The other day after presenting a webinar, I received this message:
Stephanie: I have trouble with time blocking. I don't always feel mentally, emotionally, or physically ready to do what I've scheduled for that specific period. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance. Ann
I'm glad that Ann asked that question! She is not the only one that struggles with time blocking. It is not for everyone.
Today I'll talk about what you can do when the time management technique of time blocking and your brain don't work together.
Time Blocking 101
Time blocking is the practice of using your calendar to “block out” time to work on a project or complete an ongoing task. For example, you may say every 1st Thursday of the month from 9:00 am to 11:00 am I will work on client billing and financial work. Some people refer to it as making a “client-like priority” appointment with yourself.
Why Time Blocking Works for Some
Sometimes project work or ongoing responsibilities don't get done because we are busy putting out fires or just simply don't allocate enough time to complete a task. Time blocking dedicates time on your calendar so other things cannot take it's place. The practice of blocking out time forces us to think through how long an activity will take.
Time Blocking Doesn't Work for Everyone
As Ann mentioned in her question, often when she blocks off time, she finds that she is not inspired to do the work that is allocated for that time. I have to admit, this happens to me sometimes too. Time blocking only works for some activities for me. For example, I have to be in the mood to write; I can't force it. I've altered my schedule to accommodate that by day-blocking. Day-blocking is when you identify a specific day of the week that you will work on something, but not at a specific time. My writing is scheduled for Mondays along with other desk-type activities. Throughout the day I will work on my task list and writing is one of those things I accomplish. That being said, if I get inspired on a Thursday night to write while my family is gone to activities, I do it then too! I strike while the iron is hot where inspiration is concerned!
Procrastination or fear can kill time blocking.
Sometimes no matter how we allocate our time, the work is not getting done because we simply don't want to do it. As you are looking at your time management, be honest with yourself, is it the time management technique, or are you just putting off work you don't want to do?
Alternative to Time Blocking – The Pomodoro Technique
Understand and work based on your priorities. Have a list of the projects that you need/want to complete and use the Pomodoro Technique to get things done. Rather than blocking time for a specific task on your calendar, you set the timer for 25 minutes and work as focused as you can on one project. When the timer goes off, you take a 5 minute break and then do another 25 minutes on another project. This technique works great for many people because you can mentally wrap yourself around working for 25 minutes on something. It does not seem as long, so it becomes doable in our mind.
What do you do?
Help Ann out! Share your techniques for getting things done in the comments. I know she will appreciate it.
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