If you’re like me, as an Entrepreneur, you have one hundred things on your plate at any given day. Then of course, there are distractions that get in the way as well which complicates the heck out of everything. So how do you work efficiently and stay on target? By setting time blocks.
I remember about 10 years ago when I first started my business, I would setup time blocks without even knowing it. The night before, I would figure out what needs to be done for the next day and I would draw up plans to get it done. I would write my list of tasks, then next to the tasks, I would write the number of minutes and/or hours it would take next to the task.
While not knowing at the time that this was called a time block, I became very productive as I stuck to schedule and never missed a deadline. Then suddenly, as business progressed and I made a lot of money, I forgot about this and stopped doing it because I got comfortable with all of my hard work and success I initially put in. The trouble with comfort is that it slows you down and you never level up beyond your plateau. Granted, I was still very productive and got things done but not as productive as I would have been if I had set up time blocks.
So how and why are time blocks necessary? first off, on a future post, I will detail how I plan my year, months, days and hours but for this article, I will explain things quickly so it is quicker to digest and pick up. With that said, time blocks are absolutely necessary because it keeps you focused. Say you have 5-7 tasks that must be accomplished by the end of the day, how will you know they will be accomplished in time? By setting up time blocks. Otherwise, like most people, we tend to start something and become distracted by Facebook, email and 10,000 other shiny objects wanting our time and attention. Ultimately, this can form a bad work habit that may be very hard to break over time, especially if you’re working from home like I am.
How to Set Up Time Blocks in 3 Easy Steps:
- Create 5-7 tasks that need to be done for the day but do not go over 7 tasks at a time. If you are going to have more than 7 tasks, I strongly suggest delegating the tasks to your (virtual) assistant or someone else. Anything above 7 tasks will make you overwhelmed. If your tasks are small like take out the trash, then thats fine but as an Entrepreneur, our task lists tend to become complicated needing a lot of time and effort.
- Either use your smartphones built in timer or do like I have and purchase a standalone timer. My timer is awesome – when time is up, it buzzes on my table and its very loud. If I have 30 minutes left till deadline, I often panic and finish a few minutes before deadline just so I don’t hear the alarm along with all of its buzzing.
- Since you will be working intensely, give yourself 10-15 minutes to drink something, go for a casual walk or to rest your mind in between tasks. This allows new energy to enter your mind and body and will give you more energy to start the new task.
The advantage of a time block is that its like an accountability partner and the timer is starring at you dead in the face. Its hard to hide from and you can see the minutes counting down. As I write this article, at this moment, I have 21 minutes left out of 60 – Yes, I give myself 60 minutes to write a blog. No more, no less! My goal is completion, not perfection. If you’re the type that seeks perfection, I’m afraid you will have a hard time with time blocks so my suggestion to you is to create an additional task for fine tuning your work and set it up for the end of the day. This is so you can get as much done as possible.
If it weren’t for time blocks, I would get very little done. I hope you can apply this in your own work and get more done. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments, I respond to all comments!
PS: I have 18 minutes left on my timer. Its 6:15am, I think I will now go to the gym and be back by 7:15 just in time to say goodbye to my girlfriend as she is walking out the door.