Time Blocking: Things I Do to Stay Organized
I’m not sure about you, but when I have a little too much on my work plate, my brain gets fogged. I lose clarity and get overwhelmed.
Either I feel I will not be able to cope or even worse, not capable enough to cope.
I took a long summer break this time – for a few reasons (more on that later) – but getting back to work was not as easy as I had thought.
As a solopreneur, there is no team that holds fort when you’re on a break. There is no one who can fill in for you because you are ‘gradually’ getting into a routine. You are either in it or not.
There is also this constant fluctuation with ‘I have too much work’ to ‘Oh Gosh! I need to take up more work’.
If one wants to work, and more importantly one wants to enjoy the process, there has to be a method in all the madness.
The ‘being organized & staying on track’ method that I have built for myself over the years, is still my go to tool.
Of course, this can be different for different people. What works for my sanity is time blocks.
20-30 Minutes Per Batch
To begin with, I have accepted that my attention span is just a little better than an average kindergartener (15 mins approx).
Focussing back on my capabilities… Every week I pick up my to-do list (which I make over time) and transfer it to my google calendar.
I slot in all the usual things as ‘tasks’ – work shoots, editing, scripting, writing and most importantly – spill over (happens often).
These are things I usually do on a Saturday morning when I take my younger one for his basketball game. And while this weekly planning helps me get a broad understanding of the week ahead, I need a little more of a breakdown. Hence the need for time blocks.
Each morning, before I begin my work, I take up the task(s) from the calendar and break it up into 20-30 minutes of goals (depending on how excited I am about doing it).
The idea is to achieve a certain amount of progress in that window of 20/30 minutes. The minute the timer (yes, I set one!) goes off, I make sure I leave everything and get away from the workstation for 7-10mins.
Crazy, right? Working for 20 mins and taking a break for 10 mins, who does that?!
I do. And it works.
What’s the Key?
Well, in my case, what really makes this work are those 7-10 minutes of break that comes up at the end of every block!
I have an orange post-it right stuck on the back cover of my handphone. And everytime my mind begins to wander about something, I just make a quick note and get back to work.
During the ‘breaktime’, I indulge – from whatsapp replies, to online browsing. Anything that rolls the ball for me at that moment.
Do I Slip?
I do. There are days which just don’t go as per my plan. But over time I have allowed the disruptions to be not my personal ‘oh I so badly want to’ emotions. Not a complete win there but I am definitely getting better.
While planning and organising is an important part of everyone’s life (more or less), the ways may differ.
If you are looking for something to get your efficiency enhanced, give time blocking a try. And if you have something that works wonders for you, share it with me. I’d love to know and personalise, if possible, for my lifestyle.