Time blocking is my go-to strategy for making sure I’m productive. Running a business from home is great but it is incredibly easy to get distracted with cleaning, the kids, the husband, cooking, and if you are like me…reality tv. (Yes, I know…as a 35 year old mom of two my go-to fun and relaxing activity probably shouldn’t be reality tv…but hey…it is.)
I can’t remember a day in recent years where my to-do list was aligned with the amount of hours I had available to work on it. Also, I’m a mom…so my to-do list is always in flux. New emergencies, shifting attitudes, consistently changing tastes, and a whole range of other variables require me to get pretty streamlined with my time.
There are two things I must do if I have a chance in hell of having a productive day…I have to plan for the unplannable and I have to make sure the unplannable doesn’t take away from my self-care time.
How do I do it? Time blocking. It’s my holy grail of productivity.
I believe that learning to time block is a useful skill for students, parents and anyone else who needs help with boosting their productivity. Time blocking works because it allows people to focus on one task at a time. When we focus on one thing at a time we naturally limit distractions and minimize procrastination and stress.
Here are the strategies I use (and hope you’ll use) to effectively time block…
#1. List high priority tasks and projects. I find the best way to do this is to have a brain dump session where you write down each and every thing you can think of that you need to do or have been putting off. You don’t want to self-edit or assign priority while you brain dump.
Once you have your complete list of to-dos, it’s now time to rank or prioritize them. From this list you will decide which tasks need to be completed first and it helps to prioritize by deadline. For example, if you have an important presentation in a week but no idea what’s for dinner, prioritize meal planing & prep ahead of doing the slides for your presentation.
#2 Block out time for each task. The first step here is to break down the highest priority tasks from above into chunks that can be completed in smaller time increments. For example, taking the presentation mentioned above, you would allot separate time blocks for research, creating the keynote, and practicing delivering the presentation.
You’ll want to be sure and set a goal to finish the task within the time allotted. It helps a ton if you decide on start and end times and make an agreement with yourself to stay on schedule.
Important Tip: For the tasks that require loads of creativity or concentration, block time by yourself to complete them (time where kids and family do not have easy access to you.)
#3 Schedule breaks. Regular breaks are essential to boosting your productivity, concentration, and overall happiness. I suggest you schedule regular breaks in between each task block. For example, focus intensely for 90 minutes on a specific task, take a 15 to 25 minute break and work for another 90 minutes.
Do you have any productivity tips that work for you? I’d love to hear them.
Lots of love,