It's no surprise that time management is a hot topic right now. Most of us feel like we don't have enough hours in the day to get everything done, and it seems like there will never be enough hours to complete our daily to-do’s again.
But all this worry surrounding how little time there is available each day leads some people to spend more time on their tasks than they need — and for most people, this perpetual anxiety and overthinking means they do an average job, at best.
How can you manage your time better? One strategy to tackle time management systematically is with block timing! Block timing lets you give yourself chunks of focused work-time, so you can get through each task efficiently, without sacrificing the quality of your work or getting overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work left undone.
What is block timing, and how can it help me get more done in a day?
A question I am frequently asked by my clients is, "What can I do to be more productive?" And what might surprise you is that the answer isn't complicated. It's all about organization and setting your priorities straight. One of the most effective ways to make sure you are getting as much done in a day as possible is through the use of block timing.
This practical time management method involves setting specific amounts of time aside for individual tasks and then working on only those things during the allotted times. If you have ten things to do, set aside an hour apiece for them at certain points during your day. Blocking your time keeps you focused without any concern that a sudden call from a client or colleague might derail you from what you are working on now.
How to implement block timing into your workday:
Start with your email calendar or however you schedule your day. Block out times for every task that you need to get done that day! Whether these are tasks related to a client meeting, working on a proposal, or even checking your email and clearing your inbox — block all of these activities on your calendar, just like you would physical appointments. Basically, you are making an appointment with yourself — and be sure to keep the commitment to yourself.
Consider how much time in a day you have — compared to your list of things that need to get done. You want to make sure that you are not overloading yourself in one day’s time. Obviously, you are going to be busier during the week than on days off or weekends, but it's a good idea to measure your time in terms of what you need versus just how much is available. You may find that if you spread out certain tasks over two or three days, such as a lengthy presentation or research project — rather than jamming them into one day, the project doesn't seem quite as overwhelming.
I recommend laying out your tasks over a few different days, planning your to-do list before you actually start working on it. If you are consistently finding yourself having to carry over unfinished business from one day to the next, then your block times may need adjustment — meaning more time dedicated to each task, or simply lowering your daily quota to be doable. I will often work with clients to change their schedule if they feel that their current block time allocation isn’t working.
After a few days of planning and getting comfortable with timing your blocks of tasks, start using your system in your daily routine. It can be a challenge to plan our days ahead of time, if you’ve never worked on scheduling out tasks like this before, but nothing worth doing comes easily. Be consistent with the times that you block out for tasks, and stick to your time commitments.
The benefits of using this technique
The benefits of block timing are numerous. You will find that you are more productive, and your stress levels will quickly be reduced. Working in short increments of time throughout the day eliminates the feeling of overwhelm caused by long to-do lists or a sense that you have too much looming over your head.
Block timing isn’t something that I "taught" my clients — rather, I recommended that it may be something they could try to see if it helps them become more productive with their workday. Some of them were resistant initially, but after a few days of testing out the method, most of them found it very useful and then continued on using it for their daily tasks.
If you're not sure how you would feel about block timing, why not try it out for a day before deciding whether or not it's an effective technique for you?
One thing to keep in mind is to be sure to block time for you and your self care! None of us enjoy sitting at a desk for 8+ hours a day, so block planned time for your breaks — get up, walk around, go outside. You'll find this will have a positive impact on your mental health — and don't forget to eat! Schedule your calories to fuel your mind and your body.
Tips on implementing the technique successfully
It's very important to be realistic when implementing any new strategy. After all, the whole point of block timing is to eliminate overwhelm of the giant “to-do list” anyway.
If you have never worked with block timing type of scheduling before, it may take a while to get accustomed to this type of planning. Plan the next 2-3 days of tasks, and lay them out in order of priority and amount of time allotted for the job. A good place to start is by deciding on a few small projects to implement the technique and then working your way up to completing larger tasks over several days.
I have found that this technique is a very valuable way for my clients to stay organized, reduce stress, and become more productive. If you are in the habit of not scheduling out your time or feel as though you don't have enough hours in the day to accomplish all of your daily tasks, then I encourage you to give block timing a try.
On the other hand, if you're looking for another tool to help you on your journey towards success and fulfillment, block timing may be just the thing you've been waiting on. Remember becoming a high performer is a journey that has no destination. It's about taking one step forward every day in your life and your career!
Block timing is just one of the many things you can do to improve your productivity, manage your time more effectively and increase your overall job satisfaction. Be sure to visit my blog and let me know how block timing is working for you! www.sidmeadows.com/blog