At the beginning of 2014, I posted a reader’s survey which hundreds of you took part in (thank you, by the way.) One question I asked was which topic that I write about do you enjoy the most. The clear winner was productivity.
I asked another question about the biggest problem you are facing right now. The overwhelming winner here was ‘not enough time.’
For all of you who can relate, this post is for you. Frankly, I often find myself in the same boat. What I wouldn’t give for 30 hours in a day or 8 days in a week. Time-blocking is the single most impactful tool I use to maximize my productivity.
Time blocking is the practice of scheduling appointments with yourself, on your actual calendar (whether a digital camera of a DayTimer if you are my mom), and then honor your appointments with yourself.
I believe everyone should maximize their productivity by time-blocking for these 5 reasons.
5 Reasons You Should Time-Block to Maximize Your Productivity
- Focus – Quick! Shut your eyes and stop reading this post. Ask yourself this question. If I can only accomplish one thing tomorrow, what would it be? This is a clarifying question, and a great one. Blocking your time helps you focus on the things that matter most. Another question to ask is, “What one thing, when accomplished, will make everything else in my day easier/more meaningful?”
- Intentionality – To pull of time-blocking, you must be intentional. You must plan – think ahead. You will block out portions of your week for the most important things. This gives you the opportunity to live your life on purpose. The alternative is letting your week get away from you. You look up, the week is gone, and you didn’t accomplish the most important things.
- Control – Understanding that I believe God is in control of our lives, time blocking allows you to take back control of your time. I say ‘take back’ because most of us are reactionary in spending our time. This is particularly true in commercial real estate. You plan on spending the next two hours prospecting, and all of the sudden you get a call that has you tied up for the next four hours. It is a fallacy that we should be at the beck and call of our clients and customers. You can be much more effective if you allow certain blocks of time to serve your clients.
- Learn the art of saying no – If you want to schedule a call with me on Monday afternoons at 3:30 pm, I am going to tell you no. I have a standing call at that time. I will then suggest a time that works for me…and so on. Time blocking gives you are great reason to say no. Say you have 90 minutes scheduled with yourself to make prospecting calls. That 90 is an appointment on your calendar. When someone calls needing your attention during that time, you can now say – “I’m sorry. I have an appointment at that time. How does 3pm this afternoon work for you?” You stay on task, and your near interruptor still gets you attention – but on your terms.
- Save your sanity – Think about how you feel when you have no margin in your life. Everyday is packed full. You have zero discretionary time. Your health can suffer. To top it off, what you really need to get done never gets your attention. This is path that leads to crazy-town, and we all can relate. Time blocking can feel like you are adding time to your day. The most critical things get done. Your blood-pressure decreases. It is like taking Crestor and a Zanax.
Here is a closing thought. Productive people know what they should be doing. They also know what NOT to be doing. You should have a To Do list. You should also have a written Not To Do list. What are those activities that drain you and have little value? How often do you check your email? Have you still not turned off your email notifications (evil!)?
I break down the How’s in the free worksheet you can download below.
A favor: If this post was helpful, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. I want to know what you do to maximize your productivity. And I would be grateful if you would share this post via your social media channels. You can leave a comment by clicking here.