Before the beginning of 2019, I did a lot of thinking. It was quite a transition period for me- for the first time in my life I was no longer in school. Now it’s not like I had a lot of free time on my hands- I already co-owned a sales and distribution startup with my friend and business partner Ross.
This was around the same time I decided to start the blog and podcast. I knew that I wanted to pursue another creative outlet which could also serve as a way to help others, but I also knew that it was going to take up a lot of time. And, newsflash: it absolutely has!
I don’t regret it for one second, though. I really enjoy doing this, and I hope to continue to improve as I keep making content. Since taking on this venture, I’ve had to get really good at time management.
One of the first things that I looked to optimize was my daily schedule. It seemed like a pretty simple equation: make a daily schedule + filling it with valuable tasks + time = success. That’s all fine and dandy, but it can be difficult to implement if we do not have a plan.
THAT, my friends, is when I discovered time blocking- and it changed my life! Let’s talk about 5 ways that this method has significantly impacted my routine over the last few months:
- Time blocking prepares my mind for the following day/week
Have you ever heard the advice to lay out the clothes you plan on wearing the next day before you go to bed? This is kind of like that, except on steroids.
My definition of Time Blocking is the practice of categorizing your day into smaller, more manageable segments. These segments can range from 5 minutes to a couple of hours, and can include everything in your day from work, to physical fitness, to personal care and spending time with friends and family.
If you take time each day to plan your next day, then you have already alleviated yourself of unnecessary stress by knowing your schedule. This gives you extra time to strategically think about the tasks you need to complete and empties your mind of clutter.
- Time blocking drastically improves my productivity
I will say this once for all of you to hear: No single practice/tool has had a greater positive impact on my productivity than time blocking. NOTHING!
Every day, my schedule is pretty much built out for me from 7 AM until 10 PM, and that’s been the case since the beginning of 2019. While every single minute of the day doesn’t have a specific assigned task, 85% of it usually does. That may sound like a bit much, but I cannot stress enough how much more I’ve been able to enjoy both work and creating content by placing these time parameters on myself every day.
For me, “working against the clock” gives a sense of urgency that I may not have had otherwise. It says: Get this done, and you only have 30 minutes to do so! Try it out, you’ll become more productive (almost) guaranteed.
- Time blocking eliminates my “need” to multi-task
I used to scoff at the idea of not being able to multi-task. After all, only the unintelligent people of the world have to take things 1 step at a time, right? WRONG.
While multi-tasking makes you think you’re accomplishing 2 things at once, many times we’re actually accomplishing NEITHER thing. Or at best, giving 50% to both tasks rather than 100%.
I don’t feel that I need to spend too much time here. If you need to be convinced that multi-tasking is usually a bad idea, don’t take it from me, take it from Tim Ferris: “Don’t be a donkey!”
- Time blocking allows me to have a micro & macro view of my life/habits
For the first time ever, I was able to have an excellent understanding of what I was doing on the “micro” (day-to-day) AND the macro (year-to-year). It was almost like I had developed a superpower when in reality all I had done was give myself a schedule.
Something that was seemingly so small gave me such a sense of clarity and understanding of my current situation that I began to be more motivated just by reviewing and updating this schedule. I always filled it up with mandatory work first, creative side projects second, and whatever time I had left would go to extra activities or “free time.”
Don’t get it twisted- there are very few days that I do not have some personal time scheduled. You need to take care of yourself, both mentally and physically, because a fat wallet is useless to a sick person. The beautiful thing is that time blocking actually shows you that you CAN have a full life of physical and mental fitness, work, family, and friends if you will take the time to plan!
- Time blocking forces me to be honest with myself
Perhaps the most challenging (yet probably my favorite) aspect of time blocking is that it almost immediately suffocates all of my BS excuses for not being able to do something. What’s even funnier is that the piece of paper, google calendar, or whatever you use never says anything inherently- it only shows what you put in there.
I have definitely fallen victim to binge-watching 20 hours of Netflix over the course of a weekend in the past. I promise you- if you are not in a good spot mentally, physically, or financially and you pull a stunt like that, time blocking will make that type of thing so repulsive to you that you even feel guilty.
Keep in mind, this content is ALWAYS only for those who are not happy with their position in life. If you’re happy, you’ve made it! Keep doing you! But, if you’re not happy; if you’re looking for more; if you feel stuck: I sincerely encourage you to try this out.
What makes up our days will make up our lives, and it is absolutely amazing what we can accomplish by just changing a few small habits and doing them every single day.