With today’s fast-paced society, people wear many hats and sometimes wish for more hours in the day to get everything done. We all juggle work, family and various recreational activities. It’s a wonder we ever get anything accomplished at all. The first time I heard about the term “time blocking” was when I worked for an accident reconstruction firm and my manager gave me some advice to block out time for various activities and virtually guaranteed I’d get more work done. Her advice paid off and I learned how to become more organized and productive with my time. This article will explain how to utilize time blocking to become more efficient in business and work.
Example of a Business Professional Utilizing Time Blocking for Success
Gary Keller is the national best-selling author of the book, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. Mr. Keller is the Chairman of the Board and cofounder of Keller Williams Realty, Inc. which consistently holds the position of #1 real estate company in North America. His New York Times bestselling books have sold more than 1.3 million copies. Mr. Keller has said, “I guard my time fiercely and without apology.”
What a simple, yet profound thing to say. One of the reasons he has become so successful is because he has learned how to guard his time and not waste it on unproductive activities. Mr. Keller has used the time blocking technique in his professional and personal life to become a more productive individual and contributing member of society. For his own personal experience, he defines this technique as dedicating several hours to accomplishing a single task. Such specific commitment helps to strengthen his focus and eradicates any distractions threatening to derail his success. (Source: Stephanie Vozza: Entrepreneur.com) Mr. Keller advises that his time blocking techniques “may sound extreme, but it’s honestly one of the simplest and most effective tactics for anyone to live by.”
Time Blocking Techniques Mr. Keller Utilizes to Be More Productive
Step # 1: Ascertain Your Main Goal
If you want to make the time blocking technique successful for your professional and personal lives, you need to first ascertain your main goal. In Mr. Keller’s experience, he usually takes time at the beginning of the year to identify his # 1 priority. He asks himself, “what’s the one thing which, when tackled, will make everything else I have to do easier or unnecessary?” Sounds like a simple question, but you do need to put some thought into it. After he ascertains this “thing” then he creates his time blocking schedule and reserves the first four hours each day to tackle this “project.” Personally, I like his motto which I’ll paraphrase. Everything else in your day is a distraction until the number one priority is completed.
Step # 2: Change Your Thinking on What Time Means
This is one of my favorite steps that Keller shares. It correlates to his earlier mentioned statement about “guarding his time fiercely without apology.” Keller defines the difference between “clock” time and “event” time. In my experience, I have always operated on clock time. I arrived to work for my 9 – 5 job and left at 5 pm and then continued operating as the time passed throughout the evening trying to accomplish tasks at home. Keller claims that operating on “event” time is better toward becoming more productive each day. He bases his time blocking scheduling on accomplishing goals or events rather than watching the hours tick by. With determination, Keller focuses completely on the four hour time block before getting sucked into answering emails, calls or attending meetings.
Step # 3: Schedule a Reflection Time
It’s important to schedule a time for reflection. Where are you and where do you want to be? If you don’t allow for a reflection time, your time blocking technique won’t be as effective. I like Keller’s description of the reflection time as taking a pause before he hits the start button again. Keller said, “I set aside a day each year for annual planning, an hour each month for monthly planning and an hour each week for weekly planning.”
Step # 4: Schedule Time Off
This step is crucial because we all need time to decompress from the many stressors in our professional and personal lives. During Keller’s planning stage at the beginning of the year, he makes sure to block off some long weekends and vacations. According to Keller, “If we know where we’re going and what we want to accomplish, this gives us amazing clarity on our priority.”
Online Resources for Time Blocking
Share Time Table – is a free online resource tool for scheduling. It can be utilized for your time blocking schedule. It can be used by one individual or multiple users. The program can be easily integrated into your site for sharing with others in your office.
Google Calendar – is another free online service. Users can share schedules with co-workers so they can see your calendar and view the schedules that others have shared with you. This resource can work well with you scheduling your time blocking.
Using the time blocking techniques that Gary Keller utilizes will help you to become more efficient in your business dealings and at work. This process begins with ascertaining your main priority. Learning the difference between clock time and event time is important. The last two steps are also vital to decompressing. You need to schedule a reflection time and time off from work.
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