Block scheduling. What is it, and how does it help you get more done in less time? This simple strategy has helped me manage multiple businesses, my two kids, travel, and my household effectively for the past two years.
Block scheduling is a method used by entrepreneurs to divide their day into organized chunks of time that are focused on individual categories of tasks. The idea is that you can then work through these ‘blocks’ in that order, allowing more efficient and organized planning.
For most business owners, working at the, ‘what’s coming at me next?’ pace is pretty common. The problem with this is, you are always working at what’s ‘new’ in your day and not structuring to plan for what’s to come or other tasks you need to accomplish.
What we usually do is bounce from thing to thing, from email to social media, to client call to cramming lunch down our throats at our desks to workshops to… exhaustion! Multitasking like this makes it seem like you’re getting a bunch of stuff done simultaneously, but studies have shown that’s truly not the case.
When you multitask, your brain gets exhausted from switching between tasks, and you actually get less done. On top of that, it takes you longer to get back on track, so your work piles up. When you feel like your work is piling up, you get stressed out, and no one wants to be stressed out. Let’s learn how we can stop torturing ourselves, shall we?
Why you should use block scheduling
- It avoids multitasking (see above), which we’re all guilty of and it truly drains our productivity and leaves us exhausted and prone to burnout.
- It’s flexible. You can use time blocking with any productivity system. For our 365 Day Day Planner check the link here and check out the various ways we have broken down the day planner to allow for block scheduling and task planning.
- It saves your brain from distraction. Studies have shown it takes the average person over 23 minutes to get back on task after an interruption. That’s a lot of wasted time over a single day, let alone a month or year.
- Time blocking lets you set priorities. You run your days instead of your days running you.
What you Need to Know Before Starting
- Get a good understanding of what you actually need to get done in a day and how long it will actually take. Most of us (myself included) tend to either over or underestimate how long a task will actually take. This may mean you have to audit your workload and workflow before you can implement.
- Decide what tasks you’ll focus on when, and then stick to your schedule! You can use my example above as a guide.
- Build in breaks—and I mean REAL breaks, not 10 minutes to catch up on your Facebook or Instagram feed. Get up and away from your desk. Get some fresh air if you can. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on the next block.
- On top of your breaks, build in time away from your business entirely. You know, the vacations we entrepreneurs never seem to take?
- Include time to plan for the following day, week, and month. Doing this intentionally means you stay ahead of the game.
- Don’t be afraid to change things up if they aren’t working. This is your business after all, and you have to do what works for you.
- Make sure that after you’ve set up your schedule, you actually use it. Try it for a few weeks before you decide that it doesn’t work for you. Any system will fail you if you don’t actually utilize it.
- Shut off all distractions during your time block. Yes, this includes email and all those notifications on your phone.