When you are in a creative business, managing your time effectively is one of the most essential tasks! Answering emails or jumping at client requests can bog you down. Additionally, client prospecting and marketing can fall to the bottom of your endless must-do task list. Time blocking is essential for fitting everything into your busy life.
Follow these guidelines and your productivity is sure to skyrocket. I have tested these principles myself and with our Alice’s Table event hosts around the country; they work!
Designate time for emails
Your entire day can be consumed sitting in your inbox! As the emails roll in and you jump to answer them (or star them to deal with later – we all do it) the clock keeps ticking.
Take thirty minutes to an hour when you first get into the office (or the basement in my case) to reply to emails. If you are on the clock you will certainly answer more of those pesky things you don’t feel like responding to. I do a quick check in at lunchtime to make sure there are no fires in my inbox and then I block the last forty five minutes of my day for email as well. You will suddenly become an efficient emailer and not derail your entire day. Also, your team and clients will learn your habits and anticipate when you will answer their requests. A total win-win!
Theme your days
As creatives our minds are always racing! I am sure there are a million things you need to accomplish over the course of a week. Theming your days can actually make you organize your task list more efficiently and minimize the time you spend switching from right-brain to left-brain.
I designate one day for each of the following: marketing, prospecting, finances, and so on. When I have a task that I know needs to get done, I add it to my list for the appropriate day. For example, I send all invoices and check in on my cash flow on Wednesdays. The beauty of designating days is that if you run out of must do tasks on a particular day, it allows you time to tackle some of the larger long-term projects in that particular area. For example with finance, it isn’t urgent but I do need to put together our projections for 2017. Having a day cleared for all tasks financial allows me the time to work on longer-term projects.
Additionally, creativity takes time! By blocking out time you give yourself the freedom to spend time being creative. Perhaps you block Tuesdays for creativity and don’t schedule any meetings that day. You will find yourself with a lot more available energy for your creative process!
Make your task list bite size
When you block out time for particular tasks, make sure they are things you can complete. Having a task that says, “hire writer” is really difficult to accomplish in an hour! Instead creating tasks like, “post writing job on Craig’s List” and “post about writers wanted to insta.” Now these tasks can be checked off the list and you can move on to the next one!
When we time block we are essentially eliminating many distractions that we face throughout the day. Leaving space in our minds for accomplishment. This habit will not form over night, give yourself a few weeks to learn the routine and you will be off to the races!
Do you use time blocking? How has it worked for you? Drop me a line in the comments.