5 Benefits Focus Brings to Your Life and Work
about 7 days ago.
Updated about 1 month ago.
Originally thought to have been popularized by a man named Cal Newport, time blocking is simply the practice of holding space in each day for your top priorities, and then filling in the gaps around those time blocks with other important tasks or events until your days are filled.
While how this plays out is likely different for everyone, the principle of carving out time to do the activities you need to do and achieve your goals. How do you intent to spend your time is what matters.
If the end goal of time blocking is increased productivity and decreased stress, then developing a commitment to living life (or at least carrying out your workday) in a structured series of segments is well worth the potential gains. If you are interested in learning to effectively time block your days, be sure to take the following 3 aspects of effective time management into consideration:
1. Identify recurring tasks or events and streamline those in your calendar
When you are able to identify recurring events inside of your calendar, you are well on the way to saving time and making your life a whole lot more organized. The truth is, much of our daily life is cyclical and repetitive – we get up at the same time each day, we visit the same places each week, we speak with the same clients each month; the list goes on and on. Setting up recurring time blocks in your preferred calendar or schedule application will save you time and energy.
If you prefer to work with a handwritten calendar (like a Franklin Day Planner), you can achieve the same result by sitting down at the start of every month or quarter and manually mapping out any recurring work to-do items that you know will happen on a consistent basis. When you eliminate the need to think about every single item on your calendar every day, you decrease the potential decision fatigue that you may face and also decrease the mental strain you have from trying to remember too many things. You no longer have to be afraid you will forget to do something.
2. Look through the lens of being in control
Most successful business people have aversions to being controlled; they prefer to be masters of their own fates. While having a regimented, intensely scheduled calendar may seem daunting and oppressive at first, it is actually incredibly freeing once you lean into the benefits of a controlled schedule. Eliminating spontaneous events in your day also eliminates unnecessary stress and gives you freedom to choose when and how you want to be flexible instead of being forced to adapt to every work emergency that comes your way. You are more intentional with how to best use your very valuable time.
Todoist puts it well, saying, “If you don’t control your schedule, it will control you. How do you balance the necessary evils of meetings, email, team chat, and “busy work” with focused time for the things you truly care about? Since becoming a digital hermit isn’t an option for most of us, we need concrete strategies to help us focus in a world designed to distract us.”
If you truly want to be in control of your workday and not a slave to endless interruptions and distractions, then time blocking may just be the solution you have been searching for that will make all the difference for you and everyone in your firm.
3. Plan for your day’s success
Instead of living each day in an open-ended, fluid schedule of items that you will add to the “list” and get to “when you can,” time blocking allows you to begin every day with a concrete schedule that dictates exactly what you will work on and when you will do it – all set up and decided on in advance by you. Even if the time you are blocking out is for “free time” or “random projects” or “potential meetings” the fact that you have intentionally held space for those things gives you space to work on last minute things as they arise instead of feeling like you have no choice but to fit them in immediately.
In order to be successful with this, you have to be committed to going over your to do list and commitments on a monthly or weekly basis and then plugging everything into your calendar until every moment is accounted for. Once each day ends, you need to also review what did not get done, so you know how to adjust the next day’s schedule accordingly. I tell my client, “If the calendar could talk, it would tell you exactly what to do every minute of the day, and you would say Okay, and do each activity as it comes up. Knowing you have the right activities on your calendar gives you the confidence you are making progress toward the achievement of your goals.”
Once you get good at this process, you will likely find you have more energy, get more done, feel less anxious, and have greater capacity to encourage your employees. The payout for this discipline, in other words, gives you incredibly high return on the investment of your time into becoming regimented and developing an airtight schedule.
To start implementing time blocking strategies into your daily workflow, try to block out the next month or quarter. Make sure to account for every minute, even if that means scheduling open-ended things like “meetings” or “time for random projects.” On average, work sprints that are 90 minutes or less have been found to be the most productive.
Download my complimentary Time Log Exercise and help you and your team members be even more time efficient, so you are in a higher probability position to achieve your goals, by going to: https://www.accountabilitycoach.com/time-log/. Simple instructions come with the sample document to help you know how to complete the time log.
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