If you’ve followed me for any amount of time you know I’m a total time junkie and love to know the ROI of every minute of every day. Now I know that sounds a little narcotic and I’ll agree that it can be but knowing how I’m spending my minutes, hours and days and when I’ll have to hustle vs. when there will be a break is life saving.
I talk to a LOT of business owners and over and over I hear how overwhelmed they are or how they just don’t know how they’re going to get it all done. And guess what?? I get it! I’ve been there! But guys, it doesn’t have to feel that way!
In this episode, I’m breaking down the Top 5 reasons entrepreneurs tell me that time blocking doesn’t work. And I’m also going to tell you why they’re wrong! Time blocking works when you make it work for you! It’s a discipline and like all other disciplines, you have to stick with it and find a rhythm and then and only then will you begin to see the light! And you’ll think…why haven’t I done this before????
Time blocking is the un-lock to figuring out this elusive idea of work life balance. While I don’t think anyone will ever be able to define exactly work/life balance is, I do think that blocking time for work, time for family and time for your own mental health is imperative to feeling balanced as a busy business owner.
At the end of this episode if you feel like you want to dive more into what time blocking is and the step by step to get started and make it work for you, I invite you to download my free video tutorial “Time Blocking for Busy Entrepreneurs”. It’s a step by step video tutorial to show you how to get back your time and break out of that dirty word….BUSY!
Ok, so first let’s define what time blocking is. Time blocking is simply the practice of planning out every moment of your day in advance and dedicating specific time “blocks” for certain tasks and responsibilities. Wait a second….every minute of every day?? Stick with me friends…we’ll get to that part.
The #1 reason I love time blocking is it helps me to understand if I’m over committed or if I have open time to add in a project I’ve been wanting to get on my list. Instead of filling that open time with waste like scrolling social media or trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do next, each minute of my day is planned to bring me the best return on my investment!
Before you start with time blocking there is 1 non-negotiable….you must use an electronic calendar. Now while I prefer google calendar, I don’t really care which one that you use…I’ll let that be up to you but if you’re a paper planner type, you’re going to need to make the change. Time blocking is structured but life happens and it will be fluid and it will be necessary for you to be able to easily adjust blocks as needed by simply moving them around on your calendar.
Now that we have that settled, let’s jump into the Top 5 Reasons that time blocking doesn’t work.
#1 – “I got distracted”. I mean…come on! Who doesn’t right?? In a world of constant notifications it nearly impossible not to. So this is why it’s time to turn off the notifications! That’s right…I said it! No one needs your attention instantly so stop giving it to them!
In my world, I get notifications for calls, texts and whatsapp only. All other notifications are OFF. If someone sends me an email, I don’t know. If someone tags me on FB, I don’t know. DM on Insta, I’ll find out later. The temptation is too great to get distracted when you her that “ding”. And then you end up in a rabbit hole that sucks an hour of your time that you can never get back!! AH!
So right now….literally, right now. Hit pause and go into all of your notifications and turn them off! It will be weird at first but as exciting as it is to get a new notification it’s even better when you log into FB after being gone for 6 hours to see lots of notes that you can now spend some dedicated time to respond to!
#2 – “I didn’t finish a block”. This one will happen often and it’s totally ok. When you put a block of time on your calendar you’re estimating how much time it will take you to accomplish that task and sometimes we under-estimate.
When your time is up for the task you’re working on and it’s not done the most common thing we do is just keep plowing through. Then we move onto the next thing 45 minutes late and realize at the end of the day we didn’t get to our last 3 blocks and one of them was DUE TODAY!
Don’t do this! Instead, when the block is up, take a second to think about how much of a priority that task is. If it HAS to be done today, look at the rest of your blocks for the day and move any to the next day that don’t need to be done today. If the task you’re working isn’t due for a few more days, create another block of time later in the week to finish it. But do not, I repeat, do NOT just barrel through. It will mess up the rest of your blocks and will leave you feeling defeated at the end of the day.
#3 – “I didn’t have everything I needed to get the project done”. Ok…so let’s go back to some time blocking basics. When you have a project you need to get done, you need to break that project down into smaller tasks. For instance, if I need to write a timeline for a client, before I can write the timeline I need to call each vendor to confirm their times, call the venue to confirm the time we get access, etc…. So if I just put 2 hours on Wednesday to “write the smith timeline” I will realize when I sit down that I can’t actually write the timeline that day because I haven’t confirmed with each fo the vendors yet. So what I’m going to be doing is spending at least the first hour calling vendors and hoping they all pickup (which they won’t) so I’ll be waiting for them to message me back! And now I’m behind.
Break projects down into tasks so you can work on the task at hand when it’s scheduled. So for this I would have put an hour on Monday morning to call all vendors (or email…your preference) and as I got their responses I would pull them into a single note in the client’s file. This way, on Wednesday when I sit down to put together the timeline I can pull out the note in the file and blast it out in no time!
#4 – “ I didn’t even have time to pee!”. Hahah! This one is the best! For me personally, it was And sometimes still is” that I didn’t make time to eat. Ugh! Either way, make sure to leave some white space. Leave a buffer between tasks to grab coffee, go potty, talk to a co-worker, check on the kids or just take a breath! Life happens and the point of time blocking is to add sanity to your day so make sure to schedule in breaks and white space so you will stay on schedule and feel calm and collected when you do!
#5 – “I just wasn’t feeling it!”. Oh friends….I’ve used this one more than anyone ok! But heres’ what I’ve learned. All humans have creative pockets in their day. For most of us, that is the earlier part of the day…before lunch. For some of us it may be later afternoon. Either way, figure out when yours is and schedule approporiately. Do NOT schedule time for social media content planning at 3pm if you’re hitting your afternoon slump at that time.
Or schedule yourself to create a design board for a client at 4pm when you know you’re at your most creative in early morning.
Schedule creative blocks when you are most creative so that your juices will be flowing and you’ll be excited to get your visions out to the world! There are PLENTY of non creative things you can do at other times of the day when it’s more task management or bookkeeping or emails!
Alright so let’s recap the 5 things you can do TO make time blocking work!
1 – Turn off your notifications. Be in your inbox when you have scheduled time for it and not all day. Turn off all social notifications as well. Eliminate the desire to check in!
2 – Re-evaluate throughout the day to ensure you’re staying on task. If you need to adjust your blocks, that’s where the electronic calendar comes into play! Just move it to another time slot!
3 – Be prepared! Make sure that projects are broken down into tasks and that you add the tasks to your calendar in the order they need to be done so you have everything you need when you sit down to knock out a block!
4 – Schedule breaks. You will need to potty. You will need to eat. They’re just basic human functions!! So schedule time to do these things so you stay on task and don’t get defeated!
5 – Schedule creative time at your most creative hours! If you’re most creative in the morning, be sure to schedule right brained activities during this time so you avoid the writers block or staring a blank white screen!
That’s it friends!! It’s time to STOP letting your calendar run you and for you to take back control of your days and hours!
If you’re ready to see how time blocking can help you to feel less overwhelm, less craziness and start feeling the balance that we all long for, download my free video tutorial “Time Blocking for Busy Entrepreneurs”. This will walk you through step by step how to build your blocks, how to avoid pitfalls, how to ensure you’re scheduling in family time, me time and all the other times you need to be a well-rounded successful business owner!
As always if you loved this episode I’d like to invite you to share it with a friend on Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook. Tag me on all 3 @brandeegaar so I can say thank you!
And if this content was helpful to you, I cannot tell you how much it would mean to me if you would take 2 minutes to pop over to Apple Podcasts and leave a review! I absolutely love reading them and am so encouraged to sit down at the mic week after week when I see how many of you are growing your businesses through the content I’m sharing!
I help creative business owners sustainably scale their business so they can create a thriving career and work-life balance.
small biz coach
I have experience speaking at both live and virtual events, educating creative and wedding entrepreneurs how to step into their role as CEO. If you're looking for speakers for your next conference, workshop, event, or the next guest for your podcast, I'd love to see how we can collaborate!
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