Get Control of Your Schedule

Time is one of our most valuable assets. And while we all get the same number of hours in a given week, some people are able to accomplish so much while others struggle to get focused.

Learning to increase your productivity will be instrumental in moving the needle in your business. While it can seem overwhelming, there are so many tips and tricks you can implement now to better manage your time.

So — how do you maximize your time? Easy, start with your end goal and work backward. Then, take a look at your week and identify the things that are urgent and impactful with respect to those goals and sprinkle in the not urgent and impactful stuff that you still need to get done.

Think of it this way, it’s not about massive change — if you can spend 10% of your work time focused on high impact items with a 40 hour workweek you’ll spend an extra 4 hours a week on high impact items and 200+ hours a year (about a month and a half of working time) on high impact items. Imagine the shift you can create with 1.5 months of free time to work on high impact things?

An easy way to get those tasks done is through block scheduling. Block schedules increase productivity because that force you to set specific deadlines and help you focus on completing the tasks on your to-do list.

Block scheduling is the process of grouping similar tasks into a window or a few windows throughout your workweek. For example, instead of emailing prospects randomly throughout the week, schedule a 2-hour block 2 times a week to focus on business development.

The benefit is twofold, not only can you keep the loose ends straight, but you can also have dedicated time to focus in a deep manner on the task. Similarly, if you regularly have a series of phone calls to make, schedule it in a 1-2 hour block and have the other party agree to a time in that block. Use this awareness to ensure our short term efforts lineup with our long term goals.

Here is a 6-step process for block scheduling:

  1. Goal – What are you working toward? You must have clarity around your goals or you won’t be able to measure success.
  2. Brain Dump – List out everything you need to accomplish to achieve your goal.
  3. Time – Take your list and assign a realistic time needed to complete each task. (If you’re not sure how much time a task will take, write down the amount of time you think it will take, then double that.)
  4. Prioritize – Rome wasn’t built in a day, you can’t complete everything in a day either. What is most important or what would bottleneck future tasks? Prioritize those over less important tasks.
  5. Block Schedule – Start grouping similar tasks and blocking them out in your calendar. Know your kryptonite – what are your strengths and weaknesses? When are you more likely to get the deep focus – morning or afternoon?
    – Identify Common Tasks – walk through your workweek
    – Allocate a % of time to each task
    – Rank them by most important/impactful/ROI
    – Picking the timeline for each task – What days/times are the best to do each task?
  6. Review and Adjust – You won’t stick the landing on your first attempt. This process is iterative, it will take regular attention and focus to become great at effectively block scheduling.

Additional Tips:

  • Plan ahead. Take time out of each week and each month to plan ahead. Identify any bottlenecks early.
    Make time for administrative tasks. Dedicate a day, or 1/2 day of each week to making admin type tasks one block – they may not be fun, but at least you can knock it all out together.
    Measure and adjust. As you get more skilled at time blocking, tweak to optimize.
    Making the commitment to block time and group similar tasks. Don’t continue to wing your days.
    Start today. Don’t push it off. Start making that list and putting the tasks in your calendar right away.
    Keep it simple. If the stock schedule is too detailed it will be too complicated to execute for a sustained time period and won’t last
    Be Realistic. Judging how long a task will take is a hard skill to master, and if you’re not confident try to add 30% or double how long you think something will take. Nothing will make you go off scheduling faster than not be able to hit any of the timelines you set out.
    Be patient. Discipline to sit down and think it out…consistently until you start to see the benefits.

Give it a shot. If you need help prioritizing your tasks list and creating your own block schedule, check out our Block Scheduling tool.