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Have you ever found yourself at the end of the day feeling exhausted but wondering what on earth you managed to accomplish?
Do you often feel like you’re going non-stop but when you look around there seems to be nothing to show for it? Maybe you feel the need to find an excuse for why you weren’t as productive as you were hoping to be on a given day. And sometimes the excuses are valid. Sometimes sh*t happens and your day is thrown off.
Or maybe you have squirrel syndrome and get distracted easily. Maybe the day you told yourself you were going to start working out you binge watched This Is Us that night instead.
No? Was that just me?
Anyway…I started to wonder what I could accomplish if I actually lived my days with intention and action. What would my life look like if I started to take control of how I spent my time? And most importantly, how would I feel? How would I grow?
I knew I needed to make some changes so I started looking at how I could manage my time better and be more productive in the areas that would add value to my life.
I learned about Time Blocking and it has become one of my FAVORITE methods of time management!
Seriously, in the three months since I started time blocking my day I have been able to make more progress on my goals than I ever have before.
Why? Because my days are now lived with intention. I am taking charge instead of reacting to my day. Time blocking has helped me so much that I just HAVE to tell you about it! Let’s get to it!
What Is Time Blocking?
Time blocking is a way of dividing your day into chunks of time that are dedicated to specific tasks. It’s effective because it allows you to focus on one thing at a time and work more efficiently.
As women, we often take pride in our ability to “multi-task”. Although we think we are managing more than one thing at a time, what’s really happening is our brains are quickly switching from one task to another. Not only does that zap our mental energy, but we also tend to make more mistakes in the things we’re trying to work on simultaneously.
It actually takes more time to complete items on our to do list when we try to multi-task than it would if each item were given focused attention.
That’s why Time Blocking works. It gives you the space to focus so that you can cross more off your list.
Now that you know the “what” and the “why” let’s get to the “how” shall we?
Step 1: Prep
- I like to write a list of anything that I have to do in the month that isn’t typical. So ask yourself these questions: Are there any special obligations? Trips? Doctor appointments? Write down anything that isn’t in the norm so that you don’t forget to add it later in your planning.
- Next, list the items you have that are routine in your life. Anything you do regularly without fail like cleaning, meal planning, grocery shopping, spending time with family, etc.
- Finally, list the items you want to make time for. These are your personal goals. For example, items on my goals list are things like blogging, reading, organizing my home, etc.
Whatever your goals are, if you want to achieve them you will need to write them down and make time to focus on them!
Once you have that done, grab your favorite planner (if you don’t have a planner, this is the one I use and I love it! I highly recommend it (not an affiliate link)), or you can sign up to gain access to my resource library and grab my planning worksheets that you see in the photos!
Step 2: Plan Routine Tasks
- The first thing you’ll want to do here is go over your monthly calendar and fill in the important dates that you listed so you have a monthly at-a-glance overview of what’s going on in your life.
- Next, go into your weekly/daily calendar and start filling in your time blocks with your routine tasks and obligations. At the very least, you’ll want to schedule 25-minute time blocks and at the very most, 90 minutes. That way you give yourself enough time to get something substantial done but not so much that your brain starts to hurt. (Hint: It’s helpful to color code this information! Important dates could be blue, routine tasks could be green, goals could be red. Whatever you want!)
Step 3: Plan Your Goals
Now that you have a clear picture of how much time you have to work with, it’s time to start time blocking when you can work on your important goals!
Remember, the key to time blocking is that you focus on that one item you have scheduled. No TV, Facebook, or email. No doing calf raises while you are washing dishes and counting that as your exercise time block. And no multitasking!
Absolute focus on that one task is what we are going for!
You may be thinking you have no extra time outside of your daily responsibilities to invest in yourself.
And I know that feeling. But I’m going to push you to find a way to make it work. Be creative! Think about all the things you spend your time on. Things like scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, watching television, or checking your email every time you get a notification.
Look, I know that finding the time can be difficult, but you owe it to yourself to make time for things that enrich your life and give up the things that don’t.
Okay, now that we’ve cleared that up and you found time to work on your awesome goals there is one more step. This one though is ongoing throughout the week…
Step 4: Implement!
You’ve created a plan for your goals, but all this work will be pointless unless you follow through. And if this is something new to you, know that you are going to struggle with this one.
The person you want to become isn’t going to emerge without a fight from the person you currently are.
By nature, we like to be in our comfort zone, and our current habits are really comfortable.
So when we try to change those habits and create the necessary habits that lead to change, we are actively stepping out of our comfort zone and as a result, everything inside us is going to protest. I promise you, it is going to suck at first.
Push through. Change is hard, but you can do this. Here is another promise, keep going and you will eventually begin to crave the changes you are making. Just keep going.
What Are You Waiting For?
Finding the time to do the things that add value to our lives can be difficult, but with the right practical tools like time blocking, proper planning, and living each day with intention, we can focus on those tasks that reap the greatest benefits and ultimately, make time for what matters!