I have read a number of different blogs and links about time blocking but I feel that we need to simplify this mysterious world of TIME blocking. Here are 3 easy steps to increase your work productivity by 50% and have a better work life balance.
What are we talking about?
After coming back from my vacation and meeting a number of my colleagues some of which have worked during the parts of the vacation. The message has been unanimous “It has been fantastic to be able to do productive work whilst everybody has been away”.
So how can we all benefit from this?
By using a system of scheduling segments of each day in a work week for specific tasks, scheduling time to read e-mail, perform follow-ups from meetings and identifying what really needs to be done in a working week.
Start by sitting down, own your own, for 30 minutes on a Sunday evening or even better Monday morning and start to prepare.
1. Identify what is important (tasks) to do this week into these categories:
- Important tasks, i.e. tasks that you must do this week, need to be prioritized where these need you be fully focused.
- Tasks that you be good to do but must not be completed this week.
- Meetings that you must attend.
- Tasks that can be delegated.
- Tasks that need not be done at all.
2. Schedule time in your digital calendar – “TIME BLOCK”
- Plan your important tasks in your calendar exactly when you are at your best to perform fully focused tasks. Block time in your calendar for at least 30 minutes per task.
Remember to find a workspace where you can have your focus fully on the tasks. Switch off your telephone, your email and any other distractions that you have around you.
- Schedule reactive time after your meetings. Often you are assign work to do / follow-up on after a meeting. Schedule at least a 30 minutes block after a meeting to complete these tasks.
- Schedule at least on collaboration / mingle / fika blocks per day, just to able to discuss over a (virtual) coffee your thoughts with some other than yourself.
- Schedule reflection time. Block time to be able to reflect on the work you are doing, analyse what has been good and bad, identify what you should do to be a happier person.
- Block time in your calendar for your private life and leisure time. It is normally the easiest time to neglect and to give away when stressed. It is the most important time for you to plan to be able to have a life work balance.
3. Be honest.
- Being honest is defining and prioritizing the tasks correctly, delegating the right tasks, keeping a record about the task that you have not complete, not cheating by using more time than you have allocated and throwing away your private time and leisure time.
- Being honest is not taking one other tasks that you have not planned for, either because you have forgotten or have been delegated to you, without re-planning your week.
- Being honest is making sure that when you are in a fully focus block, to remove ALL distractions. It takes around 20 minutes to re-enter a fully focus mode if you have been disrupted by an SMS, phone call, tweet, email etc.
- Being honest is placing yourself in the right environment to perform your tasks. Accept that you need a meeting room or a quite spot or a private space or a coffee-house depending on the task that you need to perform.
Your calendar should change from being nose to tail meetings or focus work to a fully focused blocks, meeting blocks, reactive time blocks, reflection blocks and private/leisure blocks, very quickly. Directly you will find that you have the ability to deliver more, be more efficient and productive and of course have a better life work balance.