Is it Possible to Have Scheduling Freedom and Do It All?
Time blocking is a schedule management plan that helps you plan your time better. You avoid working by the clock and focus on handling tasks based on their priority. The end result is freedom from time constraints.
What is time blocking?
Time blocking is a method of prioritizing your to-do list and focusing on high priority tasks. You focus on finishing tasks instead of the clock.
Time blocking allows you to be more deliberate with your time.
You can see what you need to handle when you are in productivity mode. You also see when you will be enjoying other aspects of life and when you’re going to relax and unwind. In order to begin blocking out your time, you need to categorize it.
Three categories to simplify your calendar:
- Productive time (working)
- Personal time (hobbies, cleaning, exercising, spending time with others)
- Downtime (non-working, time to decompress)
Do I schedule my time?
Look at your calendar or planner and decide when you will have productive time, personal time and downtime. Color code or markdown when these times are.
Make it clear what you are doing during the day and schedule this each week before you begin working (Sunday or first thing Monday morning is a great time for it). From here we can begin the act of time blocking.
At times, you may find that working in short bursts is more effective. For example, 30-minutes on and 30-minutes off. Working hard and diligently during those 30-minutes on a high prioiryt task is more efficent than spending 1-hour semi-working at the same task.
Whatever you do, be all there.
There should be some structure involved, such as, “I will work on my high priority list from 8:00–11:00 am then take a break for a workout. After that, at 12:30 pm, I will finish the high priority items then start in on medium priority tasks if my workday allows.”
You deserve time to do the things you love and enjoy. Being deliberate with your time and focused on your work allows for more freedom in your downtime.
What are a high, medium and low priority items?
- High priority = that day/ASAP
- Medium priority = that week/soon
- Low priority = deadline is next week or later, handle when possible
Where do I start?
Make a list of your daily, weekly and monthly tasks. Break them down into high, medium, and low priority based on when they’re due. Then look at your current routine.
When do you have bursts of productivity?
- Is it in 1-hour increments?
- Do you work best when you can focus for 3 straight hours?
- When are your most productive times of the day?
- Mark these productive times down on a planner or schedule, then work in these tasks to your schedule.
For example, I’m most productive from 8:00 am — 11:30 am. Therefore, I am going to plan on these two high priority tasks during that time, and have a third high priority task as a “handle if possible”. Try to tackle the big high priority tasks during your productive hours. You can handle the small high priority tasks at the beginning of your day or in the middle of productivity bursts.
How will I stay motivated?
Keeping a master list that you check off as you complete it keeps you organized. Mixing in small high priority tasks with your larger projects will give you a sense of accomplishment and motivate you as you work through your list.
What about daily tasks?
You should have daily, weekly and monthly tasks added to your time blocking schedule. Prioritize these tasks accordingly (low, medium, high priority) and add them to the master list. If you have small, high priority tasks reoccurring daily, consider handling those first thing in the morning to motivate you. Who doesn’t love having an item marked off their to-do list?
How do I time block when traveling?
Be deliberate with your time, and understand that if you need to work, you’ll have to carve out the time.
A few ideas:
- Wake up before everyone to get an hour or two of work done
- When everyone is taking a break from activities or kids are napping, sit down and get some work done (this can happen poolside with your laptop).
- Catch up after everyone has gone to bed (if you need to), or make time blocking plan for the next day before you go to sleep for the night.
When you block your time out, the possibilites are endless. You can work at your hobbies, enjoy the freedom to spend time with your friends and family, and be more efficent at work. The end result? Having a productive, scheduled life with plenty of time for freedom.
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