The value of time is precious in all aspects of our lives but when it comes to handling the ever-changing environment of entrepreneurship, optimising the use of 24-hour window is crucial.
We’ve all felt those chasing our tail moments catch up with us, along with that dreaded feeling that there really isn’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.
Well, not anymore, gang!
Bookmark this post for the aforementioned periods when time runs away with you and use it as a checklist to help you re-align with your core, needle-moving tasks.
Time blocking can be a total life-saver when the to-do list starts feeling like someone is secretly adding more tasks when you aren’t looking. Initially, you’ll have to take some time to organise the actual time-blocking but then once it’s done it’s just like following another system – the smooth-sailing kind that saves brain power and reduces decision fatigue throughout your day.
Firstly, take a look at all of the existing tasks on your to-do list as well as the main recurring tasks included in your general workload. Are there recurring themes or groups of tasks that you can identify? For example; admin, writing proposals, invoicing, client work, responding to emails.
From here you can start dividing your day or week into core blocks of time. Each block is dedicated to completing specific tasks or groups of tasks identified above. Instead of keeping an ongoing, open-ended to-do list of things you’ll get to when you can, you’ll start each day with a clearly outlined plan and an understanding of what you’re working on and when.
There are many reasons why time-blocking can be so effective but perhaps the most popular one is that it promotes deep-focused work. By scheduling specific chunks of time to one task or project, you’re able to bring your full focus to that rather than spreading your attention thin across several tasks over time. You gradually build up your mental muscles and train your brain for deep work which makes it easier to stay focused in the long run.
An extension to time blocking tasks is to include buffer time and to leave some white space to deal with potential interruptions too. This means that if something does crop up unexpectedly and needs your attention urgently, you can deal with it without the panic that it will throw your entire schedule off.
Make life outside of work a priority
The norm for many of us is to treat life outside of work like a back-up plan, something to do when the work is completed. We tend to put our work first and assume that everything else will fall into place around that work. It’s time to stop labelling the personal elements of our lives as distractions and avoid becoming complacent with the things and people around us who shape our lives on a daily basis. Managing our time better requires boundaries and an easy place to start is to establish clear boundaries between your work and home life. Put the personal things into your calendar as key events and start planning your time around family, friends and time for self-care. The importance of boundaries is a whole other conversation but when we have boundaries and deadlines in place, we learn to manage our time during working hours much more productively rather than letting everything flow over and feel never-ending.