Time Blocking Tips to Make You Laser Focused
I do my best to guard my time fiercely which may sound extreme, but it’s honestly one of the simplest and most effective tactics for anyone to live by (especially entrepreneurs). Why? Because the demands on our time are greater now than ever before. Especially for those of us who own a business. With information coming at us in each direction at a rate faster than we can digest it, responsibilities handed to us faster than the speed of light and trying to find as many ways as possible to get each daunting task into your day …! But there is a way to get more done of what you need and want with less distraction. In short … you have to schedule stuff. And no, not just meetings and appointments, but all the stuff that matters most to you and your business. You can do that by scheduling time blocks into your day.
But, before we dive into the actual “structure” of building your time blocks, here are a few tips to consider …
- Create lists: Truthfully, you should have many lists. I do this by having my business goals separated annually into monthly sections as well as linked to my project management app Asana. With those tools, I create my 90-day plan, my content plan for each month (also logged into an Excel spreadsheet by day then by month then by year), a plan for each week and a checklist on my desk in a notebook of my plans for each day of the week – usually scheduled by priority and by client (including time for my business).
- Set the right priorities: Ask yourself if each task, project and/or goal is really going to move your business forward or not. If not, it should be cut from your list.
- Block in planning time: It is equally important to set aside time to dream … tie to reflect on where you are and where you want to be. It’s like a pause before the start button. So, don’t forget to set aside some time for yourself for annual planning (usually just a day is needed), monthly planning (an hour or so each month) and weekly planning (an hour or so each week). Doing this will help keep you laser focused on your long-term goals.
- Be flexible: Life is just that … LIFE. Things will come up that you didn’t anticipate so be sure to not fill in all blocks of time to accommodate the unexpected.
- Track time spent: Over time, you will become much better at estimating how long something will take you by tracking your always tracking your time. A great app for this (my favourite one actually) would be Toggl.
- Schedule breaks: Taking scheduled breaks will make the work you do during focused time blocking much more effective.
- Include personal time: Blocking out the times you want to spend on yourself or with your loved ones is equally important. This will keep work from creeping into your personal time and prevent you from being a work-a-holic.
The number one key to time blocking success … use a timer.
Here are the steps I suggest for helping you stay super productive and laser focused …
Step 1: Determine the hours you have available to work with in the upcoming weeks (both business and personal).
Step 2: List absolutely everything you want to accomplish during each individual week. Consider this your priority and/or bucket list. This list should include projects, tasks, appointments, meetings and goals.
Step 3: On your calendar, block out your meetings and appointments – or anything that must happen at a specific time, so you know what time you have left to work with for task/project completion.
Step 4: Now that you know more of what kind of time you are working with because your meetings and appointments have been blocked out, it’s time to add in recurring tasks as well as other daily business routines (e.g. social media scheduling, content research, etc.). Once those have been set in place, now take a bit of time to add in tasks related to your personal life. This will help break down your time into sections of “business needs” and “life needs”.
Step 5: Take some time to fill in the rest of your time blocks with the tasks, projects and goals you want to accomplish.
I know this may seem like a lot of information for those of your who may feel as though you’re always running by the seat of your pants but in time, tips and tricks such as these will truly help you get laser focused and save you more time for doing other things that you love that have nothing to do with your business.
Remember, nothing kills productivity and focus faster than being distracted. So, kill those distractions! This means doing things like … keeping your phone notifications on silent during certain time blocks, not leaving tabs open on your computer (e.g. shopping, social media, newspaper, etc.), only checking social media during a scheduled time or break, not keeping constant tabs on your email throughout the day and trying your best to work in an environment with as few distractions as possible.
Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort. ~ Paul J. Meyer, Found of the Personal Development Industry
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