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Time management is an essential skill for any business owner, but it’s an area that microbusiness owners in particular struggle with as they are pulled into multiple directions as they lead and run their businesses. Enter the magic of time blocking! Time blocking is an easy and powerful way to master the time management beast.
Time blocking is exactly as it sounds: you block off time in your schedule to work on specific tasks or projects. When done correctly, it enables you to take control of the minutes in each day.
Ready to give time blocking a go? Follow these simple steps:
#1: Start with planning
Make a list of all of your important tasks for the week. Then, narrow this list down to three to five essential tasks.
PRO TIP: Be realistic in your planning. Avoid thinking that you can do a million tasks in one day or week.
#2: Block your hours
After you have a short list of tasks, block the hours on your schedule. This is the heart of time blocking and essentially requires you to take each hour and assign a task or item to it.
Clump related tasks together and add them to specific blocks of time. Use batching to complete multiple tasks that require the same resources. For example, spending one hour making 10 graphics or writing two blog posts.
PRO TIP: Remember to schedule lunches and breaks. Seriously. Giving your brain a break, even for 10 – 15 minutes can help you stay focused tackle your tasks with renewed energy.
#3: Use a reminder that works for you
Since you are working on a specific task for a specific duration of time, it’s important you have a cue when it’s time to work on your next task. If you use Google calendar, you can set notifications for each time block to alert you when it’s time to move on. I set a timer on my phone to alert me when time is up for a task. This works really well for me, since I’m constantly trying to beat the buzzer, so to speak, and complete my task before the timer goes off.
#4: Reduce Distractions
Time blocking demands that you focus on on task during the designated time, and you can’t do that effectively if there are 114 other things clamoring for your attention. Eliminate distractions as best possible, so you don’t lose- oohhh, squirrel- focus.
PRO TIP: You have to identify the enemy before you can develop a battle plan. Determine what your main distractions are and give them their own time block. If social media is your primary distraction *raises hand*, create blocks of time dedicated to social media. I schedule 30 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes mid-day and 15 minutes in the afternoon for social media. During the rest of the day, I close the programs on my computer and turn my phone upside down on my desk to keep distractions to a minimum.
#5: Stay flexible
Unless you know the exact amount of time each task will take, it’s important to keep the blocks somewhat flexible. You don’t want to pack your day so full with time block tasks that if a task takes longer than anticipated, you throw off the rest of the day and stress you the hell out.
PRO TIP: When starting out, err on the side of caution. Build in a little extra time for your tasks.
#6: Review regularly
This is your schedule, take ownership of it! If your tasks change, or you find that they take more or less time than you thought, modify your time blocks to take the new information into account.
PRO TIP: Reviewing your time blocks also give you the opportunity to see when you are truly most productive. If you know creativity flows easiest in the morning, you can schedule your creative tasks during this time.
Better managing your time and tasks can help you finish more tasks, which impacts your mindset. Let’s be honest, when you’re on top of your shizz, you feel like you can conquer the freaking world. Time blocking can be a powerful tool in reclaiming your day!
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