Value your time and be conscious of how you use it.
Does this sound familiar? You’re working on a project or task and think of something you need to do. So, you stop what you’re doing and go to complete another project/task. Now you have 2 projects in the works and you think of something else you need to do. Then, you start a third project. Now, you have 3 incomplete projects.
Or, maybe this sounds more familiar? You’re engrossed in a project and before you know it 2 hours have gone by, you’ve skipped lunch and you don’t have time to complete the other tasks on your to-do list.
If you feel like you’re juggling too many things and you have no idea what to tackle and when, you’re not alone.
It’s time to make some changes to that never ending to-do list that is more overwhelming than it is productive.
Do you want to feel extremely productive at the end of the day? Do you want to be productive and not just busy?
Because it’s the most important thing I can say, let me begin with my #1 tip to being more productive, no matter what time management system you use. Be kind to yourself and give yourself some grace. There are days when the schedule does not go exactly as I have them planned. Life happens and things come up. That is okay! Having a realistic plan and a big picture of my day motivates me to stay on task and accomplish what I have planned for the day. If something doesn’t get done I plan for it the next day. There is nothing productive about beating yourself up for what you did not accomplish or for the things that didn’t go as planned.
Now that that’s been said, let me introduce you to time blocking.
Time-blocking is organizing your day in a series of time slots. Instead of writing a list of tasks that take as long as they take, with a time-blocked system, time periods are devoted to a task.
Time blocking helps me minimize distractions because I know I’ve allotted a specific amount to time to focus on a task. In other words, I don’t have time to scroll through my Instagram feed. This time management system also keeps me on task. If I think of a blog task I need to get done that day, I know I can continue what I’m doing because I’ve scheduled blog tasks for another time.
With time blocking, I am able to accomplish what is most important and with less stress. I feel more organized and motivated and less overwhelmed. I like being super clear on what I need to focus on during the day. It also helped me to see where I was being unrealistic with my time.
How I use time blocking to plan a productive day:
- On Sunday with the family calendar in hand, with a focus on the whole week, I time block recurring tasks (e.g. morning routine, commute, etc.), appointments, deadlines and time specific commitments.
- As part of my daily morning routine, with a focus on the day, I time block 3 (no more than 4) priority tasks for that specific day.
- I check off the day as I go. I like the visual of what I have accomplished and I’m clear at the end of the day what, if anything, needs to be planned for another day.
- If something comes up during the day, I make note of it so I don’t forget, and move on staying focused on the task at hand.
- And, at the end of the day, I make note of what might need to be a priority on the schedule for the next day.
It takes time and intention to form a habit. Be consistent and adjust the system to meet your needs.
Tips for Time Blocking:
- Keep it simple with categories and consider color coding: Work, Family, Rest, Personal.
- It’s not as complicated as it looks and it gets easier with time.
- Use the right tools. Find an app, use an online calendar or a paper and pen planner that works for you. I use iCal.
- Plan your time blocks the night before if you’re more of a night owl.
- Schedule priority tasks, if they’re not specific to a time of day, during your most productive time of day.
- Focus on one task at a time.
- Give yourself enough time to work on a task to completion or to a stopping point.
- Keep in mind how long can be productive and focused.
- Make sure to schedule follow up time for meetings and tasks, if needed.
Something to keep in mind, research on time management shows that people tend to be most productive when they can work in focused blocks of time and take regular breaks to stretch and refresh. Take breaks! It can be counter productive if you don’t.
I loved that with time blocking I could let the other stuff go to focus on whatever is on the schedule vs. feeling the pressure of all the things on the list because I know there will be time set aside to attack it later in the week. That was huge for me.
I also loved that it really makes me more conscious of my time. I give more thought to other opportunities as they pop up. Do they align with my current goals? Is taking time away from one of my regular tasks on the schedule worth it to be able to do something else?
Be sure to make time for fun and relaxation so you create a life you want and absolutely love.
I’d love to chat.
Do you have a system for planning your day? Are you a to-do list kind of person?
Have a beautiful day!
be the best version of YOU