How To Be More Productive
Are you ready to learn how to be more productive?
The best way to do that is with time blocking.
What the heck is time blocking?
Before we get into the nitty gritty of it all let me say this.
Time blocking is a game changer! A lifesaver!
It is a fairly simple idea. With a huge payoff!
Different blocks of time in your day are spent doing the tasks assigned to that block. A schedule of your day basically.
Just like everything has a spot when organizing. Every task will have a block of time.
What do you need to get done today?
When are you going to do these things?
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The secret to learning how to be more productive? Enter time blocking!
At the beginning of my blogging journey, I dived head first into it. Which I am not saying is a bad thing. I was focused and determined. And it felt great to have something of my own.
But I became overwhelmed quickly. There were so many things to do. And again, I knew this came with the territory. Yet at the end of so many days, I was not feeling very accomplished. I felt like I could or should be doing more. Or maybe just that there had to be a better way.
I was not spending much time with my husband. And the time I spent with my daughter was full of distractions.
This just was not working.
Does this sound familiar?
All areas of your life are tossed together. Like a big old pot of chili. Except this recipe may not turn out as great.
You find yourself staying up way too late to get something done? Sleep deprivation is a bummer.
Brain jumping from one thing to the next!
Always have chatter in the back of your head. Trying to focus on something seems to be way more difficult than it should be.
Like there is a running list of all the things going on in your life on repeat.
Ever sit in front of your computer for hours and feel like you got absolutely nothing accomplished. So frustrating.
Ready to get work done and avoid procrastination?
So, where do you start? For me, it is with a list. Some sort of plan.
Who doesn’t love a plan? OK, maybe not everyone does. But I love a plan. And I hope you do too!
Here is a great planner to help you with your time blocking journey. It is specifically designed to help with prioritizing and productivity!
Now, the cool thing about all of this is it is completely tailored to you. Some people will say time block every bit of your day. Others suggest to not be too rigid.
I say, find what works for you. In your situation.
So, back to that list. OK, do you have everything written down you need to get done today. Or maybe in the next few days.
Don’t just jump in and try to plan everything for the next year!
Start slow. Ease into this.
Like I said, time blocking does work for all the activities that make up your day.
It is especially great for all your work tasks. But it can also be great for scheduling some time for self-care. Family time. Cleaning the house. Paying bills.
Whatever you want.
When you schedule a chunk of time for something, you are giving that task value. And carving out a specific time for something is a smart way to be confident in the fact that you will follow through.
I have time to work when my daughter is at school and a few hours at night.
So, I choose something for the morning. And a different task for the evening. My main goal for nights is to write blog posts. I do my best work at night. And with my daughter having an early bedtime, I usually work for 3 hours most nights. With a small break of course!
This brings me to another point.
How long are your tasks going to take you? Or how long are you going to give yourself to complete a task?
For work purposes, I use 1 or 2-hour blocks. Then it is time for a small break.
Breaks are vital. Do you know what happens without breaks? Burnout. And nothing productive will come from that.
It can take a toll on you. Always being “on”.
Be realistic with the things you can get done. Trying to pack hours of work into a one hour space is just asking for something to go wrong. In the same sense, you do want to push yourself. Remember, with this method your focus is geared toward one thing at a time. So things will most likely get done much quicker than if you were juggling 4 things.
Once you choose an amount of time, stick to it.
And I know lots of people say put your phone on silent. Staying strong with the no distractions rule. This does not work for me. My morning work hours are done while my daughter is at school so I have to be available.
What do I do?
I use the timer on my phone. And I put my phone across the room! Simple as that.
When the timer goes off, go over what you have accomplished. Was that an adequate amount of time. Maybe even too much?
It is OK to be flexible with the time frame. If the timer goes off and you are almost done with something then, by all means, finish it. If you still have quite a bit of work to finish then it is time to re-evaluate how you schedule this task.
Trial and error. And of course time. That is the only way to find your groove with this. Your sweet spot!
One more thing!
Always leave a time block for catch up hours!
Make a leftover block. Sort of like cleaning out the fridge.
Have a few things you didn’t finish completely. Maybe a few things you want to look back over. Hello, leftover block.
Benefits of Learning How To Be More Productive With Time Blocking:
1) Things get the attention they need.
Whether it is work related or family related there will always be things that need to get done. But are these things getting done effectively?
Ever sit down to do something and find every excuse in the book to get up and do this and that. Me all the way.
But not anymore. Now, I know I have something I would really like to finish in two hours so I’m gonna cut distractions, put my head down and get it done.
Focus while you are working. And when you are not working leave it all behind.
2) People get the attention they need(and deserve).
Picture this. You are having a conversation with someone and when it ends you have no idea what they said. Your mind was not there. You heard the words but there was no listening going on.
I don’t want to do that. And that is exactly what I was doing. Simply not paying attention to things that were right in front of me. I had other things to do. Other things to worry about.
Maybe you have a day that is just for the family. Perfect idea. This day is not for work. Not at all.
Be mindful and be present.
3) A less scrambled mind
This method forces me to focus on one thing at a time. Well, it took me some time to not have a handful of thoughts at a time.
This allows me to give my full attention to what is in front of me. Rather than trying to do something and thinking about 7 other things.
This is what is on my agenda. How am I going to make a busy day work for me? By following the schedule I have set up for myself!
I have also become much more disciplined with my work.
4) Take control of your time.
There is only so much time in your day. You get to choose how that time is spent.
You know what I always make time for. Listening to music. Even if it is just a couple of my favorite songs. This always clears my mind and can bring me out of a funk. It may seem silly to some, but I always have a block of time for music.
The thing I was most shocked about was how much more I was getting done. And I was spending less time doing “work” things.
Doing this may actually open your eyes to where your time was going before.
Let’s just say social media may be taking up a lot more time than you think!
Do a check-in every once in a while. Are things working for you? If not then don’t hesitate to change things up. Maybe there are a few kinks to work out.
Time blocking does not mean everything is set in stone. The world will not end if something doesn’t get finished. Believe me, I know it may feel like it. But take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
This can be as informal or as structured as you want. What works for you?
This is supposed to be structured but life does not always go as planned.
I think people may feel like they failed if something does not work exactly how it did for someone else. No. Maybe it just needs a few tweaks.
Be flexible. Things will not go as planned every single day.
Like all things you change, this will take time. But making your time work for you is worth it!
What do you think about time blocking?
I would love to hear any tips you have on how to be more productive!
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