Goal Setting & Achievement Podcast: Business|Productivity

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How to Increase Your Productivity with Time Blocking

Updated 5 months ago.

As a business owner, you often get pulled in many different directions, which can lead to thinly-spread focus and subpar quality of work. How many times have you started responding to an email, only to have a team member ping you to ask a question about an upcoming project, and then realize you had a meeting starting in two minutes?

While there are many things that need your attention, not everything needs your attention right now. You can increase productivity by building a habit of time blocking each day.

Time blocking is the practice of scheduling out each moment of your day on your calendar. It may look overwhelming to have a completely full calendar, but it’s a great way to understand when to focus on certain activities and create much-needed structure in your schedule.

How to start blocking out time on your calendar
Filling up your calendar doesn’t mean it needs to be followed exactly, every single day. Allow for flexibility, especially as circumstances change and crises inevitably arise. Think of it more as a framework, a place to get started and increase productivity before you even start working. Let me share some ideal to help you to start setting up your own time blocking calendar or get even better at time blocking.

Start with Your Own Routines
While the majority of your day will be work-related tasks, it’s important to set aside time for your own personal routines. Working out, for example, provides many benefits for business owners. If you prefer exercising in the morning, block off an hour to an hour and a half in the morning on your calendar for your workout time.

Block Off Dedicated Email Time
It can be tempting to check each email as it comes in, but interrupting your current task you are working on to check your email can shift your focus. In doing so, it will take more time to refocus on what you were originally doing, leading to a less productive work session. Block off a couple of one-hour blocks during the day, as needed, to check and respond to emails. I recommend 11:00 and 4:00, so you aren’t checking email first thing and getting off schedule first thing in the morning.

Save Time for Lunch
Don’t forget to eat! Schedule lunch breaks or quick 15-minute breaks as needed. The rule is, if they’re on your calendar, you have to take them. This also helps you to set boundaries, so that others can’t disturb you during those set times. Taking a break to eat and recharge throughout the day can keep you mentally sharp and reset your creative juices. Go ahead, you deserve it.

Block Off Time for Projects or Specific Tasks
How granular you want to get on your calendar depends on your preference—you can either block off time each day for “Daily tasks” or for specific tasks, such as “Write first draft of Forbes article.” If you’re more creative in the mornings, use that time to be intentional about crafting a vision for your company, or taking notes from books or podcasts with ideas you want to implement. If the afternoon is when you feel most productive, set aside a chunk of time in the afternoon for task batching.

More Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Time Blocking

You’re on your way to taking back your time and knocking off all those backlogged items on your to-do list. So, let’s talk about a few more tips to increase your productivity with time blocking:

• Use themes for each day to hone in your focus time even more. For example, Mondays might be for catching up on emails and responding to vendors, Tuesdays could be Content Days, Wednesdays for revenue generation and business development, etc.
• Add some buffer time between blocks. Some tasks may take longer than others, or you may just want a bit more flexibility within your schedule. Try adding 15 minutes before and after each time block. Think of those as well-deserved breaks for being ultra-productive with your time.
• Schedule time to be inspired. You can use that time to sit and brainstorm with a notepad and paper, or listen to your favorite business podcast. You could even do some light research on what your competitors are doing and gain some insights from that. Whatever it is, setting aside time for inspiration can help you to stay motivated as you grow your business.
• Block off some time on Fridays to plan out the next week. The great thing about calendars is that you can set recurring events, so you may not even have to change your calendar week to week. However, meetings or other one-off events may come up and you might have to move things around. Take some time at the end of each week to make sure you’ve put in all your events and time blocks for the following week. That way, when you start your week, you can dive right in.
• Revisit and revise. As your business grows, your tasks may change. Don’t be afraid to revisit your calendar and rearrange your time blocks, as you need to. Figure out what works for you over time and tweak it, so you can be your most productive self.

Start practicing time blocking by sitting down with your calendar for the next week. Set themes for each day, such as Content Day, Revenue Generation / Business Development Day, Inspiration Morning, etc. and block off chunks of time to work on specific tasks.

Time blocking can take a bit to get used to, but you’ll be able to see the benefits almost immediately! Your mental clutter will be reduced by letting your calendar dictate your schedule and tasks, leaving capacity for the aspects of your business that really need your focus. Simply put, if your calendar could talk, it would tell you what to do and when, and you would say Okay! You are well on your way to increasing productivity and efficiency, which will help you increase your success.

For more help on being even more productive by applying proven and effective time management principles, reach out to me today and schedule your complimentary consultation.

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As an experienced accountability coach and author of 5 books, I help business professionals make more money, work less, and enjoy even better work life balance.

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Author of Excuses Don’t Count; Results Rule, Live Life with No Regrets, No Excuses, and the Work Life Balance Emergency Kit, The Roadmap To Success with Stephen Covey and Ken Blanchard, and more.

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