12 Time Blocking Tips for a Super Simple Weekly Schedule


Time Blocking Tips for a Super Simple Weekly Schedule | Feeling overwhelmed by all the things you have to do? Not sure how you’re going to get them all done? This post will help! It includes 12 productivity hacks to simplify your week and get tons of stuff done, PLUS a free time blocking template. Click through to see all the tips!
Time Blocking Tips for a Super Simple Weekly Schedule | Feeling overwhelmed by all the things you have to do? Not sure how you’re going to get them all done? This post will help! It includes 12 productivity hacks for entrepreneurs and bloggers to help you simplify your week and get tons of stuff done, PLUS a free time blocking template. Click through to see all the tips!

Weekly Time Blocking Template for a Super Simple Schedule | Feeling overwhelmed by all the things you have to do? Not sure how you’re going to get them all done? This post will help! It includes 12 productivity hacks for entrepreneurs and bloggers to help you simplify your week and get tons of stuff done, PLUS a free time blocking template. Click through to see all the tips!You know what every entrepreneur has in common?

We all have a million things to do, and not enough time to get it all done.

But feeling scattered, flustered, and generally overwhelmed can be one of the worst feelings, especially when we feel like we’re doing everything we can and want to focus on the “the right” things to take our blog biz to the next level. Having a to-do list that crushes you – instead of you crushing it – is just not going to work.

A while back I wrote this post where I shared the time blocking template I use to organize my week and get things done.

Hands-down, this is my most popular post to date! So if you feel like you’re juggling too many things and have no idea which to tackle first, you’re not alone, sister.

Today, I’m sharing a handful of things that will help you get the most benefit from the time blocking template, so that everything gets done in a way that makes you feel calm, centered and in control of your week.

Now, this is easier said than done, I know! But there’s a way to make sure you stay on track, and that has a lot to do with how you manage time blocking, which I’m going to walk you through right now.

Download the time blocking template here so you can get started.

[ SETTING GOALS AND TASKS ]

First things first, we need to set some goals so that we have a clear focus:

1) Create a high-level plan

Before we start time blocking, it’s important to have high-level goals and milestones in mind for what you want to achieve. If you’ve followed my last post, you already have or are working on your 12-month plan (at a minimum, your 3-month plan). This will make is so much easier to plan your week, because you’ll have clearly-defined focus areas and priorities.

When you’re creating goals and milestones, there’s no need to be uber-specific. That will come later. What you’re going for here is more of a bird’s eye view of your business and the general things you should working on.

2) Make a list of tasks

Next up, break down your big vision goals into weekly tasks so you can start achieving them.

Yep. I’m sayin’ it again because I really want you to get this. Make sure you set tasks for each of the 4 buckets from our Blog Profit Plan (content, traffic, subscribers, profit).

Beyond that, the most important step here, and what you can’t forget to do, is to prioritize your the tasks on your work schedule template. Some things on your list will be a high priority and others not so much. Your high priority tasks are the ones you MUST do, no excuses! That means when other things come up you postpone them or put them aside so you can address the things you absolutely have to get done.

I know, so much easier to say than to do! This is one of those things that will make a world of difference if you can stick to it.

Essentially, what you’re going to do is look at your tasks like this:

  • Must-do: will take over 2 hours
  • Must-do: 1-2 hours
  • Must-do: 15-30 minutes
  • Nice-to-do: over 2 hours
  • Nice-to-do: 1-2 hours
  • Nice-to-do: 15-30 minutes

If you want, you can use colored post-its to help you visually see must-do vs nice-to-do tasks.

Let me clarify one thing that will help you get the most benefit from time blocking:

Nice-to-do tasks are just that: it would be nice if you could get to them. That means it would be a major perk if, once you complete your must-do’s, you have extra time to crush these too.  If you don’t get to them, no sweat. You’ll simply roll them over to the next week (and I’m going to show you how to do this next).

Must-do tasks get scheduled first, and then nice-to-do’s get put on the calendar after that. With me?

3) Start time blocking

Nothing makes you feel more defeated than when you have a million things to do and at the end of the day you haven’t gotten to one of them. No more of that noise with time blocking, k? We’re going to know how much we can really get done on any given day so that we can feel pumped and excited!

How do we do it?

This is where we turn all of our “over 2 hour”, “1-2 hour” tasks into individual time blocks. Plus, we’re going to get very specific with what we plan to do each day, right down to each 15-minute break.

It’s important to include business and personal tasks in your time blocks. You want errrrthang in there. What that looks like is if your daughter’s play date is on Wednesday at 3 pm, you block out time for it. Dropping shirts off on Tuesday? Block it out, baby! You’d be amazed at how quickly managing your schedule like this will help you get more done.

It you want, you can grab my time blocking template. Click the image below to download.

Download my Time Block Template to help you increase productivity and get even more stuff done each week!

 

I want you to be super successful with time blocking, so the next steps are about working the template to get the most benefit from it. I’m giving you all the juicy productivity habits I’ve developed by using this killer tool.

Ready for it? Let’s start working the template.

[ HOW TO WORK THE TIME BLOCK TEMPLATE ]

4) Schedule must-do’s when you’re most productive

This is one those things that’s a biggie but doesn’t seem like it. Match your must-do tasks to your most productive hours. Are you a night owl? Or, maybe you like to get a head start before the world wakes up in the morning. what I’m trying to say is block out those times for your most important work. For instance, If you’re the most “on” in the morning, that’s when you want to write your content, NOT when you want to be commenting on Instagram or checking your email!

5) Schedule tasks at the same time each day

Maybe in the morning you create content, then you break for lunch at 1pm. In the afternoon you run errands, manage client projects, juggle meetings and appointments, and so on. Slotting recurring tasks like these at the same time every day will help you get into a routine with them.

For instance, I check in on social media in the early morning and then later in the evening, when I’m catching up on Hulu. I also use the mornings to coordinate with my team. The rest of the day is creating content and working on client projects. I also try to eat breakfast and lunch at the same time each day. I highly recommend approaching everything on your weekly schedule template like this, even those things that you can’t cancel because they involve other people (eg, play dates). Try to plan ahead so you can schedule them at the same time.

6) Include everything that might pop up

This is jumping off from the previous step. I’ve found that what derails my schedule more than anything else are the personal things I need to do that slip my mind when I’m planning the week. Like running to the bank. Like working out. Like going to pick up a prescription. Like running to Home Depot. Like… Like… Like…

All these things should go on your list. Now they may not be must-do’s, so you’d want to work them around your priority tasks. But if you need to do them, make sure you include them. Otherwise, you’ll think you can write that entire blog post today, but whoops! You can’t actually. Then that bleeds into the next day, and so on.

Once you start getting off track like this, it’s easy to feel defeated. A better way is to include everything you can think of so you set yourself up for success.

7) Focus on one task at a time

Whatever you do, stop multi-tasking. Like right now! There’s no way you can email a client, jump out to Facebook, create an Instagram image, schedule your social media, and write a post at the same time. So stop thinking that you can!

The solve here is to focus on the one thing you have to do right now. You’ve already blocked out time for it on your time schedule template, which means you’ve made it a priority and identified that it needs to get done. Now it’s time to follow through with it. Done means done here. Don’t start the next task until you complete the previous one.

Even if it means that you don’t get to that second task for 2-3 weeks, that’s the way it goes! You’re going to feel so much more accomplished this way because you won’t have a dozen projects up in the air, floating around in Neverdoneland.

8) Give yourself enough time to complete tasks

Sometimes there’s a gap between what you think you can do and what you can actually do. Kinda like ordering mussels, rock shrimp, and crab cakes when all you can eat are the mussels.

The reason for the gap is because some “over 2 hours” tasks are more like 8-hour projects. Heck, you may not even finish them in a day! That’s the kind of gap that can mess up more than just your schedule.

It sets off a domino effect where you feel like you’re falling behind, even when you’re actually rockin’ your to-do list. And that feeling all started from under-estimating how long a task would take.

The best way to avoid this is to be as accurate and realistic as you possibly can. Give yourself enough time to do the task, and even then, give yourself some wiggle room. If you think a task will take 3 hours, double up and set aside 6 hours for it (I find this is usually more accurate).

Whatever you do, don’t trick yourself into thinking you can get an 8-hour task done in 3. I speak from major experience with this one! I used to block out just a few hours to write my posts, simply because I wanted to be able to write them in under 3 hours. But it never happens! Like EVER. And I’ve tried so many times. Ugh.

Anyway, the point here is that by “wishing” my posts to take 3 hours, I’d plan the afternoon to get even more stuff done. In actuality, writing a blog post plus creating images is a full-day event for me, and I’ve learned to be realistic and block out the time I need. You will want to do the same thing with your time blocks.

9) Turn off your cell phone and email

Like the plague! It’s easy to allow yourself to get distracted. I actually find myself looking for distractions. I check my junk mail, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, anything I can get my hands on. I remember there’s that eggplant lasagna recipe I wanted to try. Whoops! Forgot to text my friend, Laura. Must do that too…

We’re all victims of shiny object syndrome. When something seems too far, too large, too hard, too unknown, we start reaching for busy things so we can feel productive.

But being busy isn’t the same thing as being productive.

What helps me stay extra focused is turning off my email, cell phone, and even social media during my most productive hours.

HOLD UP. Shut them down?

Yep. Log out. Turn them off.

Wait until the end of the day, mid-day, or whatever you choose to turn them back on. Point is to avoid temptations and distractions so you can focus on what’s in front of you so you can get it done. Your texts and emails will be there later. Promise 🙂

10) Review and reschedule

There will definitely, most absolutely, be tasks that you can’t get to. Plan for it. Know it. Whatever you do, don’t get flustered by it! In fact, you should expect it. That’s why we’re throwing a time blocking party! Woop Woop!

At the end of each day, review what you were able to get done and reschedule anything that didn’t get done. This way you’ll wake up fresh the next day, knowing where you left off and ready to tackle the new items.

Psst…Make sure you create include reviewing your schedule in the time blocking template. It usually takes me about 15 minutes (at the end of the day) to review what I did/didn’t get to and shuffle things around for the next day.

11) Train your friends + family

You have a set schedule, but let’s be real, you’re a one-person team and only you know that you need to get something done. So you’re answering to yourself here.

Your friends and family may not think the time spent on your blog biz is valuable (yet!). Or, maybe they think that because you work from home you have the flexibility to do, say, whatever…run to the dry cleaners, Home Depot, grocery store…you name it.

This is especially true when your biz is new and you’ve yet to earn money from it.

Here’s where you have to play 2 roles:

Role one: Employer
Role two: Employee

As the employer, you know the items on your list MUST get done. Then there’s the employee (hey there, that’s you too!). You’re also the person who has to get it all done. My point here is that you have a goal you want to achieve, and let’s be brutally honest, it’s only going to happen if you make it happen.

I recommend getting into a habit of saying “no” to random asks that interrupt your schedule. Now, I know from personal experience that you’re going to get push back on this one. If you hang in there and stand your ground, sooner or later the asks will stop coming. This step will get a whole lot easier. Pinky swear.

12) Organize your workflow

This is a biggie. Much bigger than I thought initially.

Where do you keep all the ideas that pop in your head every day? Do you use Evernote? How do you manage projects/team/tasks? With Trello or Asana? What about your files? Are they in Dropbox, and if so, how well organized is everything?

Having a cluttered desktop is the enemy of every effective weekly planner template, including the time blocker. I know this to be true. I’m notorious for creating a new Word doc for every new idea (gotta jot it down quick, right?). When I see them on my desktop the next morning, I’m instantly overwhelmed and flustered. It’s a whole different ball game when I take the time to place the docs in folders that make sense, with names that I recognize and understand.

I recommend coming up with standard workflows for all things administrative – right down to naming conventions – so you have what you need, where you need it, when you need it (and not a minute before). This will help you approach your day with a clear head so you can knock items off your list quickly.

If you want, you can use the time blocking template below to crush your to-do list.

Download my Time Block Template to help you increase productivity and get even more stuff done each week!

There you have it! What’s your favorite time management tool? Have you tried time blocking?

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12 replies
  1. Kathy says:

    Great post! I just started time blocking and it really has made a difference. I finally have a few weeks of blog posts pre-written so that I can spend time with my son on the weeks he doesn’t have summer camp. I wouldn’t have been able to write so many posts without setting time aside to just write – not work on photos, not do social media at the same time, etc., etc., etc.

    Reply
  2. Carrielle Rose says:

    This –> “I used to block out way just a few hours to write my posts, simply because I wanted to be able to write them in under 3 hours. But it never happens! Like EVER. And I’ve tried so many times. Ugh.”

    Sandra, thank you so much for your candor and for sharing your knowledge.

    When you are creating your posts, do you like to spend the eight hours all at once or do you prefer to break it up into writing, editing images, proofing, etc. across a week?

    Reply
    • Sandra Clayton
      Sandra Clayton says:

      Hi Carrielle! I split everything up throughout the week. So for instance I’ll write the post on Monday, create images on Tuesday, SEO/proofread on Wednesday (if I’m including a freebie I’ll create that on Wed too), then promote the post on Thursday. Day off on Friday 🙂 Blogging is definitely a full time job! Hope that helps…

      Reply
  3. Natasha Botkin says:

    Great idea! I used to use color for specifying from right now, in a bit and then can wait of what needs to be accomplished. xoxo

    Reply
  4. Emma Dawn says:

    I love this and going to give it a try. I have never time blocked before but i have always been good with time management. Im sure some of my “always late” friends will like this idea too. I’ll share your post with them

    Reply
    • Sandra Clayton
      Sandra Clayton says:

      HI Emma, So great that you’re naturally good with managing your time 🙂 I usually think I can get more done than I really can, so time blocking helps me be more realistic about what can happen in a day/week. Thanks so much for sharing!

      Reply

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