Block scheduling and task batching are two skills that I have honed to become a pretty badass entrepreneur. These are by no means methods that I came up with, I did however, mold these practices to fit my schedule and my needs.
Being an entrepreneur requires a ton of discipline; often you find yourself with this wide open day and no one telling you what you’re supposed to be doing or when you’re supposed to be doing it. You have to be a self-starter and super motivated. Being a creative entrepreneur is a whole different beast in itself. Why? Creatives get distrac… I need coffee.
what was i saying?
Everyone has a massive todo list; I’m aware I am not the only human with this issue. I used to find myself bouncing around from task to task; an expert multi-tasker, if you will. (I’m gonna let you in on a secret, there is no such thing as an expert multi tasker.) I would get easily distracted and stressed to the max. At the end of the day you’ve worked your ass off and feel like you have nothing to show for the time you’ve put in.
enter the block schedule and task batching.
what is block scheduling?
Dividing your day into chunks of time in which you focus on larger individual tasks or a batch of smaller or medium sized tasks.
what are a batch of tasks?
Similar tasks you can group together in the same time block and move from task to task without too much jumble of the flow you’ve got going on.
I started block scheduling a while ago, but I was blocking in my paper planner and it was this unmanageable jumble of chicken scratch and actual appointments got lost amongst my futile attempt to properly manage my time. When I began working with my new favorite planning method, iCal, I also began color coding my activities and time blocks.
Each commitment gets a color.
Write out your list of blocks you’d like to incorporate into your day. For me, it goes like this:
EKP Work Day
Clubs/Organizations (BPW, Chamber of Commerce, OHU)
Meetings/Appointments/EKP email (these are usually solely appointments)
Personal (Parties, time off, vacations, etc.)
You have your list and you’ve decided which calendar tool you want to use. Time to choose those pretty colors. I chose to keep my muted because bright colors totally screwed with the fact this method was supposed to keep me calm and on task. Now it’s time to begin filling in your day. If there is something that you do every day or on the same day every week, begin with those items.
I have a morning routine that involves hydrating, stretching, general waking up, then a workout. I like to write my blog posts for the following week on Wednesdays. The first Monday of every month I take the day for a Personal Inventory. I set these items up as recurring events. The next thing I enter are my workouts, I usually come up with a rough outline at the beginning of the month. I fill them all in initially because they are non-negotiable.
I usually allot myself 90 minutes per work block. I power through my tasks and then I get to go outside for 10-20 minutes. I like to get at least three 90 minute work blocks in.
These items are my everyday schedule. Next there are sessions, meetings, and appointments that I have color coded so I can quickly differentiate a couple of things:
- how I need to dress for the event
- which organization the event if for
The last thing I’m sure to schedule, especially during busy times, is a block of time for self care. Because if the calendar is blank, that isn’t free time, that is time that is available to be scheduled.
These are some of my best secrets to control my day and my calendar and not let my schedule control me.
What do you think? Are you going to give block scheduling and task batching a whirl?