Why Time Blocking is Your New Best Friend Right Now!
Are you working from home? Kids also at home? Is it slightly chaotic?
For those of us that already work from home, it was probably due to a lifestyle choice, so we have adapted and learned how to make it work. COVID19 has meant that a number of people have recently become home workers, my partner included. For us, it has been a big adjustment, particularly with recent home-schooling needs chucked into the mix.
This blog article is about how time-blocking is your new best friend right now, and not just for your work routine, but for other areas of your life.
What is time-blocking?
Time-blocking is something that I have introduced with many of my clients and it has worked wonders for their productivity. It's essentially a time management technique. Initially I used it to schedule and plan client work for the week but now I use it for all aspects of my business and some areas of my personal time. It’s a simple process that when implemented and carried out, can increase your productivity, make you feel less stressed, provide focus and help with the daily to-do list.
It’s basically where you block out time at the beginning of the week in your diary for tasks. This could be one-off tasks or weekly/monthly activities such as social media interaction, blog writing, invoicing, etc. The time is scheduled in advance and is “protected” so you know that you can’t book any calls, go networking or begin other tasks. The main thing about time blocking is you DON’T multi-task! Bit controversial, I know, but that’s how it works. If I have allocated 1 hour to designing some social media graphics for a client, that’s my sole focus for that whole hour. Block out emails, Facebook, etc and FOCUS on that one task.
Be warned this is hard to do at first, but you will get used to it. I used to put my phone in another room!
It also requires you to be realistic about the time it takes to do a task. If a task cannot be completed within the time, then schedule when you are going to complete it straight away and as soon as possible so that you don’t lose the flow.
How to Time Block
Decide on which tool you are you going to use to block your time? Online calendar, journal or notebook?
Prioritize and planning tasks. What are the tasks that you need to accomplish that day? When you have identified those tasks, block the time out.
You maybe find it useful to block time in advance each month for tasks such as blogging.
If you don’t finish a task, book more time in straight away
Be realistic about the task time
Focus – turn off notifications on your laptop, phone, etc
It's not just for work tasks
If like me, you have children at home at the moment, then this method works particularly well and helps create some structure. My children are quiet in the morning so I know that I can get a couple of hours work done and I schedule some time for me while it’s still quiet. By planning what work I can do in those two hours, I can prioritise, focus and get things done.
Finally, this doesn’t just apply to work tasks. I think it’s really important at the moment to keep some time for yourself; try and schedule some time every day for you to do whatever you want. You don’t need to plan what you do, just make sure you have the time allocated because sometimes knowing that you have the time is calming in itself.