Blocking Time Works
Blocking Time is SMART because there is a huge difference between writing out a list of to-do’s and writing them in time blocking format. Taking 15 minute, 30 minute, or 1-hour time blocks to plan tasks and projects make the tasks and projects more manageable. It is that simple. Or, so you would think.
Frustratingly enough, it only looks simple, until you figure out when the best time is to do the tasks and projects. You see, we all have certain times of the day or night when we work best. For example, do you write best in the morning, before lunch, after lunch, or at night? If you check email first thing in the morning, do you find you look up, and it is two hours later?
Rocking Time Blocking
Try tasks at times that you think are best for you. If they do not work in that time block, give yourself grace and try a different time block. I say to give yourself about three to four weeks of testing. You should know what works by then.
As for me, I am very proud of myself. I used my time management technique of blocking time to work on projects throughout the week. One of the projects was to organize my little bookcase in my new office space. It was such a small thing, yet I still had to block time to do it. In the end, I realized it did not take as long as I thought.
Small baby steps are more manageable than trying to complete an entire project in one sitting. It just took convincing myself to stop after short bursts. I also set a timer for many of my tasks until I got back into the habit of only spending 15 or 30 minutes on each. When it is a writing assignment, I block 1 hour.
Here is a related post on our Busy Woman Facebook Fan Page that said, “Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other. ~Walter Elliot” Get it? Short bursts of time or bite-size pieces.
Breaking projects down into bite-sized pieces makes it easier to complete large tasks. –Susie Glennan
Early To Bed, Early To Rise
Have you heard Benjamin Franklin’s saying, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”? For those who do well in the morning, this is spot on. My take on the reasoning behind this is that if you stay up late and wake early, you may not be getting enough rest to have optimum focus and energy for your day.
It is also silent early in the morning. At least, more than regular morning versus early morning. I like this time. There is something about the early morning when it is not quite daylight, but not dark that works well for me.
Also, I read in a Fast Company article this tidbit, “…listening to silence for two hours every day prompted the subjects’ brains to grow new cells in the hippocampus, which is related to our brain’s memory abilities.”
Read more about that here: Quiet Doesn’t Cut It: Why Your Brain Might Work Better In Silence
However, if you are a night person, I say, “Late to bed, late to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” You are the one who knows your body clock. Listen to it. We are all born with our own inherent traits and tendencies.
I remember when my daughter the artist was about 4. She would get up sometime between 2, and 4 am and draw full storylines on the whiteboard in the kitchen. I do not know how long she was up, but she slept in until about 11 am. To this day, she is still a night owl and does some of her best work at night.
While you can, and people do work at night, this second article found on Fast Company tells you Why Being A Morning Person Will Make You Better At Your Job.
Then And Now
In my prior life, I loved waking up early to a silent morning and get ready for the day. I had a special rhythm that included a stop at a local coffee shop on the way to work. Everyone knew my drink, said howdy, and that helped jump-start my day.
Additionally, I was blessed to start my work day an hour earlier than everyone else. This gave me much-needed silence to prepare for a long and loud day.
When I came back home to work, my biggest struggle was to get up early in the morning. My routine and time blocks were not in place. No longer was there a boss giving me tasks or projects with deadlines.
There was no reason to get up early (yet), and I fell back into a habit of staying up late with my husband, watching the news and late night shows. While I LOVED this time with him, I loved getting up early and going to bed early even more.
It was difficult giving up my daily coffee run until I got into a new routine. Now, I am back to waking up early, having coffee and breakfast with my dear husband, then starting my day.
How about the rest of you? Did you accomplish what you had hoped? Have you set up a schedule that works for you? Please help others by sharing what works for you in the comments.
©2014, 2018 Susie Glennan
All Rights Reserved.
Joy McDonald says
I love working with blocks of time, I’ve always found that to work best for me… I used to be an early riser, but not so much anymore now that the kids are older 🙂 xx
I know what you mean Joy…on all accounts. 🙂
I love the late to rise quote. My best friend is a night owl and I’m an early bird. I sent her a screenshot and she loved it! 🙂
Better to respond late than never. I was looking to share one of my blocking time blog posts and saw that I missed responding to you. I am so happy this positively affected you and I hope your friend like the screenshot. Blessings and Peace, Susie
Peggy Babb says
Sometimes, challenging myself to see how much I can get in a specific time is helpful. It is another way of using a block of time.
Susie Glennan says
That’s perfect Peggy! I sometimes do that myself. Speaking of that, I think I’ll do that right now. I am half way through a project and would love to finish before the weekend. 🙂
I’m still working on finding my stride and blocking my time at the beginning of the week so stay on track. Thanks for the encouraging post. It CAN be done!
Susie Glennan says
Yes it can! I was often so perfect in my routine when I was in my 20’s and 30’s with young children. Now that I’m an empty nester, it is more difficult. But I just keep swimming… just keep swimming… just keep swimming swimming swimming… lalalalaaaaa