3 Reasons Why You Should Try Time-blocking
Many years ago, as a work-at-home mom, I created a color-coded chart that helped corral all the pieces of my life. I didn’t know it had a name (time-blocking), I just knew it was a way to make sure the important things of life were getting the attention it needed. I suspected this system would give me a feeling of balance, help me not forget things, honor relationships, and win some accomplishments.
I thought through what I did in my roles as wife, mother, homeowner, homemaker, direct sales leader, Christian woman involved in my church, daughter, and friend. What did I have to do each week? What promises did I make to others? What projects was I engrossed in and beckoned completion? What was important to me and the people I loved? What values did I desire to live by and honor? For this, I basically did a brain dump on a blank sheet of paper.
Then I designed my perfect morning, afternoon, dinnertime and family time, my perfect evening and ideal weekend. I made certain that the weekly routine blended idealism and realism and included all the things that needed attention. Then I started living the routine with enthusiasm and openness. I played with it and tweaked as I went.
After 18 years of living this way, I have found multiple benefits. I recommend all work at home folks implement this system. It is simply that amazing!
- Time-blocking puts priority on the important things of life. Schedule when you will work. Block out chunks of time to finish tasks. A current project I am working is a book with a tight deadline. I re-tooled my weekly time-block routine and created time for writing. Time-blocking makes big projects possible. This naturally brings a sense of clarity and peace, knowing that you are giving time and attention to important things and people, moving projects forward, and building relationships.
- Time-blocking creates a flow to your week. By choosing up front how you will spend your time, it makes decisions easier, reduces forgetfulness, and creates a calming sense of balance. Need a haircut? Now you know what day you can make the appointment? A friend wants to have lunch with you? Now you know when you can do that. Setting a consultation with a client? Now you know when you work and when you don’t. Getting the picture? Note that when you are creating your time block, it is always helpful to not just schedule “work” all day on Tuesday, for instance. Denote what you will do. For example, Mondays are “marketing Mondays” for me. I take care of things that grow my business. Throughout the remainder of the week, I put marketing related tasks onto my Monday to-do list.
- Time-blocking gives you permission to clock out. When you work at home or work for yourself, it is far too easy to work all the time. In today’s 140-character tweet world, the age of the sound bite, we are a distracted culture. We have wrongly assumed that multi-tasking is where it’s at. What science is proving is what God instituted from the beginning – rest is good for us. Aside from getting a good night’s sleep, we also need downtime. We need time to reflect, pray, sit, breathe deep. During periods of mindfulness, the brain switches into a higher intelligence. Perspective, wisdom, imagination, and creativity kick in. This results in positive emotions and increased energy. Think you don’t have time for 10-20 minutes a day of focused mindfulness or time in the Word? You don’t have time not to. We all need time to unplug from the grind of getting things done. Through a time-block system, you can schedule in some time to just “be”.
To make your own time-block system, I recommend going old school. All it takes is a sheet of paper turned landscape with the days of the week marked across the top and your time frames denoted in the column on the left side. What do you want to earmark for each day and each chunk of time? When will you work? When will you work out, read the Bible, play with your kids, go on a date with your spouse, serve at church, and what else? Try your hand at it.
Let me know how it’s going as you integrate a time-blocking and create a weekly flow of getting the important things done in life.
Written By Julie Stroud
Julie Stroud is the Founder and President of Fervent Coaching. With two decades’ experience as a work at home mom and solopreneur, Julie brings experience, wisdom, and education to the clients she serves. Through coaching and training, Fervent Coaching equips and inspires Christian entrepreneurial women to be God’s best in the marketplace.
Are you a Christian woman entrepreneur with a story of personal and/or professional overcoming? Or does your ministry or business have a strong give-back component that is making a difference locally and/or globally? If you would like your story considered for this blog and upcoming book, contact Julie Stroud at firstname.lastname@example.org.