Time blocking for busy schedules

I have time blocked for most of my adult life albeit mostly in my head or in list form. My Dad is pretty similar to me in that he plans his day and I think this is how my schedule making started. I’m not talking just work here though. In my Dad’s case he goes to the extreme and no-one dares to throw a new idea in the mix on a Saturday afternoon such as a spontaneous trip to Costa, for my Dad’s day is planned in finite detail down to the tip run, changing that light bulb and lining his ingredients up on the kitchen side ready for cooking that evening. I should say I don’t go to these extremes but my brain works in this logical way which is unusual for a creative (my Dad is an Engineer so for him it is second nature).

Take today for example, before I dared move (because both kids were in my bed) I had already planned my day. I knew I had a dozen work actions but I also knew that today would be a no go for these because a) it was the first day of term and I had the morning battle to contend with and b) I had my 3 yr old at home with me today. So instead I decided to accept that clients would have to wait and make productive use of my day sans work. So I planned my day from 9am to 3pm, blocking time out to visit one of my best friends in our favourite cafe (treat!) followed by 2 hours of post-holiday housework and an hour of tea party play time with the tot. I threw in a half hour dog walk to boot and I even found 15 minutes to send some follow up emails to 6 potential clients. Winning.

I found that I was indeed a little like my Dad though as I ticked off more detailed tasks from my list such as load dishwasher and clean inside windows, however I prioritised these ten minute jobs within their alloted block and pushed anything that I could manage whilst kids put their pjs on such as changing the sheets, until later.

The concept of timeblocking will be familiar to anyone that follows the amazing Lisa Johnson’s advice (Lisa Johnson Coaching). And since partaking in her Fabulous Foundations course and joining her membership group GSD Society I have started to write my timeblocking down – more-so for my business though because I am human and as much as I love to tick those items off the list, I also know that I could get carried away and turn into my Dad at any moment.

Has anyone had any good or bad experiences with timeblocking?

1 Comment on Timeblocking

  1. This piece was destined for my blog but I thought it should also go here…

    Having the right tools

    Sometimes, just walking up Twynhams Hill, feels more like climbing Everest. At others it’s a breeze and I don’t even notice it.
    It struck me today, as I almost sauntered up the incline with one of the dogs, that life is a series of hills that we have to climb. Sometimes they are steep, sometimes gentle and the same slope you climbed effortlessly yesterday can seem more difficult to get over today.

    Today, I took our four and a half year-old border terrier, Charlie, for a walk. When on the lead, Charlie has issues when he meets another dog coming towards him. He goes into panic mode and begins growling and straining on the leash.
    Walks used to be quite traumatic as he’d often spin round in his blind panic and on a couple of occasions has caught my leg with his bared teeth.
    A wonderful dog trainer gave me the tools I needed to stop this happening. He told me which lead to use, how to put myself in charge and how to stop Charlie’s mounting anxiety from escalating. This method is working and walks have become a lot calmer. However, I rarely take Charlie very far as I find the concentration on keeping him, and me, so calm, quite challenging and tiring.
    So, yesterday, I purchased a soft muzzle – one that looks much like a halti and not at all threatening. It doesn’t impede Charlie’s ability to sniff, drink or eat but it does stop him from snapping.
    Today I walked him to the common. We met several dogs. Charlie attempted to go into his usual panic mode but because I knew he could not actually bite me by accident, I remained super calm and was able to avert any potential problems. His behaviour did not escalate. I was relaxed so he was relaxed and by the time we got home I felt refreshed and totally calm. No wonder I did not notice any hills along the way. Charlie did not object to the soft muzzle at all.

    I was also aware that later in the day I would need to drive to pick up Doris, my daughter’s gorgeous English Bull Dog and then, later still, drive to the children’s school and collect three of my grandchildren who will be spending the night here. The evening will doubtless be hectic if fun, so being able to grab 65 minutes to go on a peaceful, frosty walk this morning was Gold time indeed.

    The analogy I draw from this is that life and those pesky hills, are so much easier to manage if we have the right tools and know how to use them.

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