I’ve been living in Crazytown:

I just lived through the craziest of the crazy months. I was living in Crazytown. { If you look on a map, it’s a bit north of Losing It and right off the highway after you pass the town of What Were You Thinking? }

Each week was filled with teaching workshops and connections calls and projects for clients – and things kept shifting and moving around that I wished I hadn’t written everything in my calendar in blue ink. There was so much scribbling and lines drawn through things it looked like a toddler’s art project that you’d put on your fridge.

By the end of the second week of this craziness, I reworked my whole schedule. And I took that whole thing back to the basics of block scheduling, except I added my own productivity twist to it.

A block schedule means that you create several smaller to-do lists each day instead of one really long list of things that you want to get done. And then you work through each of those smaller to-do lists during different “blocks” of time throughout the day.

Not only does this help you stay focus on the task at hand, the process allows you to be realistic about the amount of work that you can really get done that day. When you fill up your blocks of time, that’s all you can get done that day.

 

But what about getting my work done?

Honest to goodness — I was really getting stuff done!

I’m sure that you’ve heard about Time Blocking before but I’ll let you in on the big secret to make this block schedule thing work.

 

Instead of working out my weekly schedule with specific tasks, I set up my daily calendar based on blocks of categories.

Then I added in the action items that fit into the categories.

 

Here’s the breakdown of the categories that I’m using:

Project – includes creating sales/landing pages, writing content like workbooks and email opt-ins, working on my sales funnel and creating the presentations for my monthly workshops.

Networking – includes engaging in FB groups, using LinkedIn, managing my FB groups, attending/speaking at local events and attending/teaching local workshops.

Learning – includes research/writing blog posts, working through workbooks/ebooks/programs I’ve purchased and attending other people’s workshops.

Clients – Connection Calls on Zoom or in person with local clients, working with clients/coaching sessions and answering emails.

 

AND the most important category is something I call Buffer Time – I include at least three blocks of Buffer Time where I can finish a project, complete that detailed email response to a client or get that presentation done for my next workshop.

Each day is broken up with these blocks of time for these categories. And within that category block of time, THAT’S where I list out the action items I’ll do for the day.

Now I’m focusing on categories instead of tasks. It sounds so simple but it really works!

If you want to see how this works, spend some time thinking about your work in categories like the ones I shared. Stop thinking about your daily action items, but think about how you can create blocks of time every day for your different categories.

 

how to get started with time blocking

 

How to get started

If you want to develop your own Time Blocking calendar with categories, think through these productivity tips to help you pull together your weekly blocks of time:

 

Pay Attention to Your Energy Levels

Before you start adding in your category time slots into each day of your weekly time blocks, think about your energy levels you experience during the day.

Are there times of the day when you can just work straight through for hours? And at other times, it’s a struggle to get you to sit still at your laptop?

My best time to work is from 10am – 3pm. I’m a mid-day kinda girl so I plan my meetings, the times I work on my big projects during that mid-day time space because I know I’ll be in my high energy zone and I can get my best work done.

Think about your own cycles throughout the day – are you a morning person who drops down several levels after lunchtime? Or are your creative juices flowing at night after your kids go to bed?

Look at the times of the day when you know that you’re working at your high energy levels and plan your time blocks with your projects, client work or meeting during those times. Use your low energy time to time block your easy tasks like responding to emails and posting on social media.

 

Tracking Your Time

I started to really track my time last year. I wanted to see how long the action steps I was doing with my social updates were taking – and not what I thought it was taking.

I thought I could knock out a batch of images for Instagram in about 30 minutes. But when I tracked my work, it took twice as much time. The whole process took me a little over an hour!

And now that I know this information, I can block off the right amount of time in my schedule and see what I can do to streamline my steps and be more efficient with my time.

 

Prioritize Your Day

Your priority system should not be a process to work through a to-do list until you’re done. With time blocking your categories, you’re going to start doing things differently.

And you need to accept the fact that not every day you’re going to be able to follow your time blocking schedule to the absolute letter.

I prioritize my day like this: First thing in the morning, I look at my calendar to see what absolutely needs to get done that day.

Then – here’s where it gets different – I see how much time I have to get my work done.

I review my planner and ask myself, “Do I have client calls, am I teaching a workshop or taking care of something with my son that day? What’s going on today that will take my focus off the work on my desk?”

And that’s how I prioritize my day. I base the order I work through my time blocking categories based on how much time I have to work uninterrupted at my desk. Then I run down my to-do list of stuff and find pockets of time to fit those tasks into my day.

Since I’ve been tracking my time, I know how much each of these action steps will take me so I know when to work on what project when I have enough time to get it done.

 

Decide When You’re Done

Know when it’s time to be done for the day. Accept that you only have 24 hours in your day and that you can’t do everything you need to do that you think needs to be done.

Tell yourself when you’ll stop and stick to your time limits.

Make a choice about when you’ll be done on the weekends with your cleaning and laundry so you can spend more time with your family and friends. Decide you’re done at a certain time every night to be with your partner or to walk your dog.

Choose when you’ll be done for the day to shut off social media at night to have some time to yourself to read that book sitting on your night stand or get more sleep.

Take a deep breath, hit the pause button and call yourself done for the day.

 

 

Ready to do things differently to grow your small business?

If you’re tired of aimlessly posting wherever and everywhere and getting nowhere, it’s time to subscribe to the Create Your Business program!

It’s time to stop focusing on the short term fixes and growing your business from customer to customer rather than working on the bigger picture to develop an overall marketing strategy to give you a path to see real results.

Subscribe to the Create Your Business box and you’ll go from feeling overwhelmed and unproductive to having a business you want to share with everyone. You’ll gain your time back to grow your business, be with your family and make more money doing the work that you love.