If you’re ready to finally get your home and your business organized, get more done in a day, actually remember what needs to be done and have a consistent schedule then time blocking is for you. In this blog post I’ll be going over how to use time blocking as a work from home mom who needs to create a schedule based around work, home and personal tasks.
WHAT IS TIME BLOCKING?
Time Blocking is essentially taking specific tasks and assigning a frame of time for that task only. This gives you the opportunity to be much more productive. Instead of writing down your to-do list and then not doing anything else, you would take each item from your list, rank them by priority and then give them a time slot in your calendar.
NOW LET’S TALK ABOUT WHY TIME BLOCKING IS SO EFFECTIVE
Time blocking is proving to be a favorite time and task organization method for entrepreneurs, small business owners and even CEO’s. You can read about how some crazy successful people are using this method from this Entrepreneur.com article. Some of the major benefits from time blocking are…
Increased Focus –
Normally you may look at a long list of things you need to get done from your to-do list and just pick the thing that seems important or is the funnest / easiest. This can lead to being unorganized and leaves you open to becoming distracted if you aren’t finishing your task fast enough or you start working on other things you also think are important or you forgot about.
When you’re using the time blocking method you just look at your calendar to see what one thing you’re supposed to be working on. Giving yourself wiggle room can be an option but overall this strategy is meant to be pretty structured and strict. So you set your timer and work on that task until the time is up or if you finish early, you can move on to the next task. Which leads to the next benefit.
Self Discipline –
When you’re a work from home mom, self discipline can be daunting. You’re exhausted from your kiddos and you’d really like to relax. Or like mentioned above, there may be other tasks you’d much rather be doing.
With time blocking you force yourself to look at a little time block that’s telling you this one thing HAS to be done by 4 pm so you can take a shower, get ready, pick up the kids and head to dinner. No one wants to feel defeated by their own to-do list so by forcing yourself to work on something at a specific time, you’ll be set up for success for the rest of the day, the next day, the week, the month and even for the rest of the year because you’re always a step ahead.
Stress Reduction –
Another amazing benefit from time blocking is that by completing your tasks more efficiently, your stress goes way down! I know that before I really started utilizing this method I was constantly worried about what had to be done but I never felt like I had enough time in the day.
The motto that goes right along with time blocking is “If it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t exist”. I LOVE this mentality because it gave me permission to let go of worrying about every little thing. I know that whatever is on that calendar is getting done. If something pops up that needs to get done that’s fine but I also don’t let it ruin my system. I just move something less important to the next day.
HERE’S HOW TO PUT TIME BLOCKING INTO PRACTICE
Using my printables in the time management bundle which you can download below, you can start your time blocking journey! Now there are a few different processes when it comes to time blocking so as you form this into a habit, experiment with different ways of organizing your time blocks. For example, I’ll use the bundle worksheets to show you how I personally use this time management strategy. My process is as follows.
First, I view my month.
At the beginning of every quarter (every 3 months) I sit down and make a massive to-do list with goals, ideas, launches, blog posts, etc for my business. However, for this post I’m going to talk about how I break that down even further which is what leads to my time blocking calendar.
So let’s say I already know what my big goals are for the quarter. I’ll then take a regular blank calendar for the month that’s about to start and I write down major events. This would include things like launches. But it also includes birthdays, holidays, vacation days and special events.
This calendar is going to give me a basic understanding of how my month will look which on its own is a great way to clarify what days you have open to get other work done. It also shows you what days are vital to complete tasks leading up to an event like a launch.
The sacred to-do list!
Now that we know how our month is going to look we can go even further and think about what we want to accomplish for the coming week. I think it’s super important to write down things you want and need to get done in 3 major categories: Work, Home and Personal.
For Work you’ll write down tasks that are very specific. So let’s say you’re a blogger. Instead of writing down “Write a blog post”, I want you to write down what post you’re specifically going to write and if you need to do research first, include that. Being specific, especially with work tasks, can you help you feel a lot calmer when you’re looking at your Time Blocked calendar to see what you’re supposed to be working on.
It’s common to feel like you don’t know what task to work on next but like I said earlier “If it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t exist”. So if you put this little work in ahead of time, your week will be streamlined and so much less stressful.
For Home you’ll write down things like chores that need to be done around the house or family related things like give the baby a bath or take Timmy to soccer practice. Nothing is insignificant here. If it needs to get done this week, write it down.
And lastly, for Personal I want you to write down things you’ll be doing for yourself. You know how people say you have to make time for you? Well that’s what you’ll be doing from now on. So in this column you’ll write down things like work out, meditate, read, listen to a podcast, etc. This is going to help you get into the habit of not only setting time aside for yourself, but recognizing the things that have gotten in the way of your self-care before now. And if it’s on the calendar (which it better be!) then you have to do it. Those are the rules!
P.S. – Rank your tasks with A (the most important), B (sort of important) and C (not at all that important) so you know what task you can put to another time slot or another day if needed!
Now we set up our time blocks!
You’ve done all of the hard work already. Now all that’s left to do is fill in each block with the task(s) you’re doing during that set time. If you’re like me and you work from home with one or more kids running around then you can’t just put work tasks in every time slot until bed time. So think about what your day currently looks like. When does your child wake up, take nap, eat and go to bed?
When you’re filling out the spaces with the items from your to-do list there can be a lot of factors involved and I totally get that! But here’s how you get around that. Don’t just assume that if you put a work task in at a specific time that you won’t end up getting it done because something will inevitably get in the way. I’m a mom so I’m super guilty of assuming something will go wrong during the day. That mentality WILL stop you from being productive and we’ve decided we’re past that, right?
My Personal Time Blocking Schedule
You have a few different ways of getting your work tasks into your schedule but my personal method is very simple. I wake up early and get the little things done that I don’t have to think too hard to do (I’m NOT a morning person). For example, I’m a Pinterest manager so in the morning I might check and respond to client emails, double check Tailwind queue’s and peek at client analytics or look over my business posts and marketing schedule for the week.
I schedule things like writing blog posts or working on client accounts during nap time. I’m much more focused and awake by this point so I can work on the harder stuff and it’s still early enough for a cup of coffee!
Lastly, after my kids go to bed I finish up my work tasks. Sometimes I’ll finish up what I didn’t complete during nap time but usually I’m just making sure all my ducks are in a row like double checking scheduled posts, making changed to my business and client Trello boards and responding to client inquiries.
I also involve my son in things like working out and doing household chores throughout the day which helps me accomplish my tasks without having to wait until nap time or another time to do them.
And that’s it! You’ll be a time blocking pro in no time. Tell me in the comments what your favorite blocking method is or if you’re trying my method, let me know how it’s going!