Time Blocking Techniques That Will Propel Business Productivity
(a podcast snippathon episode)
Hello, and welcome back to the Snippathon around planning 2021 and 2022.
Today we are looking at time blocking. So we’re using the information that you gathered previously. What we’re going to do is take the information that you’ve found from tracking your time, and we’re going to figure out how we’re going to block-off set periods of time, in order to help us be more productive and structured.
Why are we doing time blocking?
You know what you’re doing with your time, it’s time to give yourself some structure. If you can give yourself some structure, it will stop the day from running away from you, it will reduce the time that you spend on unproductive activities.
We’ve all been there with the social media black hole. This enables you then to focus your time on what will drive your business and projects forwards, what is going to make a difference in your business, what is going to move that needle as it were to make changes and make things happen.
If we are always going to continue doing what we’ve always done, then you’re always going to get out of it what you’ve always got.
How are we going to make these changes?
So we are going to carve out that time to enable us to make changes in our business, freeing up the time for those key activities… Which of course is sales, being up there as one of those key activities. If you’re not business developing, if you’re not generating more sales, then it becomes very difficult, you’re very restricted in the resources available to you financially. Then you have to make cuts, or you have to take on more work. And yes, that is potentially going to mean that you have to deliver to more people.
But it’s also going to provide you with the necessary income to help you to build your business and provide those resources, those potential human resources or technical resources that you need to help you to make your business more sustainable, and more enjoyable. We don’t want to be scraping around and doing all the jobs, whether you like them, you hate them, you’re great at them, you’re rubbish at them – you don’t want to be doing that.
Are you a procrastinator? This will help
So it’s also reducing the potential for procrastination if you are very clear when you come on into your day. This is why I like people doing the blocking out on a Friday afternoon or on a Sunday evening ahead of the week ahead of them because they know what tasks they need to do. They’ve got that information there. And then they slot it down into that week, it also reduces stress because you’re thinking “I need to do this, I need to do that”. If there genuinely aren’t the hours in the day, then you can know upfront before you try to do some superhuman effort.
Equally, if you do think “you know what, I really need to get this done”, then maybe you’re going to have to adjust things, maybe you’re going to have to work in the evening or do something different.
Hopefully, you’re convinced now that this is a great idea. Just to throw it in there, just to get you over that line, if you’re still not convinced…
The most successful people out there in business, in life, do this time blocking – Google it!
So how do you do it? Well, you get your list of activities from time tracking, or knowledge of what you know you do. I know that I have client-facing time, I know that I’ve got admin time. And I’ve got social media time, and I’ve got content creation time, which includes podcasting. It’s fitting all those elements into your diary, how long do these things take? So have that list of activities right next to it – how long do they take on average? Or how long do you think you should have them take?
And that’s the thing, sometimes we’re in that social media black hole. I’ve had clients who have gone from being in that black hole and feeling like they spend three, four hours a day on social media, to them spending half an hour, three times a day.
And actually, that’s got them better results, because they’re more focused and they’re more driven.
You’re wanting to block out time in your diary based on the average time that it takes or how long you want to spend on it.
Make these numbers realistic, you’re not “superhuman”.
If it normally takes you three hours to do something, don’t give yourself an hour and a half. Unless of course, you’ve made major changes which justifies that slicing in half of the time it’s going to take.
Add in breaks. Now, you know, you’re not superhuman, you are going to need to go to the toilet, you are going to need to eat something. Otherwise, your brain isn’t going to function so well. And then it’s going to take you longer to do these tasks. So build that in, allow yourself that time. Allow time for mopping up, at the end of client-call day, I have a mop-up time where I will be sending things out to them. I will be responding to queries for my one-to-one clients who have access to me on Messenger, and so I’ll have all those activities written in there to do as my mop-up time.
Are you an early bird or a night owl?
If you work well in the morning, if you’re a creative person and you need to write copy or design something – most of the creatives I work with work better in the morning (surprisingly) – then schedule that time for the morning. Why would you put yourself in a position where you’re doing the activity that needs the most energy later on in the day? Allow that time, support that time, block it out and protect it.
If you get distracted by emails, schedule them for later. So if you’re that creative who comes in and you want to get raring to go, then why then put a spanner in the works? Customer queries, requests, questions, accounting queries to deal with – Leave them.
Is it going to matter? If you answer those in three hours rather than immediately? If the answer is no, it’s not going to matter, then brilliant, do that scheduling. And if you think you know what, that person really can’t wait that long when you go through your emails, you prioritize them, and then you answer the ones that are really important or have them go into a different box so you’re not then distracted by the other ones. Or what I got one of my clients recently to do was get the key clients who are on retainer, who may need access or may need something very quickly, to message them. So they use text messages or WhatsApp Messenger, rather than the email process.
Keep sense checking and testing and tweaking these times.
If you’re taking longer to do a test then change that, if that task isn’t working where it is, move it.
But what you want to do is get in a position where you’re able to use the diary and have those time resources working for you.
As a team, we get together on a Monday morning, and we sort through what the priorities are for the week. Then those become a total spanner in the works of what I was wanting to do in the first place. So I sit down, and I tweak my diary blocking for the week after that session. So that I know what projects are planned – for example, I know there’s going to be filming. And so there are particular days where I can do this. And then if there’s anything else, if there’s anything extracurricular that crops up, then I can put that in one of those blocks.
Be realistic with your time blocking
I’m realistic, I can’t do any more than that. If I’ve got a two-hour block, and I normally do content, and somebody wants me to do something else, then the content is going to have to suffer. Or I’m going to have to be realistic and cut down the content so I do less content, so I can slice this in. But you can have those blocks in place for ad hoc stuff, and then just fill in the titles later. So there really is no excuse. If you want more information, or more insight into this, then please do jump into the Facebook group Selling Without Sleaze and you can ask questions in there and I will answer them.
Bye for now, I’m looking forward to reviewing 2021 with you in the next blog. Bye for now – Happy Selling!
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