Time block can be an effective business practice that helps obtain that work/life balance we are all searching for.
Recently on my Facebook page I talked about the benefits of time blocking. This is the system of setting up a calendar where certain periods of time are ‘blocked’ so that for those particular periods you are doing nothing but what you have scheduled in. This allows you to organise your time better, schedule in some ‘me time’ and provide a clearer picture of available time in which you can take on new clients or spend more time on producing products. The spare hours could also be used to catch up work that is due or start something new.
Why time block?
The thought that provoked this post was that over the weekend I set up 1 hour blocks to complete some studying, watch a seminar, get social media planning done and get housework done as my to do list was overflowing. By 9am Monday morning I was caught up on everything and feeling positive about starting the week. By continuing this throughout the week I have got ahead with studying and my seminars, caught up on all the housework and still had time for myself to enjoy a good book without letting my clients down. Usually weekends involved a little work and lots of sofa surfing but this particular weekend I found myself energized and full of motivation to get things done, which in turn helped me focus better and stick to the time block schedule.
Do you ever find yourself waking up one morning with more energy and determination than other mornings? Then you need to sit down to time block your day and get the ball rolling! This focus plan can help keep the ball moving through the following days and with a schedule in place showing your down time you can give yourself something to look forward to. Book in a massage, or organise a get together with your mates at the pub, knowing that nothing will intrude on that time as its been scheduled in just for you. If you have clients getting in touch you know exactly what time you have available to offer them without taking on too much leading to stress and loss of passion for your business.
What if something unexpected happens?
Sometimes unexpected events happen that can throw off your time blocks – i.e a child is off sick when you are scheduled to attend meetings or a system malfunction. A positive is you can re-arrange your time blocks or use your spare time blocks to catch up without affecting the rest of your week.
How do you get started?
Simple… Write down all the tasks you do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis both for business and personal – make sure to go through your emails for this as well, sometimes it can help you remember tasks forgotten. Then using a spreadsheet note them all down with approximate time length for each task. Once you know this you can determine when you are most productive (find out why this is important in my other blog post , and work out the most effective time for certain blocks. If you have clients who require work done on a certain day/time, then you can use this information to schedule a block of time that works well for this deadline. You can fiddle with the timeline until you find a perfect balance of work and life.
Add a little colour, highlight high priority sections then print and stick it above your workspace, the fridge or somewhere you can see it daily. Now you have a plan and it’s in writing, in a place you will see therefore there is no reason to forget it. Family members can also see it so they know what you are doing and when, which can make planning family time a little easier too.
Still too much to do and not enough time?
Then maybe it is time to consider outsourcing those tasks that are taking up too much time. Those tasks that you dread having to do, and start slimming down your time blocks till your time equals your to do list.