Friday, 7 March 2014

A Habit for March: Time Blocking

My next habit in the I Think I Can series is a very much needed shift in time management skills. I had this habit planned for February, but ironically I couldn't find the time to think about it! But I quite like that, as it shows how much I really need to learn this one. 

you can buy this beautiful print here.

Blocking time is something I have been trying to master for a long time. I'm better than I used to be, but it seems that I'm only good at it when I don't actually have that much work on. As my schedule gets fuller, my time management skills go out of the window! What I would love is to be able to use the same good habits of time management, both when I'm really busy and when I'm less busy. 

The main aim of time blocking is to train your brain to focus on one thing at a time in short bursts of activity. I'm definitely guilty of trying to do everything at once and ending up achieving not very much... So time blocking is a great way to plan out the day and get more done by trying to do less. 

Here are a few time blocking tips that I'm going to try and put into practice this month:

1// Dedicate 10-20mins at the start of the day to plan. 

Consult to-do lists and be realistic about how long things are going to take and how many things you can get done. Create blocks in the day for each task/project and only work on that thing while you are in that block. 

2// Keep the blocks short and schedule lots of mini breaks.

Working solidly for 25mins at a time and then taking a 5 minute break is way more productive than procrastinating for an hour. This is called the Pomodoro Technique, you can read more about it here (there's also a cheesy but cute video). 

3// Use apps to help. 

I've just downloaded Countdone, which is a timer app that keeps you focused on your task and then tells you when to take a break. I'm using it right now for the first time! So we shall see how that goes... 

4// Find a calendar/diary that works for you. 

I have just switched over from iCal to google calendar as I prefer the interface and the syncing capabilities. But good old pen and paper is a pretty good way to visually block out the day ahead! 

5// Allow yourself the satisfaction of finishing something. 

Brendon Bruchard talks about this in an interview with Marie Forleo (a current fav of mine!) and it makes so much sense! Our internal drive for control naturally wants to see things through from beginning to end, so when we flit from task to task we are denying ourselves that satisfaction. 

So there is my habit for March! Do any of you have any time blocking tips? 

x Rachel 

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