Hey everyone, in this productivity guide, you’re going to get my top seven tips for applying time blocking as an entrepreneur or business owner to hopefully get a little more done and be a little more focused throughout your weeks. So let’s go ahead and kick things off with what the heck time blocking actually is.
Now, time blocking is setting appointments with yourself, so you get your most important work done, just like you would set an appointment for a meeting or going to a dentist.
You’re going to start setting appointments for when you’re going to do the most important tasks in your business, like doing your copywriting or working on your product or service.
So let’s start with the 7 time blocking tips so that you can learn how to plan your day or how to have more free time when you organize your time.
7 Time Blocking Tips for Entrepreneurs
1. 50% Rule in time blocking
Now, the very first tip I have for you when you’re just getting started at applying time blocking is the 50% rule. Now, this is going to sound a little extreme, but it’s going to save you so much headache.
So when you’re just getting started with time blocking, you don’t have historical data on how long things actually take. And all you have is your estimation up here.
Well, science has shown us time and time again. We are actually very bad at figuring out how long something’s actually going to take us. And so we tend to underestimate the amount of time something’s going to take.
So as using the 50% rule, what’s you’re going to want to do is if you think something’s going to take you an hour, give yourself an hour and a half. Now yes, it’s going to be incredibly frustrating because you’re going to get through time blocking your day and feel like you have all of this extra time in there.
And that’s actually what you want when you’re just starting. Because after you do this for a couple of weeks, if not a month, you’re actually going to get some real-world data on how long things actually take.
And we’ll get to that tip later, and then you’ll be able to better estimate how long things take. But if you’ve never done something before, give yourself that 50% cushion.
2. One thing
Now, the second tip I have for you actually comes out of the bestselling book. The one thing by Gary Keller, he built a billion-dollar real estate brokerage. So he knows a thing or two about being overly busy.
And this is where you take your most. You figure out what is your most important task or project right now as an entrepreneur or business owner.
If you could only focus on one thing, the one thing that’s going to move the needle in growing your business or optimizing your sales process or streamlining whatever your operations are, whatever that one thing is, that’s most important. And you schedule that first thing in the morning.
Now, if you’re inside hustle mode, then you’re probably going to be scheduling this in your night session, right?
So if you’re inside hustle mode, your goal is to have, want your one thing time for two hours a day, somewhere in the day, the beginning, or the end, ideally at the beginning, just wake up early.
I know it stinks, but we all start there, right? Or if you’re full-time in your business already, then over here, you’d actually start with the first four hours every day should be your goal.
So whether your side hustle mode is two hours or your full time, four hours, you want to devote as much time as possible to that one thing that’s ultimately going to move the needle in your business. I know it sounds radical and crazy.
I can’t overstress how big of a difference doing this one-time block has made.
3. Half Days
Now tip number three is going to be half days. And this is where, when you’re just getting started with time blocking, go ahead and only time block the first half of your day.
Let the second half of your day run wild. And after a week or two, you’re actually going to want to start time blocking the second half of your day.
And it’s really important to start with just half days because when you try and make this massive change, I know it feels like, yeah, I’m going to be really on top of it.
I’m going to be really disciplined. I’m going to apply this. You’re much more likely to fail, as opposed to something that’s a lot more manageable, where it’s a half-day, you’re using that 50% rule. You have a lot more wiggle room for when things go wrong.
And that actually leads me into tip number four, which is even if you’re only time blocking half a day, go ahead and have buffer blocks when you move on to time blocking your full day.
4. Buffer Block
So in the beginning, you’re using the 50% rule and then you’re only time blocking the first half of your day. And then once you start time blocking the other half of your day, make sure you include something called a buffer block, because a common objection I get to time blocking is yeah that’s great, but what happens when I still have work to do, and the time block is over, well at that point, you have two options.
- You just plow through that and you ruin the rest of your day or.
- Because you’ve set up a buffer block, you know that, okay, you know what? I have to stop this now, because I have all these other things that need to get done today. But because I created a buffer block later in the day or later in the week, I know that I’ll be able to work on that project then.
So something that I like to do is I have buffer blocks on Wednesdays and Fridays. And so that it gives me two big chunks of time. And these buffer blocks can be anywhere from 90 minutes, all the way up to three hours, if not half your day. Right?
So sometimes you might have a schedule that so needs to be so fluid that just have the second half of your day needs to be open, again.
So those buffer blocks are there to help make sure that your week does not get completely destroyed when something takes longer than you think it does. Now, something that’s going to help you dramatically with this is going to be the next tip and that is tracking.
5. Track adjust in time blocking
So you’re going to want to use some sort of electronic tool to track your time and your schedule. I know a lot of time-blocking videos talk about writing out on a piece of paper and then manually adjusting. And that’s great, but it’s a lot easier to make adjustments in the future.
When you use something as simple as Google calendar, and as your day progresses, you change what actually happened. So that way, you know, what your time blocks were supposed to look like. And then at the end of the week, you can go look at what they actually turned out to be.
And guess what all of those adjustments are going to help you better adjust and plan for your next week.
6. Not robot
You’re not a robot. You’re not one. So just because of your time blocking and you’re planning things out doesn’t mean that your energy levels are going to be able to keep up. Well, just like we tend to over underestimate how long things take.
We’re going to overestimate the amount of energy we have throughout the day. We typically have an ebb and flow.
Now everyone’s a little different, but if you’ve ever worked at a really boring job or you’ve had a bunch that was way too big, you know, that one or two clock hour in the afternoon can sometimes just be an absolute slump, right?
So you want to identify in your weeks and days, when do those slumps happen, and make sure that you time block times for you to actually recharge and reenergize.
Something that I did when I first got out of college and actually during college is I would time block the first four to five hours of my day.
And then I would give myself a break where I’d either go work out or go for a walk or do something else or active so that I could have some sort of recharge or relaxation before I went back to studying or going to one of the jobs I had to pay for the ridiculous price tag of college, although I digress. Right?
So the last tip I have for you, tip number seven, is to plan time for your planning time.
7. Planning block
I know it sounds pretty simple. But it’s something that’s really easy to overlook.
So give yourself at least an hour, if not two, depending on if you have a team, you’re going to need two hours to actually not only time, figure out what your time blocks are going to be for the next week or month, but also how other projects are progressing so that you’re making sure that you always give yourself that opportunity to take a step back and adjust your time blocks and adjust what you’re actually working on.
I highly recommend doing this on Friday afternoons, because typically when we’re talking about not being a robot, that’s going to be your absolute lowest energy point. And it doesn’t take a lot of brainpower to do this type of planning.
I’ve personally found that when I go through and do this process, by the time I’m supposed to go to bed, I’m all amped up with what I’m supposed to do for the week.
So I highly recommend doing this in the afternoon, sometime during your week, that way it’s not affecting your sleep.
So thank you so much for reading, sincerely hope you got some value out of this article, and most importantly, you have a better understanding of how to successfully start to integrate time blocking into your busy schedule. Keep building the business you love.