted the things I do every single day (or wanted to) to be under it's own calendar, which I named Routines, another one for Workouts, Get Stuff Done for my to do list items, Editorial for anything having to do with my business, Work (because I do work a 9-5) and lastly, one with my name on it that means I can schedule anything here that's super personal like a trip to the nail salon.
I picked colors I would love to look at daily and as the week went by, I committed those colors to memory. i was visually able to see what I had planned for my business, what workouts I had scheduled and the amount of work I was doing.
How It Worked For Me
I have done calendars in the past and I have NEVER kept up with them. After a few days, i would call it quits. I just couldn't follow it but watching the video, I realized what I was doing wrong. I also used all of my time wisely. I started to see how much time for other things that I hadn't even scheduled just started to magically appear. Where in the world was this time before? It was always there because time is a constant 24 hours - I just made better use of it. I was conscious of every minute, of every task and of every thing on my calendar - and i did those things freeing up time for the things I could never get around to doing.
It was MIND BLOWING!! And I suddenly became addicted to adding things to my calendar. What's more - if I finished my task earlier than what I had guessed it would take me, I then did something I've been meaning to do and limited myself to only that extra time. For ex:I finished vacuuming in 40 minutes but arranged an hour for this task so I called a friend of mine to check in and kept the conversation to 20 minutes so I could move on to the next scheduled task effortlessly.
I had so much fun with this - learning and finagling the calendar so I put together some tips below to help you so you don't do what I used to do.
Tips on How to Effectively Manage Your Time
Create the meat and potatoes of your calendar by creating different calendars. i would suggest you use different colors so you can have a visual of what you're doing.
Every week, write a to do list of everything you have to do that week. Every single thing.
Look at your list and look at everything again and decide two things:
What's time sensitive and HAS to get done or it will have consequences. You will schedule these FIRST.
What is important but not time sensitive.This will get scheduled after.
Before you actually get your top items scheduled - make a guesstimate of how long you think the task will take you. Can you do it while on our commute, or if you'e working a full time job - can this be done on one of your breaks? The only way to truly find that out is to guess how much time something will take. That way you can schedule the time on your calendar. Write the amount of time next to the item on your to do list.
Before you start inputting your to - do lists, really look to your calendar and start blocking out the time for the non-negotiable things on them, ie. for me is working from 8:30-5:30 pm but that could look different for you. My commute to work is not very flexible so that has to go on it. These are the things that have a hard time stamp on my day so in my case, i would really have to make my other time outside of these big chunks to really get stuff done.
After your non-negotiable items go on your calendar, now you will schedule your daily routines. Your morning routine (which you should have...and if you don't - read about why you should here) and your night routine - which really sets your next day up. My day starts at 5:30 am from Monday to Friday but again, you have to decide how your morning will look like based on what you want to accomplish before your day actually starts. I like to workout in the morning and work on my morning pages and sneak in a little reading but again - your priorities may look different.
Once you've added your routines (the things you do every single day), now it's time to really hone in on the rest of your tasks; the things you want to do that are important to you that are part of your goals but aren't necessarily time sensitive. I like to do the rule of three - as in my top three goals for the day. These change for me every single day but the ideas don't. Again, make note of how much time each goal will take so you know where to place them.
Goal 1: Do something that will further my business (i.e. research ideas for a new blog post, apply for a license, send out an email blast, etc.)
Goal 2: do something that will further my knowledge (i.e. read a book on my craft, stud a new language)
Goal 3: do something that's for pure enjoyment (i.e. play video games, watch TV, go to Zumba class, etc.)
Lastly, start inputting these things on your calendar. As mentioned by Amy in that amazing video, is that whatever you put on a calendar - whatever you MAKE THE TIME for - will get done. If it's important, it goes on the calendar, even if it's a coffee date with a friend. It needs to be scheduled.
It's ok to move things on to the next day or get it deleted all together but think about those things and why they keep getting pushed. Think about their importance and how they are affecting your time.
Here's Amy Landino's video on Time Blocking/Calendar Blocking