You should protect your time with time blocking, regardless of your responsibilities. Whether you are a busy professional well into your career, a full-time caregiver to your family, or just juggling many responsibilities, blocking your time will set boundaries around your professional and personal time and allow you to maximize your productivity.
Blocking your time is a written reminder of where you need be, literally and mentally, at any time of the day. Time blocking allows you to focus deeply on the task that needs to be completed. For example, when you have time blocked for self care in your schedule, all you need to focus on in the self care time block is caring for yourself. Just like budgeting your money, time blocking makes you aware of how you spend your time (and where you waste your time). Time blocking is a written commitment to what you spend your time on.
To start time blocking, make a list of your daily tasks, this is a high level list. Each task may have multiple sub-tasks within it. We will address these later. This is just a list of what you should do everyday. As an example, here is a list of Jayme’s daily tasks. Included in the list are a couple items I would like to make time for (reading, a hobby and free time).
- Self care
- Family care
- Email, Social Media
- Planning for tomorrow
- Free time
Combine smaller tasks into a task batch. Task batching is grouping smaller tasks into one chunk of time. This could include checking and responding to email, returning phone calls and checking social media. Another batch may include a few items that are complete during some personal time (reading, hobby and free time). A morning routine could also be batched, as these events naturally occur together and fit into a schedule by design (self care, family care and exercise). In this example, family care is also a batch. Family care may include cooking, mealtime, bathing, homework help, and carpooling.
Your work time is naturally where you would task batch items you need to complete to make money. Notice I wrote, “make money.” This is where you mark your time as busy to focus on the items that eventually pay your bills. You tell your assistant or whoever you work with that your door is closed, and non-critical family chats and conversations can wait. This is the time you focus on your work. There are other times of your day where you may mark yourself busy, as well. These times may be when you are physically not available such as sleep and exercise.
Day theming works well if you have large portions in each day that you need to dedicate to different areas to meet the same goal. For example, if you work from 9am to 3pm each day, you may want to dedicate one day for client meetings and client follow up, another day for writing, another day for administrative tasks, and two other days for marketing. If you have projects, there are days of the week you may need to dedicate to the one or many projects you have going on.
Time blocking takes planning and revisions. Your initial plan for a time block may need to be revised frequently in the beginning. Give yourself some grace. If you are not seasoned to planning your day, keep it very simple in the beginning and allow flexibility. Life if going to happen and your schedule may go astray. You will find peace though knowing that there is a daily plan, and if you stick to the plan productivity will happen. As your productivity increases and evolves, you will find more free time in your day and your week.
Time blocking can be done with a simple paper calendar or planner, or with an online calendar or application. I would recommend starting with a simple paper and pencil to plan your time. After getting used to the idea of scheduling your time into blocks, try a digital calendar or app where you can experiment with colors and tags.
If planning your time causes you stress and anxiety, Top Shelf Home Organizing would love to help you on your journey. Jayme can help you plan your time blocking, set your goals, and keep you accountable to meeting those goals.
Getting organized will save you time and money. Here are six ideas on how this can really happen.
- Meal Planning
When you plan meals, you spend less money at the store (or eliminate a trip to the grocery store altogether), eat healthier and waste less food. Having a plan prevents impulse purchases of overpriced convenience food and last minute carryout meals. When you know what food you have in your pantry, you can build meal plans around the ingredients you already have.
- Sell your clutter
Sell the items you no longer use or love, and the items you have multiples of. In addition to making a little cash, you will love the extra space to breathe.
- Limit repeat purchases
Getting organized helps you keep track of what you own so you don’t run out to purchase something that you can’t find. Like items get placed with like items… you’ll soon discover how many bottles of sunscreen and kitchen spatulas you actually own.
- Late fees vs. discounts
You’ll avoid late fees, and you’ll be able to see new ways you could save on your expenses. Instead of spending time trying to settle delinquent bills, you can ask your providers for discounts for being a good customer. Being on top of bills and due dates will keep your budget on track.
- Save time
Once you’re more organized, you will spend less time trying to find things and making multiple runs to the store. You can use that extra time for to be more productive, make more money to pay off your debts or add to your savings. Also, once you realize what you own, you will less likely go out shopping. This will save time, money and gas… double bonus!
- You’ll discover more ways to save
Once you get rid of the clutter in your house, you’ll free your mind up to figure out more ways to cut back or earn more. You will also see how little you really need, realizing you do not need to shop.
If planning and orgainzing are overwhelming, a professional organizer can help. See if Top Shelf Home Organizing can help you on your journey. Contact Jayme to schedule a consult or chat about organizing.
Productivity is all about being efficient and accomplishing more in less time. Schedule your day to be the most efficient you can be by having a plan for every day.
Here are a few tips to make the most of your day whether you work in your home, run a business, or work for a large company.
- Difficult Tasks
Schedule your most difficult, undesirable tasks for the time of day when you are most focused. For many, this time is first thing in the morning. And doesn’t if feel good to get it out of the way?
Prepare, review and stick to a meeting agenda to ensure everyone stays on topic. Issues that may come up during a meeting can wait to be discussed at a later time with only the people involved. Set up video conferencing equipment ahead of the meeting so you can tackle the agenda on time and save everyone valuable minutes with each meeting.
Schedule a couple times in your day where you devote time to checking and responding to emails, voicemails and messages. Having a set time to do this will help you avoid being interrupted throughout the day, and keep you focused on the project you intend to accomplish. Also, use the phone to communicate more often versus the never ending back and forth of email and other messaging communications.
Schedule blocks of breaks throughout your day to keep your mind fresh.
- Me Time
Schedule me time every day. Taking time first thing in the morning to focus on your health and faith will get your day off to a good start.
Use a checklist for daily repetitive tasks. This will keep you focused and help minimize errors in the tasks you do everyday. Also, create a weekly checklist to help keep your week on task, so you can accomplish your goals. Create your weekly checklist at the end of the previous work week so your week is off to a strong, focused start.
- Work Space
Keep your work space neat and organized to ensure focus. Keep only the current project on your desk. If it makes sense, plan certain tasks to be completed offsite or at home. Offsite work allows for focus without the office interruptions and can save commute time.
If scheduling and organizing are challenging, a professional organizer can help. See if Top Shelf Home Organizing can help you on your journey. Contact Jayme to schedule a consult or chat about organizing.
Most of you are busy professionals juggling the demands of your career and your family. Getting it all done while taking time for yourself is taxing. Consider these seven tips to help you streamline your schedule and save time.
- Stay organized. Use a calendar to write down all your work and family engagements, addresses and phone numbers. Keeping all the information in one place can keep you from wasting time looking for it later.
- Identify time wasters. Keep track of the ways you waste time for one week. Do you spend 10 minutes finding your keys? If so, make a key hook by your door-and use it. Schedule time to check social media and check email each day. Start to plan meals to avoid daily stops at the store.
- Make the most of your trips. Knock a few items off your list on the way to work or at lunch, freeing up some night and weekend time.
- Finish what you start. When you work on a project from start to finish, it’s one less item on the to-do list. Having many unfinished projects at home and work is stressful and overwhelming.
- Readjust priorities. Since you can’t really do it all, re-evaluate which activities really need your time and focus. Think about what has the most value to you, your career and your family, and eliminate the rest.
- Keep healthy snacks on hand. Fresh fruits and vegetables, Kind bars and plenty of water will keep you fueled throughout your busy day. Identify hunger and thirst right away and have snacks available. This will prevent quick stops at drive through coffee shops and fast food restaurants.
- Outsource where it makes sense. Look at the value of your time. It may make sense to outsource a couple tasks to help you focus your time on more important items. Consider getting help with cleaning, laundry, yard maintenance and meal preparation. Your family may be the first option for help in these areas.
Do you have a ton to do and have no idea where to start? Would you like to know with each step you take you’re heading in the right direction? Would you like to narrow your ‘to do’ list down to a few key items and let go of the rest? Would you like to work smarter, not harder?
Answer these six questions to find your focus, do what you want to do and feel great about your life while you’re doing it.
1. What do I care about most? Where is my heart leading me?
Asking this question will give your heart a space to speak and be heard. When we get wrapped up in all the ‘stuff’ we have to do we often overlook what our heart wants.
2. What do I really want to do? Is this truly what I want?
Doing what you really want is a process of identifying and letting go of the things that you don’t want and replacing them with things that you do want. Overtime you’ll rebalance your life to include more of what you want to do.
3. How will I feel while I’m doing what I’m doing? Will this bring me joy?
If what you’re doing doesn’t give you pleasure while you’re doing it, you may be on the wrong track. ‘Doing’ takes up much more time than the actual result. We reach each goal only once and then it’s over. The journey to our goals is what fills our life with experiences. If you’re not feeling good during the ‘doing’, it may not be worth it. Give yourself permission to do things that feel good and you’ll live an inspired life.
4. What purpose will this serve?
If the answer isn’t clear you may be letting life lead you.
This question helps you make better choices for your life. Basing your actions on a clear purpose puts you in the driver’s seat which means you are leading your life instead of letting it lead you.
5. What is the priority of each item on my list?
We make choices about what we’re going to do all day long, but how often do we make choices after asking ourselves the first four questions above? Answering the above questions first, will guide you to living a more fulfilling life.
6. How am I going to do it?
After narrowing your focus create a mini action plan for each item. Write down the steps you’ll need to take to make it happen. Focus on one or two things at a time. Don’t try to do everything at once. Give yourself a chance to worker smarter and you will get more done.
Before jumping into your ‘to do’ list, take some time to reflect upon these questions. By doing so you’ll put yourself on a life and/or business path that reflects more of what you really want. Determine your FOCUS first and you’ll experience more fulfillment.