Why You Should Time-Block to Maximize Your Productivity

This post is about WHY you should time block. I’ve attached a worksheet at the bottom you can download for free. The worksheet is all about HOW to time-block. It is my gift to you because you rock and I’m thankful for you.

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.

productivity, time blocking, time management

This is me with no margin in my life.

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.

As an aside, I want to mention personality types. If you are familiar with Meyers-Briggs, you will know that you are either a J (me) or a P (my dad). J’s will love this post. P’s will be throwing up in their mouths. I encourage the P’s among us to try this so they can increase the margin in their lives so they can pursue opportunities.

5 Reasons You Should Time-Block to Maximize Your Productivity

  1. 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?”
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Grab Your Free Worksheet!

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Loretta

    Hey Bo,
    Thanks for the reminder to block out or schedule on a calendar.
    Guess what happens to the digital calendar when the wind passes by? Poof! It’s gone along with your contacts, randomly. Guess what happens to the DayTimer calendar when the wind passes by? You turn the page and focus again! Oh look! The contacts are still there too!
    Love “Mom”

    • Loretta – thanks for the humorous comment, “mom.” I don’t want to debate the advantages and disadvantages of going digital and leaving the paper trail behind. I will admit to loving my DayTimer. I used it through 2005 mostly because of the example of my parents. It is a great tool. I just prefer the cloud and all the mobile advantages it provides. Have a great day!

  • Thomas Songer III

    Great concept Bo, and one that I think can help me and a lot of others.

    One thing that I have to add has to do with Intentionality. Although I find it helpful to plan my week ahead (usually on Sunday night) for the big tasks/events, I also find it very helpful to plan for tomorrow before I leave the office at the end of the day. This helps in two ways; first it gives me time to think through anything important that may be coming up tomorrow. Second, I wake up in the morning not “worrying” about what might be on my calendar and how my day is going to shape up. I know it’s already planned and I have it in my head from the night before.

    To your last point, if you allow it to happen, you can have a lot of control over your day/week/year/life. It takes practice and dedication at first, it’s not easy. But like anything, the more you practice the better you will get at putting your time where it is most productive.

    • Thomas – thanks for the comment and you bring up a great point. I am espousing a weekly planning session. Doing a mini version of this on a daily basis is also extremely helpful. When you plan your tomorrow before you leave work today, it allows you to download what is in your mind. That frees up mental bandwidth and allows you to be mentally present with your family, etc.

  • Jon

    Great post and something I’m going to implement. I think I just like the idea of telling people “No”.

    • Bo Barron, CCIM

      It is a freeing thing! Thanks for the comment Jon.

    • Giving yourself permission to say ‘no’ is an incredibly freeing thing! Thanks for the comment Jon!

  • BCCommercial

    Your exemplary way of sharing useful information in a grass-roots implementable way has set you apart as a Commercial Real Estate and Business Leadership resource all across the board. I am continuously guilty of violating Rule #5 between commercial real estate, ministry/service and family and any other category that might pop up. GOD gives us common sense and self-control for very good reasons. Thank you for the great reminders.

    • Beth Ann – thanks so much for your encouragement and kind words. They keep me energized. I pray we can all lay hold to that wonderful thing called margin so we can say yes when He leads!

  • Cheri Middleton

    I started teaching this to our management staff in January & February. We are having a follow up in March to see the impact it has had. Thanks for sharing. This is good stuff!

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