We have talked in depth about the need for more time in our days. If you are anything like me, I thought owning a business would allow me more freedom, more time and the ability to make more money. Little did I realize that owning my own business would be a lot of hard work. I quickly learned that it would require endless hours of planning, implementing, trying to stay focused, and most importantly, never giving up. I had the opportunity to attend a workshop this week that taught on two topics. The first part of the evening focused on the power of Instagram. The second was a fabulous discussion regarding time management. He lectured on several topics that I will be able to start using in my own business, but he opened my eyes about the use of time blocking to add more hours to my day.
“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” Peter Drucker
You may be asking yourself, “What does it mean to ‘time block’?” Learning to block your time will help you gain more structure in your day. By creating your day in blocks of time, you will be able to stay focused on one task at a time, and hopefully, avoid distractions and stress.
Since the program earlier this week, I have spent a couple of hours doing research on the best way to use time blocking to improve my schedule. My goal is to add some extra time and eliminate some of the time I waste procrastinating on projects I need to complete. I want to share a few ideas I’ve learned, and I hope that you will be able to implement some of these ideas into your schedule and create a few extra hours per week.
“I guard my time fiercely and without apology.” Gary Keller, author of The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
Re-Create Your Typical Day
Before you can begin time blocking your schedule, it is important for you to take a look at your typical day. Spend 15 minutes writing down everything you do during your work day. Are you impressed? Over-whelmed? Do you waste a lot of time? Do you spend time during the day just trying to figure out what you need to do?
Examine Your Calendar
Before you can become more productive, it is imperative for you to know what is on your schedule for the week. I am a visual person. I will be blocking time in designated colors. I will mark my family responsibilities in blue. My sons are grown and live out of town, so I will not see much blue unless my husband has something I need to take care of during the week. Time spent meeting with clients and networking will be marked in green. Working on art designs and orders will be marked in yellow. Personal time (personal development, an exercise class, a haircut or nail appointment) will be in pink. Time spent on marketing (work on my newsletters, emails, phone calls, and some marketing calls) will be in lavender.
Examine Your Priorities
Review your list of projects and place them in order of importance. Decide how much time you need to complete each item on your list. It is important to be realistic when determining how much time to designate so you aren’t in the middle of your project when it’s time to move on to the next item on your schedule.
“Better three hours too soon, than one minute too late.” William Shakespeare
Give Yourself Enough Time
I am a stickler for being on time. I would rather not attend an event if I’m going to be even 5 minutes late. Be sure to budget enough driving time when creating your schedule. Allow for traffic, an accident and inclement weather. It is better to show up 10 minutes early than to walk into your appointment even a few moments late. You will also keep your stress level to a minimum if you have scheduled enough travel time in your day.
End Your Day by Planning For Tomorrow
Before leaving your office at the end of your work day, spend a few minutes looking at your schedule for the following day. Make sure you have everything you need for your scheduled appointments, calling on clients and any networking events you plan to attend. Nothing wastes more time than having to go back to the office for items that you have forgotten. Being prepared will allow you to relax in the evening with your family, sleep without worry, and begin the next day knowing that you are in control of your schedule.
My challenge for you this week is the following:
Take a few minutes and write down every step of a typical day. Do you eat breakfast? Do you manage your time adequately or does it manage you? How much time to spend thinking about what you need to do?
How would it feel to organize your day and have an extra 30 minutes in your day? Have you ever considered ‘time blocking’ your schedule? Spending a few moments planning your schedule will give you the confidence to begin your day knowing what ahead of you. Properly preparing your work week will ensure that you will never again miss an appointment (if it is placed on your calendar, to begin with). Also, you will be prepared for your day, tackle your responsibilities and lower your stress. You may even find time for a massage or manicure.
Have a great week!
I own a promotional products business where I offer over 1 million different products to meet your promotional needs. I also have a complete wedding line including “save the dates,” invitations, napkins, imprinted stemware, and attendants gifts. I’d love to schedule an appointment with you to see how I can help you with your promotional needs!