Happy New Year! Can you believe we’re already in 2016? I’ll be honest, last year flew by, and I’m sure this year will be no exception. It’s time to make those New Year’s Resolutions again (ugh, I know!) – and hopefully stick to at least some of them 😉 After going through my friend Amy Kazor’s Faith Filled Annual Planning Experience these past two years, I’ve embraced the idea of creating “intentions” rather than “resolutions”. Just changing that word helps me feel like I can accomplish more – crazy how mindset works, right?
Part of the process includes creating your intentions for the coming year. I personally like to create both business and personal intentions. As business owners, we all want our businesses to be productive, so every year you have to look at ways to increase productivity. Because we all know the formula: increased productivity yields increased profits. Whether this is making a physical product, or being more productive with your time, we’re all looking for ways to be more productive. One idea I’ve found to be helpful (for me) is calendar blocking.
This isn’t a new concept…you may have seen it called “calendaring” as well. It’s been around a little while and you may have heard of it before. I know I’ve seen other bloggers write about it. But, if this is a new concept to you, or you never thought you would try it, hear me out 😉
The concept is simple: plan everything on your calendar. Meaning: block the time for everything you do in your day on your calendar. EV-RY-THING. While this may seem a bit extreme to some, others will find this comforting.
Now, there are two general ways I have seen this done. The first way is to block time for every specific task you need to do during the day: work out, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, write blog post, schedule social media, schedule doctor appointment, etc. While this is awesome for some people, it didn’t work for me. I found that I was always having to redo my calendar because tasks would take more time than I allotted, or I couldn’t complete phone calls during that time because I would have to leave a message (and then block of another time slot for the return/follow-up phone call). All this rearranging took more time out of my day – not to mention the part of me that likes to finish things once I start them was going crazy every time I couldn’t complete something!
So I opted for the second way of calendaring: block large chunks of time to get certain things done off my checklist. For example: an hour to work on social media content – whether that is writing Facebook Posts, scheduling posts in Buffer, finding/creating/scheduling pins on Pinterest, etc. There’s 30 minute windows for me to check/reply to email. I have hours blocked off throughout the week for bookkeeping. So, when I get to that block of time on my schedule, I go to my checklist in Asana and see what needs to get done and start checking things off. Yes, I have to go to two different places, but that works for me. There are calendars and apps that you can put your to-do list on your calendar in your blocks, so that may work better for you.
To be honest, my calendar is a bit of a combination of both types of calendaring. For my personal stuff, I tend to do put in the specific times: doctor appointments, working out, daily devotion time, etc. because if I don’t put it in, it won’t get done. Once my business day starts, it is more of the large chunks of time. This is the combination I have found to work best for me. You’ll find what works best for you 🙂
So why does blocking time in your calendar help you be more productive? Consider this:
- When you make time to do certain things, they get done.
- When you see what you need to accomplish during that day/week/month, you can plan ahead.
- When you see what you actually have time for, you feel more confident saying “no” to things that won’t fit on your calendar.
- You can keep track of your hours better, if you need to, for invoicing.
- Feeling like you accomplish your goals during that time block empowers and motivates you…which builds momentum and makes you more productive as it “snowballs”.
How about you? Do you use calendaring or time-blocking? Do you have any other tips to add?