How to Time Block for Better Time Management
Every planner I have ever purchased has been thrown away. I would hang on to barely used planners for months in hopes of using them, thinking one day I might get organized and get my sh*t together! These planners were bulky, full of empty pages, and left me feeling guilty or unproductive because they were a constant reminder of all the things I wasn’t doing.
Now sitting journal-less I knew I needed to come up with a better way to mange the hours in my days. Was there a perfect journal out there that I was missing? Should I just use my calendar on my phone? Is there some secret app that was going to change my life? No. I knew none of these would work, (trust me, I tried). I eventually came across time blocking. This was my solution!
Efficient Time Management
Time blocking is an awesome time management tool that you can use every day to organize your to-do’s and properly manage your time. If you always feel overbooked and overwhelmed, a time audit and time blocking will be a straight forward way to show you what you REALLY have time for.
We All Have the Same 24 Hours in the Day
How many of us have put thing after thing down on our to-do list only to end the day with not even making a dent into that list? Time blocking will end that. It is a clear and obvious way to properly schedule to-do’s within your “real” 24 hour day. Not a pretend land that magically has unlimited hours in your day.
Time Blocking Options
There are two ways to achieve daily time blocking. You can use your calendar on your phone/computer or you can use a journal/blank piece of paper. I personally like pen to paper because I find the process calming, but do whatever is best for you!
Creating A Time Block Schedule
Decide if you want to use a journal or phone/computer calendar.
I recommend doing the initial exercise on paper, as you will need to make many edits while creating you initial time block.
Brainstorm a list of everything you need to do in a day, week, month, etc… Here is an example from my list
- Writing (7x week)
- Graphics (7x week)
- Marketing (7x week)
- Exercise (6x week)
- Take Olivia to school
- Grocery shopping (2x week)
- Dog water & food (1x week)
- Walk Lola
- Meal planning (1x week)
- Clean pool (2x week)
- Dishes (daily)
- Laundry (3x week)
- Blog courses
- Olivia’s dance class (Sundays)
- Down time/free time (yes, you need to schedule in down time)
Schedule in the non-negotiables, things that must be done at a specific day/time
- Sleep! Yes. Make sure you block out your 7-9 hours of sleep.
- Preschool drop-off (Monday-Thursday 9am)
- Dance class (Saturday 11am)
- Dog water & food (Monday)
- Clean Pool (Wednesday & Saturday)
- Trash (put our Wednesday)
- Grocery shopping (Saturday & Wednesday)
- Exercise (Monday-Saturday 4pm)
Fill in the “extras”
Find time for reoccurring to-dos that need to get done that do not have a specific day/time, this is when working on paper will be helpful, as you should have quite a few edits to properly fit things in. Using a Word document with a table inserted is helpful as well, see my example below. You can be general with your time blocking i.e. “blog” “clean” or if you want to get specific you can, i.e. “write a blog post”, “post to social media”, “vacuum”, “laundry”, “dishes”, etc..
Be realistic with your time.
Allowing 15 minutes for laundry will likely not be enough time. It is better to over estimate than under estimate the time assigned to each task. For instance, you can always change it later if you find you have “too much” downtime (if there is such a thing). 😉
What to do if you do not have enough time.
This exercise should be eyeopening. Most likely you will see you do not have enough time to do everything you *think* you need to do. Here are some ways to work around this:
Ask for help! Can someone help you with cleaning? Are your kids old enough to help out? My 4 year old can make her bed, put some laundry away, put clean trash bags in trashcans, etc… My husband cleans the pool, helps when I need it, and has is own set of chores he completes around the house.
Complete tasks with your kids around. I truly believe this sets a great example to kids. I don’t think my kids should wake up from nap/quiet time and have a magically clean house. They see me cleaning and now they WANT to clean, they WANT to organize. Having kids around while doing chores may not be ideal, but I think it is important to set an example and include them. (Even when it is extremely painful watching them make an even bigger mess when trying to clean up haha).
Time blocking is an effective time management tool that you can use daily to organize your days and properly manage your time. If you always feel rushed, a time audit and time blocking will be a straight forward way to show you what you REALLY have time for.
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Do you time block? How do you make time for things that need to get done?