Scheduling Time Blocks
The demands on our time are greater now than ever before. With information coming at us faster than we can digest it, responsibilities handed to us faster than we can handle them and communication moving at breakneck speed, finding ways to fit as much as possible into your day is a daunting task to say the least. But there is a way to get more done of what you want and need with less distraction, and it’s a strategy that you likely employ for some things already.
You have to schedule stuff. Not just the appointment-specific stuff, but all of the stuff that matters. You can do that by scheduling time blocks.
The one great equalizer that all of humanity has is time. No one has twenty-five hours in their day; we all have twenty-four. How we choose to use those hours is what separates us. By scheduling the stuff that matters (from the urgent to the crucial), you’ll be spending those hours far more wisely. In addition, you’ll be living your days proactively rather than reactively.
Scheduling: It Isn’t Just For Work Anymore
Oh, and scheduling blocks of time doesn’t just have to involve work-related stuff. I was having coffee with a friend this week and he told me that he blocks out every week a set amount of time to have coffee with me. That’s brilliant. It creates a standing appointment for him that he knows is coming, and it’s something he enjoys doing and doesn’t want to let it slide. During our coffee visits we’re able to disconnect from our devices, have stimulating conversations that stay with us well past our time together and enjoy a quality cup of coffee as well. There weekly get-togethers are something I look forward to every week. Their value lies in the company I’m keeping and the time it gives me to recharge my batteries and replenish my creative juices. So I’m scheduling them as well. They are as crucial to me as my writing, so they can’t afford to be missed.
I have also started to block out time for reading, which is crucial to me as a writer who wants to get better at his craft. Other areas I’ve started to block out times of my day for include:
Homework time with my children. That time is sacred and can’t be moved around. Children need to know that their parents are there to help nurture their minds and spirit and they need to learn routines. This time with them offers both.
Date night with my wife. Even if it’s at home watching a movie or reading together quietly, it’s something that promotes a healthy relationship. While it can be moved around, it is something that we’re trying to lock down. It’s a work in progress – much like a marriage.
Sporting events on television. I do my best to watch every Seattle Seahawks football game that I can. It’s a Sunday ritual that I truly enjoy, so much so that my family knows that when I put on my jersey that it’s time for the game.
Time blocking is like a helpful jigsaw puzzle: you use it to see how priorities fit within your time.
The reality is, distractions and competition for your attention will “push” your time blocks around – and I do suggest rescheduling your time blocks as they happen. You can quickly shift incomplete tasks to another day and see in real time how your schedule is shaping up before taking on new commitments.