Time flies, and don’t I know it! Too much to do in a day and not enough time is a concept as old as, well, time. But it doesn’t have to be that way thanks to the wonderful practice known as time blocking. It’s a practice even I wish I was better at.
Sure, time flies, but as motivational speaker Michael Altschuler put it, “the good news is you’re the pilot.”
For those of you who haven’t heard about time blocking, it quite literally means organizing your day in blocks of time rather than having a to-do list. Time management expert Kevin Kruse, author of “15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management,” says it applies discipline and order to your tasks.
Successful entrepreneurs, Kruse found, never talk about to-do lists. They talk about their calendars and how they are organized. Time blocking allows maximum efficiency while allowing you to accomplish all your daily priorities.
Imagine how great it would feel if you no longer work by the clock. Instead, set aside blocks of times to accomplish the tasks you need to do that day. Once you finish the tasks, you’re done with your work. This doesn’t mean you won’t still be in a routine, and your blocks of time should be consistent from day to day.
Time blocking takes about 10 to 20 minutes and can be done at the end or beginning of your day. Experts suggest blocking time for your hardest tasks when you’re most productive. For most people, that will be at the start of the workday. Dedicate a minimum of one hour to your highest-priority task. Remember, time blocks aren’t as effective is they last more than a few hours.
Next, block out the rest of your day in shorter blocks by tasks. These blocks should go in order of priority since your energy level will probably go down as the day progresses. You’ll also feel better if you know the hard stuff is done as early as possible.
Finally, handle lowest priority items at the end of the day, when you’re tired and probably not feeling particularly productive or creative.
I try to categorize my day, when possible. It’s important for me to meet with new people over the phone, follow up with active clients, and keep up with the franchisors. Plus, I need to keep my ear to the ground about what’s happening in the industry.
For my clients that still work during the day, I try to maintain a couple days a week where I start my day later in the day and work into the evening hours. I try to block 2 1/2 days a week to work on administrative duties like preparing presentations and organizing client paperwork.
I also try to block off a few hours a week to network with other consultants, and to learn about at least one new brand a week. I try to keep a close eye on my schedule. I know if I have a lot of introduction calls, I’ll have a lot of administration work. So I’ll need to block off time later in the week to catch up.
It may take you a little while for you to get used to this new way of scheduling, but, in the end, you’ll be amazed at all you can accomplish.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on time blocking, and what your experience has been like. You know where to find me.