“You have a choice in life. You can either live on-purpose, according to a plan you’ve set. Or you can live by accident, reacting to the demands of others. The first approach is proactive; the second reactive.” – Michael Hyatt
Intro: In last week’s post I provided my favourite time management hacks for maximum productivity, which will help you keep focused on the tasks at hand when growing and running your business /studio. I this post I will be discussing how to use time blocking within your schedule, as a way to plan for a perfect week. I understand why creating a time blocked schedule can seem daunting at first, or even while creating it, but I promise you, once you see your week or even month all planned out before you, with wiggle room for changes along the way, this will bring about some ease for you, knowing exactly what needs to be accomplished that week while incorporating fun & down time.
An important question to first ask yourself when creating your time-blocked schedule is: “what would my week look like if life went my way, and I had control over 100% of what happens to me, my life & business?”
In this quick-paced society we live in, it can be challenging to buckle down and organise all your unstimulating, and tedious tasks that need to be accomplished in your daily or weekly schedule. That being said, experts say that time blocking can increase your productivity by 150%!
So how does time blocking work?
- For each section of hours or period of time in your day, for example: morning, afternoon, evening & night time; you can assign a certain task to those time sections.
- Alternatively, once you have refined your timetable a little, you can allow only a few hours for a certain task (or even just 30 minutes).
- Don’t forget: Parkinson’s law is the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.
- This ensures you “blocked off” your time from all other tasks, projects, social media etc. when focusing on what you scheduled in for that particular time block. No distractions allowed!
Here’s a couple examples:
- As a dance studio owner you may have a have a few hours in the morning before heading into the studio. You may block off that time for your morning routine, or self care time to do yoga, walk the dog, meditate and make yourself a healthy breakfast. In that time you don’t answer emails, worry about the maintenance of your studio, or check facebook. During studio or office hours which are blocked off in the afternoon, you focusing on the tasks at hand you wrote in your schedule for your studio time. And in the evening you block off time for your family, where you cook and eat with your them, and maybe watch a movie etc.
- Another example is if you are a busy stay at home parent but are working towards your own dreams, and aspirations to work online and build your own business. You would then block off the afternoon, while the kids are attending school to work on those projects.
- Remember that the purpose of time blocking is to block out all other distractions, tasks or duties while focusing on the ones written into your schedule in that particular time block.
So how can you create your own perfect week?
- Record everything you do for a week (or alternatively, reflect & review on a to-do list from a previous week.
- Review: what can only you do from that list? What can you delegate? What could you delete altogether? → meaning to automate or schedule.
- This will allow you a great time to reflect and see what you are actually spending your time on, versus what you think you are spending your time on.
- Group remaining tasks into themes. It’s time to select 7 themes. 5 for each day of the week and 2 for the weekend. Themes could include relaxation, rejuvenation, organisation (more weekend themes), team, content & class planning, CEO day, Project work. Etc.
- As Dance Studio Owners, teaching may not fall into this particular theme, but this is a personal timetable – so that is ok!!
- Allocate recurring tasks to themes. Eg. Team meetings may be on a Team or Development day, Social media scheduling may be on a Studio Advertising & marketing day. You may allocate a day for content & program creation where you write all blog posts, marketing posts, class lesson plans etc.
- From there, you get to play! You just need to decide how you think you are going to work best. Creation at the start of the week? Meetings at the end? At the end of the day, you know you. And making changes while you are trying to adjust to your Dream Week is 100% normal.
- Reminder: Each day has a theme. In addition, each day is segmented according to a specific focus area.
- Each day should include scheduled times for checking emails, returning phone calls etc. If you are still in charge of your social media and required to comment and interact, ensure to allocate a time for that also.
- Select a time during each day where you plan out the next day. Use your diary, planner or the handy pages from our guide to then plan out your day in order and by the hour. Once you get in a pattern & practice more – this shouldn’t take you too long.
- Make sure to print out your Dream week and display at your desk. Record it on your phone or save to Trello. However, make sure you take a copy with you!!
- For the first few weeks, take notes on any clashes or difficulties you are having and adjust accordingly.
- Worried about those little odd jobs? Even those would have a topic or theme. They just need to wait until the scheduled time/day or if you finish a planned task early.
Extra tips when creating your schedule:
- You can create your schedule in whatever form is more effective for you. You can create one on trello, spreadsheets, google doc, whiteboard or calendar, but I will be providing a printable version of an empty time blocked schedule in the download.
- Prioritise your tasks, not just within your week but daily. This will create less stress, knowing you can tacking the bigger, more important issues, and tasks first.
As a business owner you will have many emails to answer, phone calls etc. These are important tasks so you can time block and assign them their own special theme or label on your schedule. A great tip from Michael Hyatt is to communicate those times as “office hours” on your voicemail message and in your email signature so clients, and parents can see when you are available. They will appreciate knowing when you will respond, thus eliminate the guessing game for when they will get their important questions answered.
Lastly remember to leave some blank space in your schedule as new tasks, or plans that may arise. This is doesn’t mean you can forget about the other tasks written in and replace them with new, more fun tasks, but rather leaving some room for flexibility, as life never seems to go exactly as planned, but you can certainly do your best.
Ready to time block your schedule?
Click here to get my FREE Download which include your very own weekly & daily time blocked templates, Claire’s extra tips & more!Download here