It’s great to have a plan, but in order to actually execute the plan, you need to make room for it in your life. Here are a couple of tools that have helped me execute time and again.
Time Blocking & Batching are concepts that have personally helped me work way better and get more done with less stress. I did not invent these strategies, I’ve learned from others. But I will tell you this–they are game-changers. It’s easy to dismiss a host of small decisions as “not that big of a deal,” but people who get shit done, KNOW the power of batching and time blocking. Try it out. I swear, it truly helps you regain precious time to spend on the things you value most.
Time blocking this is a concept that is used a lot in the business world. It can be a really great tool to help you get things done. And as we know our lives are scattered frenetic disrupted focus and progress really comes by doing one thing at a time. Most of us have a lot of things going on, right? So we need to find ways to simplify. So that our brains can can handle (and excel) at the task at hand.
I love this quote by Cal Newport of the author of Deep Work:
“A 40-hour time-blocked work week, I estimate, produces the same amount of output as a 60+ hour work week pursued without structure.”
So that gives you just a little bit of perspective of how much more efficient this way of looking at calendaring out your time. But what is time blocking exactly? Here’s an illustration that compares what a typical work day might look like for most folks versus a day structured by larger blocks of time spent on each type of task.
As you can see on the left, we have a typical day. Maybe this is a writer who starts their day pitching and then they move on and have some meetings and then they’re doing a little bit of writing and then they’re posting on social media and then they’re pitching and then they’re doing meetings, etc. You get the idea.
It’s very broken up into small pieces and kind of all over the board. And what happens is that
our brains are really NOT built for multitasking and code switching or process switching like that. So in between each of those tasks we’re losing precious ability to focus, make decisions, and the time lost in getting our minds back into gear to focus on the next thing.
Blocking Out Time & Tasks
So if we block time out for specific tasks and only focus on those during the designated time period it really can helps us to work in synchronicity with our own physiology. In turn, we end up being more efficient, focused, and accomplish more meaningful progress.
I’m not saying this works for everybody, but I I definitely helps me. I’ve been using time blocking for probably almost two decades now and it’s a godsend, especially if like me, you have ADHD Inattentive Type.
Sometimes if I have a big project I will even block out a whole or half day just to get solid, less distracted time on it.
You can apply this to most any task or project in your life. In fact, I encourage my clients to block time out every week where all they are working on is their brand.
For instance, let’s say you’re gonna work on your author brand-building or platform-building every Monday morning from 9 am to 10 AM. The to-do list may change but the focus is clear.
That’s the basic premise. To learn more about this method, please check out this in-depth guide on Time Blocking (ToDoist.com).
Now the next productivity method in a way, is really similar to blocking. The difference is that you’re collating or “batching” activities together. So let’s take a look back at the previous infographic. Let’s say you’re time blocking 8am to 11am to work only on writing. Perhaps you have an essay to write and you are also working on your book. You could combine those two tasks into this one block of time if they are related.
Now, let’s say you take an hour to meal plan every Sunday–you are batching the time, research, and creativity it takes to plan out 14 meals, but because you’re doing it all at once rather than parsing it out each day, your mind can focus and be more efficient, leaving more room for other things you want to prioritize.
So when it comes to your author branding, perhaps you’ve set aside that hour every Monday morning. This is when you can batch things like:
- creating all of your social media posts for the week at once and scheduling them to post
- researching your Ideal Readers and putting together an Ideal Reader profile
- writing your weekly newsletter
Batching is most commonly used for recurring activities that can be lumped together in less frequent iterations.
One of my favorite things to batch is checking my mail. I don’t need to check my mail every single day of the week. Usually, I can just do it once a week, say every Friday.
What that does is it frees my brain up for being able to think about less things on a daily basis, which in turn helps me focus on what’s most important.
Watch this short video by Tim Ferris on batching. His book, The Four-Hour Workweek is where I first learned about this game-changing concept.
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