Using a Block Schedule to Manage Your Time

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive has to do with finding time to do things.  Where do I find the time to blog on top of running two businesses and do it well?  Where do I find the time to read all the business books I always recommend on The Smart Planner?

First, finding time is a myth.  No one finds an extra hour just laying in their desk drawer. The trick is in making the most of the time you already have.  I consider blogging and studying business-related material an integral part of my business structure, so I purposefully set up my schedule and make these tasks a part of my weekly workflow, not something that is in addition to it.

One of the best ways to do this is to restructure your workflow schedule so that you can work on tasks without being constantly interrupted.  Tomorrow I'll talk more about how you can cut down on distractions and interruptions and be more productive, but today I wanted to share the foundation of how I set up my work weeks.  The "secret", if it can be called that, is a block schedule.

This visual example is from Ron Dawson of Cinematic Studios and he has given me permission to share it with you here.  My weekly calendar doesn't look exactly like this (not to mention our task lists are very different), but it is similar in that time is blocked into chunks that focus on certain tasks.  Here is Ron's example:

block schedule time management

You can read more about what each block in Ron's schedule represents and how he makes it work for him on his blog.

By setting my own workflow in a block schedule, I have dedicated time every week to work in my business - on design and planning projects for wedding clients, or writing blog posts, for example, as well as time to work on my business, either on marketing tasks, reading business books, etc. 

I am a big fan of this method, but I am curious to hear your opinions on it.  Do you think a block schedule would work for your business?  Why or why not?

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