The Time Blocking Method
time management continues to be an ongoing theme in the journey toward your work from home life balance. I want to talk about the time blocking method with you now so that you can start to see how it can help you to go after the life you want, make time for everything that you want to do and get everything done first. I'm going to share some time blocking pro tips with you so that you can think about what you need to know before you dive into the strategy and then we're gonna go over to the computer and use google calendar for a digital calendar approach to time blocking your life before we dive into the tutorial. The first pro tip you need to know is to schedule everything, not just appointments, not just moments that other people are holding you accountable but everything even tasks or reminders. This is truly the only way to shift your mind away from being a task list oriented person and really start to understand what it means to get something done by how much time you can actually...
give it things we need to do take time putting them on a calendar. Actually looking at what that time looks like is the only way to make progress on finding more time. And this is why my second pro tip is to use a digital calendar. It is absolutely possible for you to use an analog calendar. Maybe it's a desk calendar of yours or a planner for time blocking. But I find that so many things tend to change. We use a lot of color coding and different programming options that are available in a digital format that you just don't get that flexibility of when you have it on paper. So I recommend google calendar. You can use any digital calendar that's useful for you if you do like the analog approach completely up to you. But I think the digital one is gonna be more conducive for the person that has a lot of moving parts in their work and life and would like to be able to move things around accordingly. My next pro tip is to take every appointment seriously. Not just the ones you have with others, but those you have for just you when we take a task and we assign it to a place and time and day on your calendar, it needs to get done. You're now taking it seriously on another level. Just as much as if you promise somebody you were going to show up for coffee with them, make good on the promises you make yourself in addition to the ones you make to others and stick with it. My next part tip is after you've gotten acquainted with time blocking a little bit more and you're getting into a flow and you're trying to make it more efficient. My advice is to batch like tasks together. This is time matching. It goes very much hand in hand with time blocking. You might do something similar in your own life already, when you're running errands, you do a bunch of errands at one time because you're already getting into the car to drive somewhere and those places might be kind of close to each other so you knock them all out at once. It saves you time to not have to get back in the car and get ready every single time you do those things, the same goes for different types of tasks in your work or in your passion. If I'm going to make a video today, I think, oh well I should probably plan to make a second one, make the most out of the fact that the, the camera guys here and the lights are on and the makeup is good and let's go and get it done. I might also batch record some podcasts. I will batch coach my clients, I will batch phone calls and meetings as much as you can batch. So you can stay in the mode that you're in. You're gonna be able to improve your focus in your ability to do deep work really well. And my final pro tip to stay on task is to use timers to your advantage. So one of my favorite strategies for this is the tomato timer. There's so many apps for this. You can also actually by like a real tomato timer if you like, but it goes off of the Pomodoro technique, which is the idea that you do sprints of work and then take short breaks until you get to a certain amount of sprints of work before you take a longer break. So it's about 25 minutes of work and a five minute break until you get through about four batches before you take About a 25 minute or longer break. By forcing yourself to stay focused and watching this timer set count you down that you've only got this amount of time to stay focused on the task, you'll get a lot more done in that space of time. Those are my pro tips now I want to show you how to use them with the time blocking method. We're going to head over to the computer and I'm gonna walk you through an example life of how you might use your calendar blocking and time matching strategy with google calendar. So we're going to start with a blank calendar. This may not be realistic for you. You may already have a few things plotted on your calendar. That's okay. We just want to give you a blank slate here so that you can get an idea of just how much time you actually have. Remember one of our pro tips is to schedule everything. So let's start with what the anchor things in your life, appointments commitments are and for many of us and it's why we're talking about work life balance its work, right? So for the average person, let's say monday through friday, we have to work from 9 to 5 so we want to plot that on the calendar so we can see it and understand what we're working around. So you'll also notice as I schedule these that I'm using different calendars in google calendar. I feel like that's one of the advantages to using a digital calendar. So for this one I'm typing work, but I'm also using the work calendar that way, everything that is here is a part of this type of work or this type of appointment, anything that is work related. So we're going to say that we get done at 5:00 and yeah, it repeats every weekday. So we already see that first thing on the calendar. Okay. Clearly we know that this chunk of time is always taken up. Maybe it's not as cut and dry for some of us. Maybe you don't clock in and clock out exactly at these times. You may choose to not necessarily schedule an entire block for work, but there may be blocks for things you have to do with in your work That you use the work calendar four. I'm going to do this for the purposes of the overarching assumption that most of us are committed from 9-5 for work and will kind of break down the nitty gritty with other options. For those other options. I'm going to use the priorities calendar. So if I'm looking on a friday afternoon or a sunday at what my monday is going to be like and I know that I have a business presentation I need to work on. I'm probably going to put that in my calendar first thing in the morning in the early hours of starting work. I'm going to be realistic and put it at 9 30 just in case there's some initial stuff I've got to check on, but we're going to put business presentation here so that it is immediately blocked on my calendar for monday morning. Got it on my priorities calendar. So it is staring me right in the face. If you would rather use your work calendar, you can do that. I kind of break things up depending on what the task is. Again, all the color coordination and all of the different ways to subscribe to calendars. Just help me be able to zero in on exactly what I need to do and allow anyone else to be able to see what I need to do as you have an assistant or a co worker or a family member that needs to see your work. So use these different calendars, different colors to your liking. After we finish up that presentation time, we may not get it all done during that block of time, but we're going to set aside that much of time to be able to execute and get it done. So no matter where we stand, we've got to take a break. I would classify this as a personal appointment and so we're going to use that calendar here and then maybe later in the afternoon. You know, you've got something on your calendar, something that other people are holding you accountable for and that you need to be present for. So as you can see, there's lots of different ways to calendar blocks. Some of them are as simple as making a normal appointment on your calendar. The biggest thing here is making sure you're making appointments for the things you have to get done because the meetings and the lunch appointments and the doctor's appointments and all the different things that outside people are holding us accountable for will take over your calendar in no time. If you don't set aside the time for your priorities. So we've got a pretty good idea of how much of monday is already going to be sucked up by what's happening here. You've got some other pockets of time where you might be able to fit in, some other things triaging with your team, checking emails, but with all of this time already allocated, there's only so much time to check email and that can help you to restructure and rethink how often we look at those in boxes of our lives. Another one of the examples that I mentioned is to leverage time matching whenever you have the opportunity. So I'll give you one that's really specific to me. I like to set aside one day a week where I'm focused on being on, as in there's a camera at play, there is some type of presentation I have to do. And so let's say that that is thursday's I know on Thursdays that I need to film some content and so I'm going to set that time aside so that I can not only no I'm doing it, but I can start to recruit the people that are going to help me do it. The videographer, any assistance that are going to help me make sure that the job gets done properly and we're going to put that here, we're going to put that down as a priority and we know that's probably going to take about two hours with set up, sit down, create and wrap up now if I'm going to be filming that day, what else can I do to leverage the time with a photographer or with the done up, face and hair that may not have been as good looking the rest of the week. I mean let's just be honest, I'm probably going to plot here, you know, oh I need to update my headshots so now I know that I'm fully equipped to do that and I'm matching it at a time. That makes sense. I'm not trying to schedule it at a moment earlier in the week when I'm in doing mode and in deep work mode, I'm doing it on a day where I'm already prepared for the camera to be on and trying to get it done as efficiently as possible. So you can definitely play around with this as much as you like. You can customize your work blocks as much as you like. My work blocks tend to spread throughout the day, earlier in the day, sometimes later in the day and they aren't as cut and dry from 9 to 5. But I do like to keep track of when I'm working for that reason so that I am not totally bleeding into my own personal life and forgetting to walk away from work sometimes. Now with the concept in mind that we are going to be working from 9 to 5, let's talk about what your morning routine is going to look like. If that's some of the vital time that we have to ourselves to start the day off, right. We can start to reverse engineer what this is going to look like. So for instance, if you are having a work from home situation, you may not have to account for a commute here, but if you do, you could absolutely make that time as you see fit. If it's a 30 minute commute, maybe you give yourself 45 minutes so that you see on your calendar. Okay? I need to leave by 8 15 so that I'm never late for the clock. Now, if you're just walking into another room of your house, less of something to worry about. And let's see how we can start to leverage the time before nine a.m. So that you can have that morning routine that starts the day on your terms. One of the last things that I do, I don't know about you before I get ready for work is get ready, right, we've got to get things in an acceptable state, especially when you got to get on that zoom call with your team first thing in the morning. So the last thing we'll do is get ready for work before we actually show up for work, put that on my personal calendar. Now if I'm going to shower during this time period, it probably makes sense to do some movement just before that. So that's what I'm going to schedule that time. Maybe you're not going to work out every single morning at seven a.m. But you could take a walk, you could do some stretching maybe one day is yoga a different days, A spin class. It's completely up to you now let's say before we do some exercise we're going to spend time on that mastery project. We've been wanting to work on block off the hour. Maybe you could put that under the priorities calendar if that is the best fit for you. I personally think it's a great idea because if you're really trying to master something or work on something separate from what your work life is, this is a great time to do it, especially as a priority and then all that's left is your mindfulness. Maybe this is just the time that you spend getting ready for the day, getting your brain working, doing some journaling some gratitude grabbing that coffee because you just rolled out of bed and need to be able to function. So we're going to put mindfulness first thing. It's amazing how much you can get done in the morning, but it's also amazing how quickly that time can escape. You imagine just sleeping in and skipping mindfulness, mastery and movement and having to go straight to just getting ready for work as soon as possible. You don't get the same effect on your life do you? But we have been able to tell here that based on starting work at nine a.m. Having plenty of time for everything you want to do in the morning, you got to get up at five. So if that's the case, how are we going to make sure that that happens? Well we're going to need enough sleep. So starting on sunday night because that's actually when your monday morning routine starts. We've got to mark off that time that you're going to be in bed and asleep now, you're only going to get seven hours, but a bedtime of 10 o'clock is actually pretty good for the fact that you'll get seven hours if you would like eight. Falling asleep by nine is important. Now being asleep at nine and getting in bed are two different things. So we've got to make sure that we have that moment before bed that we're getting ready so we can call this get ready for bed. We're going to customize that because you know, probably not on friday nights and this is when we need to be asleep or at least falling asleep by this time. This is a sight to be seen. You know, when you're at work that's been committed, you've got a morning routine and you have a plan for waking up on time for that morning routine by knowing what time each day sunday through thursday you've got to be in bed, look at all of the white space that is left. This is where we go. Oh that's why I'm not getting anything done. I watch a lot of tv so that must be what's in my white space. I scroll social media a lot. I play video games, I do a bunch of other stuff. Some stuff that's valuable to me, some stuff that's not so valuable to me. But now I understand when it's happening or you might say yeah I never go to bed at that time. That's ridiculous. I stay up till o'clock. So that's why I have to sleep in later because you have to get that rest and you're going to find it some way or another. Your body will get it at some point if it really wants it. But the opportunity here is to now look and say, okay, what else can I do? When can I make time for more? How can I optimize some of these things that are more important to me or less important to me? What can I do during this period of time before bed that I never have time for that would actually help facilitate falling asleep like meditation or reading a book, you decide, But then you can also look at other opportunities like, oh well, you know, I'm going to look pretty good on thursday, so that would be a great time for a date night with my husband. And then you put it on the family calendar so that you make sure he's subscribed to it and that you both show up for whatever you're doing for date night. Maybe you do it every week. Maybe it's just once in a while, but it's an intentional save on your calendar. A moment that you're going to say that is the time I am spending with him and no one else. That is my off time from all other accountable sources. All right. So maybe we'll do some time matching in addition to all of this stuff on the weekend. If you keep thinking, oh, when am I gonna get that grocery shopping done? When am I gonna have time to go to the dry cleaner? I don't want to waste my evenings on that. I'll probably not get there on time. Well, if we know we're going to do some grocery shopping here, put it on the errands calendar. So we know we're leaving the house for that. Then let's add the dry cleaner right before that because you know, you'll forget to go after you grocery shop. I know I would. So we're continuing to batch, we're continuing to use the best of our time. We are now hyper aware of our time and suddenly those evenings are more exciting to us because we realize, okay, I've got to take care of dinner. I've got a plan, dinner. I've got to make that the best use of my time possible. How can I make sure to do that? No matter what your calendar looks like after you are done working with yours. I hope that you will see this tutorial as an opportunity to truly grasp how much time you actually have, especially when you allocate the time that you know is already committed and you know, you need like sleep and self care. I'm sure it's blowing your mind right now when you realize how little time we actually have, it's like we know that. But then when you see it and you see how real it is, how real it can be for you to take just one hour more seriously in your day or in your week. It changes the game when you track your time, you spend it more wisely and that is what I want for you because that's a huge component of finding your work from home life balance. Remember you truly are in control of your choices and how you spend your time is one of them. Now we don't need every second of your life to be time blocked. So I think it's appropriate that in the next lesson we talk about how to take a proper break.