With summer coming to an end and my two biggest kids in school it’s been such a reminder of how chaotic things can feel when there is no routine or schedule in place.
And even moreso, the importance of having time blocked in my schedule for me to focus on my well-being. When people ask how I do it all, I attribute it to prioritizing myself and the easiest way I’ve found to do that is with time blocking my schedule.
As female founders and women in leadership, our days are often a whirlwind of activities, with a seemingly endless to-do list and a calendar full of appointments and commitments. Despite our best efforts, we find ourselves struggling to manage our time effectively, feeling overwhelmed, and falling short of achieving a balanced life.
The constant challenge of trying to excel in our businesses, take care of our families, and make time for ourselves can leave us feeling like time is slipping through our fingers.
I’m sure you’ve tried various time management techniques or productivity apps, but they often fall short of providing a comprehensive solution. The reality is that conventional approaches may not address the root cause of our time management struggles.
That's where the power of time blocking comes in—a transformative technique that helps us regain control of our time and align our daily actions with our long-term goals.
Blocking my time for the needs and desires of my family, my business and myself has been a game-changer for me and my clients. By allocating specific time slots for different tasks and responsibilities, you can create a well-structured daily or weekly schedule that fosters productivity, reduces stress, and helps you maintain a balanced life.
The Perils of Poor Time Management
Time management is an ongoing struggle for many of us. We often find ourselves multitasking, responding reactively to incoming requests, and feeling like we're spread too thin.
When you can’t manage your time well you feel frustrated and overwhelmed constantly - like you are never going to get where you need to be. This lack of focus and structure makes you less productive… causing even more frustration and overwhelm.
If you don’t learn how to manage your time well, your responsibilities will always feel too heavy. And with that comes stress and neglecting yourself and your relationships, which isn’t what any of us want.
Managing your time helps you manage your life and if you want to be able to have better balance so you can make time for self-care, exercise or spending quality time with the people you love it’s time to find a better way.
And one of the most hidden detrimental effects of poor time management is the fact that it hinders your growth or can stop you from pursuing new opportunities.
What seems like a simple technique to edit your calendar can actually change your life.
The Benefits of Time Blocking
Time blocking is a method that involves dividing your day into distinct time periods, each dedicated to specific tasks or activities. By creating a well-structured schedule, you can focus on one task at a time, minimize distractions, and make intentional choices about how you use your time.
When you utilize time blocking it can help you in multiple ways that all add up to life feeling better and a mother running business.
One of my favorite things about using time blocking is how it helps me focus and be more productive. By dedicating uninterrupted blocks of time to specific tasks, I immerse myself fully in each activity or project I am working on.
As leaders we are making decisions all day, leading to what is called “decision fatigue”, pre-planning your schedule reduces the need to constantly decide what to do next, freeing up mental energy for more critical tasks.
When you have specific time blocks it allows you to allocate time for work, family, personal interests, and self-care, and promotes a more balanced life. This gives you the white space you need to breathe and time to form deeper relationships with people you love.
As I talked about last week in the blog, prioritization can save your life. Time blocking helps you set aside time for important tasks, helps you prioritize what truly matters and ensures that essential responsibilities are not neglected.
And as rigid as time blocking may seem, it just as easy to adapt and be flexible when you can clearly see your full schedule of responsibilities and drag and drop to another time/date. This works with the real life scenarios of unexpected things popping up and being able to handle what’s on your plate.
How to Time Block Your Calendar
Shifting your whole calendar can feel overwhelming, but don’t shy away from doing this if you really want more balance in your work & life.
Here’s a few simple things to implement right now to get your time and freedom back:
1. Assess Your Current Time Usage:
Start by tracking how you spend your time for a few days or a week. Identify patterns and areas where time is wasted or mismanaged. Once you are aware of where you are losing time, you can get more of it back. You can also download my free PDF 10 Time Drains That Hold Business Owners Captive to help you see where you are losing time.
2. Prioritize Your Tasks and Responsibilities:
Determine your most important tasks and responsibilities. These should align with your long-term goals and have a significant impact on your business and personal life. Base these on your goals for yourself and your company, not what you think other people want for you.
3. Allocate Time Blocks for Specific Activities:
Create time blocks in your schedule for focused work, meetings, family time, self-care, and other essential activities. Be realistic about the time needed for each task. Don’t overbook yourself or overlap appointments.
4. Minimize Distractions:
During your time blocks, minimize distractions by turning off notifications, setting your phone on silent, and informing colleagues or family members of your focused work time. Using Do Not Disturb during my work blocks is KEY for me.
5. Be Flexible but Consistent:
While flexibility is crucial, try to maintain a consistent routine. Set aside specific days and times for recurring activities to establish a sense of structure. Incorporating routines at times where you know that 90% of the time it’s going to be possible will help you develop confidence in keeping promises to yourself. (You can join the 5am club with me!)
6. Include Breaks and Buffer Time:
Allow for breaks between time blocks and buffer time for unexpected events or tasks that may take longer than anticipated. I call this “white space” and tell clients to always time block with at least 15-30 minutes between tasks so you can decrease the chronic sense of urgency that so many leaders feel.
Time blocking is a powerful technique that can revolutionize how female founders and women in leadership manage their time. By allocating specific time slots for different tasks and responsibilities, you can regain control of your life and achieve a harmonious balance between your personal and professional worlds.
Embrace the benefits of enhanced focus, reduced stress, and improved productivity by implementing actionable steps to master time blocking. Remember, with a well-structured schedule, you can confidently take charge of your time and work towards your long-term goals, all while maintaining a balanced and fulfilling life.