- Your to-do list is always a mile long
- You frequently find yourself wondering where your day went
- You keep pushing back the same tasks or goals
- You have tried a million time management apps or methods and nothing seems to work
If you answered yes to even one of these questions, this post is definitely for you!
In this blog I’ll be sharing how you can finally start crossing things off of your to-do list once and for all and begin accomplishing those big goals you set for yourself and your business.
Time Blocking Strategies That Actually Work
What is time blocking?
Time blocking is one of the most highly used and highly effective time management techniques.
Simply put, time blocking is a time management method of dividing your time into blocks (usually between 30min-2hrs). Each block is dedicated to accomplishing a specific task or group of tasks.
Each time block should be treated as though it is an important meeting. Meaning zero distractions and zero excuses for not attending. Just like you wouldn’t be checking your email, your social media notifications, or taking a phone call during an important meeting, you shouldn’t be allowing those distractions in while you’re working within your time block, either. You also wouldn’t cancel that meeting unless it was absolutely necessary. By treating your time blocks the same way you would important meetings, you’re more likely to accomplish what you set out to do during that block.
It’s easy to think we can manage our clients, customers, family, friends, emails, tasks, projects, and everything else we have to deal with on a daily basis and still find time to do the things that need to be done, but more often than not we can’t manage those things effectively without a really good plan of action and often find ourselves feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed in inaction.
Time blocking can help minimize those feelings and put you in control of your time and, ultimately, your life.
Time Blocking Strategies That Actually Work
If you’ve tried time blocking before and think that it doesn’t or can’t work for you, keep reading. If you’re new to time blocking, start with these strategies and you’ll never look back!
A few things to keep in mind before you get started:
- Think about how long it will take to accomplish. If it’s more than 2 hours I recommend scheduling multiple blocks spread out through the day or week to give yourself time to walk away and come back to it with fresh eyes.
- Add these blocks to your digital calendar — don’t just write them down.
- Remember to treat them like important meetings.
Start with your top priorities
What are the things that absolutely must get done? Whether it’s a single item on your to-do list or something that needs to be completed regularly, schedule your top priorities first.
For example, I know that reviewing my business finances weekly is a top priority for me and I like to do this every Monday morning. I schedule 1-hour on my calendar every Monday morning to review my Quickbooks account and take care of any payables or receivables.
I also know that making enough time for my morning routine is a top priority so I schedule time for it from 8-9am every single day.
Add blocks for reactive tasks
Emails still need to be checked and responded to, meetings still need to be had, and things are inevitably going to pop up that need to be taken care of somewhat immediately. The difference is that by creating a time block for it, you know that it is going to get done so you don’t have to stop what you’re doing to address it.
I recommend scheduling 2-3 30-minute to 1-hour blocks throughout the day for reactive tasks. Try to schedule things like meetings and phone calls during these blocks whenever possible and when something pops up during the day that you need to address same-day, know that it can wait until that scheduled block.
Now that you’ve scheduled your priorities and time for reactive tasks, it’s time to schedule intentional work. Intentional work is time that should be used for doing things like completing projects or creating content — things that generally pertain to your “actual job” — the thing you’re being paid to do. This is usually at least 2 blocks per day and is generally 1-2 hours or more.
Add in your to-do list items
Now that you’ve scheduled your priorities, your reactive tasks, and made time to be intentional about getting work done — is there anything else on your to-do list that you need to conquer? If so, fill in the time gaps in your calendar with these items. Most of the time you’ll find that your to-do list items fit within one of the other categories, but if it doesn’t there should still be some time in your day or week to make sure everything gets done.
How to uplevel your Time Blocking with pav*r
If you’re a Google Calendar user you can take your Time Blocking to the next level by using pav*r. Our Google Calendar add-on will analyze your calendar entries and provide detailed reports of exactly how you spent your time.
With pav*r, you can add tags (called categories & labels) to your calendar events and export your calendar data to see detailed reports about your time usage. This is helpful when trying to understand how you’re using your time and make adjustments based on your goals.
You might find that you spend too much time in meetings and need more intentional work time. Or you might realize that you’re over scope on a project and need to bill additional hours. Pav*r is totally flexible to the needs of your business and you have full control of how you want to analyze your calendar.
How to be successful with Time Blocking
Like any skill, it will take some time to master your time blocking technique and the biggest key to success is consistency.
Make time every single day to review your time blocks. What worked for you yesterday or last week might not work for you today. You might will have a day where everything is completely thrown off track. And that’s okay. The important thing is that you remain consistent.
If you find that you need more or less time for your blocks, adjust them. If you find that something isn’t actually worth your time, stop doing it or delegate it to someone else on your team. If you have to throw the whole thing out and start over, do it. There is no perfect or right way, there is only the way that works for you. By using the strategies outlined in this post, however, you’ll have all of the tools you need to create a strategy that works for you.