Does Your Calendar Control You?
Do you feel overwhelmed by your calendar as much as I do at times? Are you controlling your calendar, or does your calendar control you? I had to ask myself that question a couple years ago, because I felt very overwhelmed by the things to do on my calendar. I decided to start controlling it myself. So today I want to talk about how to calendar block your week, or time block your calendar, to be more productive.
I adopted this calendar blocking system a while back, and it’s worked wonders for me. I own two businesses – I have a very large direct marketing team, as well as a coaching business. I’m also a mom and wife, and overall just a busy person! This system really gets me organized and helps me be more productive.Share this method with your Twitter followers!Click To Tweet
What Is Time Blocking?
What is calendar blocking, you might be wondering? Well, in a nutshell, it’s really just a place to dump your events, tasks, and jobs in one place. It’s taking your calendar and using the blocks on it to space out your routines. Google calendar is a great app, and I know there are dozens of others, but I’m kind of old school, and I just use the old paper and pencil routine.
Here are some how-to’s for my tried-and-true calendar blocking system.
1. The first thing you need to do is simply make a list of the things that matter to you that you do every day. These are things that no matter what, they get done. Things like the gym, or email correspondence, or other regularly scheduled activities. Make that list to begin.
2. Next, write the time you want your day to start and the time you want your day to end. I’m a big proponent of having quiet time in the mornings, so I know for me personally, I cannot grab my phone right away. It doesn’t start me off on a good note. You owe it to yourself to ease into your day and get things figured out in your brain before you begin. But whatever your routine is, decide when it’s all going to begin.
3. Simply begin filling in your routine of the day from the list you made. Do you go to the gym? Going to the gym first is non-negotiable for me so I can take care of myself first. Is it carpooling? Driving to work? Lunch time? Church? Start plugging in those times because those are part of your daily routine.
4. Begin adding activities that don’t necessarily happen at the same time every week. Like sporting events, meetings, phone calls scheduled. Plug in things that make your business or day run. For me, I know there are certain days I need to work with my team, and certain days where I need to coach my clients. Some days, I have to do my marketing for myself. See below for a specific breakdown of that! But begin plugging those random but consistent activities and meetings in.
5. This step usually happens on the weekend for me, but I take 20 minutes on either Saturday or Sunday, and I begin prepping my next week’s calendar. I begin filling in those activities and those non-negotiables for the following week so that I can look ahead and plan a little.
6. This is something we all probably do every day, but it’s so important – reflection. I review my calendar, what I accomplished, what needs to be pushed off, what needs room for improvement, and what I did correctly. A time of reflection is really important. I do that at the end of the day, and it sort of gives me peace and lets me prepare for what I can do better or differently tomorrow.
So there you have it! These are the 6 basic steps of time blocking. When I coach people, I tell them they must have times blocked off on the calendar for everything, or else it’s so easy to procrastinate and make excuses. It happens often to me, especially when I don’t have things written down! Flying by the seat of your pants just doesn’t work.
Now as I said, I have a good old fashioned paper and pencil calendar. I buy a pack of markers, and I have my activities color-coded. I know that on Mondays I have a coaching client, and I want to give her my full attention, so I block out a space and she has her own color. On Mondays I also volunteer at my son’s school. That’s always written on there.
Tuesdays I devote to my business, my planning, social media, videos…I block that time out so I know I won’t schedule anything else. Wednesdays I have a personal coach that I work with, so I know she and I will talk in the afternoon and I devote that hour to her. That’s non-negotiable because I know my business needs to grow.
Thursdays I know I have to reach out to new clients and follow up with older clients. Then on Fridays, I work with a group of amazing women on the phone, and it’s also a catch-up day. That’s a snapshot of my week, and it’s all color-coded and organized!
Dollars and Cents Tools
Let me add, I also try to block off a day in the month, usually at the end, to go through any bills, expenses, or whatever else it may be for my businesses. Anything I need to turn into my accountant gets done on that day. I like to call that day my “dollars and cents” day!
Lastly, I wanted to share a tool that I’ve found extremely useful. There’s an amazing app called Calendly that people can schedule things with me through. They can set up appointments and phone calls through that app.
I simply go in and block off the times I’m not available, so they can choose a time that works best for both of us. It’s so wonderful, and it eliminates a lot of wasted time trying to communicate back and forth to find a time to meet!
Time Blocking Is Key!
Whether you’re a business owner, team leader, or the manager of your household, whatever it may be…time blocking has been so effective for me. It makes me feel like I’m not just a hamster on a wheel, but rather, it makes me productive and makes me see how well I’m doing and where I can improve.
I hope you got some value out of this system. Please feel free to share it with your fellow team leaders, team members, bosses, family members…anyone who could use a little help getting organized! Don’t be overwhelmed by life, and don’t let your calendar control you…get yourself organized one block at a time!