Do you ever wonder how some people manage to get so much done in a given day or week, while you’re feeling frazzled with some projects started but not finished? One of the secrets of people who are the most productive is that they make appointments with themselves that they’re not allowed to cancel. As Fabienne Fredrickson says, “Creating BLOCKS of uninterrupted time to get things done each day is an important strategy. Put this time on your calendar, just as you would a client appointment and don't allow yourself to cancel it. Do it today.”
When you set aside non-negotiable time to complete certain tasks, it allows you to focus only on that project without any of the interruptions that so easily allow us to get sidetracked. You know the ones – the ringing phone, the arrival of a new email, etc. When we allow ourselves to be interrupted by these things for even a short time, we lose our focus and concentration. During your blocks of time that you schedule for projects, it helps to have all other potential distractions turned off.
There are other benefits of blocking off time for specific projects on your calendar as well. One of these is that once you block the time, you will know that it is coming and you will be mentally prepared to tackle the project and stick with it for the allotted time. Another is that you will increase your productivity – often completing the project much faster than you would if you were trying to fit it in between emails or phone calls. And maybe most importantly, you will be much less stressed out! Your to-do list will start to shrink and you will feel that great sense of accomplishment when you’ve gotten something important done for your business!
Another strategy for time blocking is to use it for personal things in addition to business projects or tasks. One of my favorite uses is to make sure that my work-outs are always blocked on my calendar. Not only does it avoid me scheduling over the time when I think I “might squeeze a workout in” and thus not doing it at all, it also reminds me. And just like time blocking with a project, I know it’s coming so I am already mentally prepared for it! You can also use blocking for certain errands or social commitments, time you promised to spend with your kids – anything that is important and that you want to make non-negotiable. I personally like to color code my time blocks based on whether it’s client work, blog writing, working out, client consultations, networking events, webinars or classes, etc. That way, when I open my calendar each morning I know with a glance what is on the agenda for the day.
Do you use time blocking in your daily routine? Do you find that it helps you be more productive? What sorts of things do you block time for?
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