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Block Scheduling to Increase your Productivity

Block scheduling
photo credit: Marcela Macias Photography

You reply to an Instagram story, adjust the logo you’re working on for a client, then read an email while looking at fancy markers on Amazon. Finally, you reply to the email after re-reading it since you forgot the details.

If you’re anything like most entrepreneurs, you switch between 437 tasks each hour.

Sadly, tons of research shows that context switching or switching between tasks, kills our productivity, focus and attention span.

That’s why block scheduling (also called time blocking) is so powerful.

If you block schedule, you literally block out chunks of your time to work on one specific task or one project at a time. This allows you to pay attention to the task at hand and do it with focus, here’s how you can block schedule your next workweek.

1. Plan time to work on your business

Why do I want you to do this first? Usually work takes the amount of time you schedule in for it. So, by making absolutely sure that working on your business is in your calendar, we know it will actually get done next week. Use a small business management platform to help you achieve this.

2. Set fixed times when you reply to emails

Now this tip has ticked some of my clients off. How dare I suggest it, email is important, and you should know the second it comes in!

Should you, though?

Although some messages are important, by leaving our email open the whole day, we are ruled by other people’s schedules. They get to decide when we should pay attention and we spend the entire day reacting instead of acting. You know if you see an important client or Rising Tide sends you an email, you’re going to peek.

So why not eliminate the distraction, and read and reply to your email twice a day? You’ll be able to concentrate much better for the rest of the day.

3. Schedule in your breaks.

Does this seem silly? Maybe. Have I skipped a lunch since scheduling this in? No.

I take a short coffee break at 10 am and a full hour for lunch. Refueling and getting refreshed is important if you want to do great work throughout the day – so schedule in when you will actually prepare and eat lunch. Use a client workflow automation software so that you have more time for your breaks.

4. Look at where all of your client projects are, and what needs to happen next week.

Now block out a chunk of time to work on that project. I like to work on projects in 2 or 4 hour increments, but you can experiment and see what works for you.

Depending on what you do, you could add deliverables to each block that should be completed after the block is over.

5. Make a list of everything that is left over from this week (or even earlier)

Schedule these in next. If there are a lot of small tasks left over, consider scheduling a power hour to work on knocking all of them out in one go. Make sure you have the list of everything that needs to happen ready.

6. Schedule in work that needs to happen for your business

Whether it’s writing blog posts, recording videos or creating Instagram posts, make sure you dedicate some time for it. Use an online meeting scheduler to make sure your meetings are on track too.

During the time you work on your business you should have decided on strategies or changes you want to make. This is the time to actually execute on these as well as all the other day-to-day tasks.

Why planning your week on Friday is incredible

I love doing this process on Friday.

I start the day by following up with leads, sending my weekly reports to OBM clients and admin tasks like invoicing and processing receipts. Then I sit down and plan for the week ahead.

I highly recommend doing your planning on Friday. That way you finish up the week with an inventory of everything that got done you can start the weekend knowing what is coming up next week.

This gives you the mental space to actually focus on enjoying your time off work. Not only will block scheduling help you increase your personal productivity, the sense on control over your time makes most people happier too!

Want to start block scheduling? Here’s a video on how to do it in Google Calendar:

Ready to finally master time management, ditch the overwhelm, and increase your productivity in life and business? Get our Ultimate Guide to Time Management.

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