Action Planning, Business Productivity, Daily Routines & Rituals, Managing Distractions, Personal Productivity, Process Improvement, Task Management, Time blocking, Time Management

Do You Struggle with Time Blocking?

Has this ever happened to you? You started the day motivated, full of good intentions to get a lot accomplished, but nothing got done. You let another productive day slip away.

It’s not easy to keep yourself disciplined and focused on your most important work, especially when you are only accountable to yourself. Interruptions, notifications, email, and interesting information steal our focus and time. It happens to the best of us. How can you stay focused and on task to get your most important work done?

The answer is time blocking.

I mentioned this to a client who said, “I suck at time blocking. But go ahead, let’s talk about it.”

Time blocking is NOT scheduling every minute of your day.

Time blocking is setting aside time on your calendar to do your most important work. It’s simple. Block out a chunk of time to work on your top priority and just do it.

Blocking the time is easy. Doing the right thing during that time isn’t always so easy. So what do you do?

Get crystal clear on the task to be performed during the time block. You want to sit down and do the work, not spend the whole time figuring out what to do. Be specific enough to act.

Protect the time. For real. If this is truly your most important work, silence your phone, shut the door, close open tabs, and eliminate distractions. Put a sign on your door if necessary. No, you don’t have a sec. You want to get in the zone and stay there. The rest of it can wait.

Schedule the right amount of time. Don’t automatically default to a 30-minute or one-hour time block, especially if the task is small. Your most important work may be a 15-minute task. Remember Parkinson’s Law: work expands (or contracts) to fill the time available. Conversely, your most important work may be a bigger project. Break it down into manageable pieces and time block the pieces. Or set a longer time-block and take short breaks to stay fresh, then get back to work.

Don’t time block everything. Time blocking isn’t the same as scheduling. Sure, might have a general plan for batching phone calls, checking email, working on a marketing piece, etc. When everything’s important, nothing’s important.  

Try this tomorrow. Review your priorities and block time to do your most important work. It will take repeated practice to make this a habit, but it’s the repeated action that leads to results.

Personal Productivity, Small Business, Solopreneurs, Task Management, Time Management

5 Baby Steps to Get Things Done

Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

When babies learn to walk, they are focused on that one task at hand, taking one small baby step. They are persistent and persevere, despite many failed attempts. After each attempt we encourage them to try again and we praise the effort as well as the success.  Eventually they are not just walking, they’re running effortlessly. Apply these same principles to achieving your goals and you’ll be off and running in no time!

1. What’s the next step?
Now that you know what your goals are, take each one and ask yourself, “What’s the next step?” You don’t have to have the whole plan mapped out, just the next step. What action is required – finding a phone number, making a phone call, searching the internet, discussing a problem with someone, taking 5 minutes to straighten your desk?

2. When will you take that next step? Notice that I didn’t ask when you will achieve your goal. I just asked when you will make time to take that step. How long will it take you? One minute, 5 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour? Put it on your calendar, daily task list, or group it with similar tasks you’re already planning. If it’s a difficult task, schedule it when you have the most energy.

3. Take that baby step! Here comes the hard part for most people – just doing it! We find a million excuses to put it off because we just don’t have time. The reality is that many baby steps take less than 2 minutes to accomplish. Remember, they’re baby steps.

4. Give yourself credit. You did it! You took the first baby step toward reaching your goal. Did you give yourself an “atta-girl” or ‘atta-boy” for your success? Doing something, taking one baby step, just took you one step closer to reaching your goal.

5. Evaluate and repeat. Okay, what happened? Did you successfully complete the task or do you need to try again or do something else? Keep the momentum going and go back to the top. What’s the next step?

Personal Productivity, Solopreneurs, Task Management, Time Management, Uncategorized

5 Easy Steps to Partner Up and Get Things Done

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Are you struggling to stay on task and focused on what needs to be done? It’s easier and more fun to partner up with a friend do it together.

An accountability partner can help you stay focused and motivated as you work toward achieving your goals. My partner and I meet weekly by phone to check in and make sure we have done what we said we would do. She holds my feet to the fire, helps me work through the hard parts, and motivates me with her progress. We get more done because we know we have to check in with each other every week.

Take these 5 easy steps:

1. Select your partner.
A friend, colleague, family member, or coach who is supportive and helpful is a good choice.

2. Have a regular time to check in weekly. Meeting weekly keeps you focused and accountable. It also helps you to break your goal down into small steps that you can take daily or weekly.

3. Commit to taking action every week. You can make time daily or weekly for what’s really important to you. Sometimes it’s as simple as completing a five-minute task that takes you to the next step and over a big hurdle.

4. Celebrate your successes; learn from your challenges. Every step toward your goal is a small victory, and small victories add up to big results. If you come across a challenge, brainstorm new strategies and tactics to overcome it.

5. Don’t give up! It’s about progress, not perfection. If you stray from your plan, start again right now and continue to make progress. Good enough is better than did not start.