The concept behind time blocking is to break your day down, hour-by-hour, and dedicate certain times to certain tasks and goals. This means you would literally mark your calendar stating what phone calls you would be making and when, what time you would be working out and what workout you wanted to do, who you were going to meet, for what purpose, and when, etc.
Time Blocking helps you determine what is truly important which maximizes your productivity, and minimizes the rest.
I initially heard of time blocking in the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. I loved the idea but didn’t necessarily take it to heart. I felt like I was being productive enough and didn’t want to waste my time writing out my hour-by-hour plans for the week.
It didn’t hit me that I was actually spending around 50% of my day being highly unproductive until I recently attended a seminar for real estate investing. The coach discussed the importance of time blocking, and challenged us to sit down and right out what we did the day before coming to him. When I did, I realized that I was being productive in certain areas of my life and neglecting the truly important things in my life, such as real estate investing, relationship building, and health.
The Benefits of Time Blocking:
- You focus on your task at hand.
If you’re anything like me, you’re trying to juggle 10 tasks at once and can often get extremely distracted while being productive. Time blocking keeps your distractions in check and helps you stay focused on your original task or goal.
- You come prepared (both mentally and physically).
Knowing what challenges your going to tackle for the week can better help you mentally and physically prepare for it. Do you need to bring gear, contracts, tools, etc and if so when do you need to gather those materials? Will any problems arise at the future meeting/task and how can you better prepare for those?
- You become more productive.
Prior to time blocking, when I was “highly effective” I was often neglecting certain areas of my life that positively benefited me. When I am forced to time block my week I find time to accomplish both my work goals and my personal goals, keeping me both balanced and productive.
- You Feel Less Stressed.
Have you ever been overwhelmed by the amount of things you had to accomplish that day or week? Time Blocking can help you productively plan for those events, prepare for them, and then in result help you feel less stressed. Not only do you accomplish your “stressful” goals but you do so while properly managing your time and fitting in things that you might have neglected previously.
So here is my challenge to you:
Time Block your day yesterday and be HONEST! No productive change will come if you skip marking the 30 minutes you spent looking on Facebook, ESPN, or Pinterest or the hour or two you spent watching your favorite TV show. After you map out your time block, take a look and see if you can move certain things around that are still productive but are being done during business operating hours that could be spent doing other highly productive things.
For example, a lot of people do Internet marketing during normal business hours. Although this is a highly effective activity that is essential to the operation of their business, I wouldn’t consider it a highly effective use of their time. This is something that could easily have an hour or so dedicate to after normal business hours (anywhere from 8 – 10 pm) and allows you to free up time during your day for more productive things.
Now take a look at your impending week and think about what is essential to your success both personally and financially, and prioritize your week. What can be accomplished at home, after normal business hours, or early in the morning before beginning work? Who do you need to meet with, what jobs can be tasked to others to free up more productive time for yourself, and what do you need to bring to be prepared?
If you’d like an example Time Blocking spreadsheet to use on paper this is a great resource. I personally like to use Google Calendars to help me time block. I can link it to my gmail and it allows others to see and access it if needed. This is extremely helpful if your allocating certain jobs to others such as a personal or virtual assistant. It also alerts or reminds me of specific tasks, meetings, etc on my phone, email, or computer.
Taking these steps will not only make you a highly effective person but it will also make you a more balanced person. I wish you all success in your endeavors and hope this helps you become a more highly effective person!