Time Blocking: What Is It and Why Do You Need It?
Part 5: Review and Revise
Welcome to the final step, Step 4, in our 5-part series on Time Blocking, Review and Revise.
If you've been implementing each step as we went along, congratulations! You've been living with your first time blocking template for a week. Now it's time to take a closer look at what worked for you and what didn't.
What did you notice?
Where did you find you didn't allow enough time for that task? Conversely, what took you longer than you anticipated?
Did you leave enough time, or a buffer, in between tasks?
Did you discover you'd forgotten to schedule any of the day-to-day tasks we all take for granted but that still take time to accomplish?
If you've followed along with each step, you'll likely have noticed several things, depending on how detailed you were able to get in each step.
You've limited or eliminated many distractors.
You're able to focus on individual tasks.
You've made progress in key areas.
You're getting more done. Hooray!
And - let's be realistic. You also found that you need to make some adjustments to some of those time blocks. Right? Too much allotted time results in wasted time. Set aside too little time, and it's a recipe for unnecessary stress.
I don't know of anyone who figured everything out perfectly the first time - or the second, or the third, for that matter. It really is a matter of continuing to review what's working and what isn't and then revising where needed.
Life is messy. We need to approach it with a sense of flexibility - and compassion. No two weeks - or days - are the same. So, back to the drawing board, but not completely! You now have a feel for what time blocking is all about and how it can benefit you. The more you use this system, the easier and more effective it will become for you.
Helpful Tips and Reminders
I've mentioned most of these tips in previous steps throughout this series, but I think these are especially worth repeating:
1. Work with your natural energy levels.
Knowing and working with your natural energy level is critical to success in any endeavor. Do the more challenging, deeper work when you are at your sharpest mentally. Do the simple, lighter tasks such as social media and email check-in after lunch or after you've completed your focused, deeper work.
2. Take breaks.
Scheduling time blocks back-to-back means you're working non-stop, which won't help you get more done. Taking little breaks throughout the day will result in your being more productive, not less. Get up and stretch, make some tea or lemon water, grab a healthy snack, take a bathroom break, or dance for 5-10 minutes. You get to choose.
3. Build in buffers.
Building in buffers between tasks allows:
for tasks that run beyond the allotted time,
for the unexpected, and
for mental recovery in between tasks.
4. Batch like tasks.
Grouping similar tasks together in the same time blocks is way more efficient than stopping and starting - it just makes sense.
5. Limit your availability.
If you have a calendar set up, which I highly recommend for any business, keep limited available hours. You don't want to be (or look like you are!) available 24/7. We can help more people more effectively when we set reasonable boundaries with our time and energy. So, set specific days and times to do those networking and coaching calls.
Make sure downtime, self-care, hobbies, family time, and FUN time are on the schedule.
7. Keep a day open.
We all need a day off. It's so easy to keep working, especially those of us working from home, but our bodies and minds need a break. We were given a day of rest each for a reason - we need it! Your current situation may not allow for a full day off but do schedule enough time off to fully recharge. You can't pour anything out of an empty container.
8. Use your timer. You can use any of several apps to stay on task, or you can simply use the timer on your phone, so you don't have to get distracted by wondering if you're staying within your allotted time block. This isn't complicated.
And If It Doesn't Work for You?
At the risk of repeating myself: Time blocking is only one of many time management tools, and it may not work for you. That's okay!
But I think it's worth a try because it is effective for many people, and many hugely successful people swear by it. I also find it far more helpful than other time management systems I've tried over the years.
The point is to find a way to manage your time better with whatever method works for you.
I hope you've found this series helpful. Please let me know if you've implemented it and found that extra bit of time we're all looking for!
See you next week,