As July comes to a close, what did you hope to accomplish this month, that a) didn’t get worked on; or b) is still unfinished? What can you do to ensure it’s done – and to get work completed on schedule in the future? Did you have a problem with time management? Was your productivity affected?
A Productivity Solution: Time Blocking
I’ve been doing some analysis on how I spend my days – how much time I have, how much time I use, and how much time I waste (going down a “rabbit hole” on a social media site sound familiar?)
One of the techniques that keeps me on track is time blocking – setting aside specific time on my calendar to get concentrated work done. For example, my time blocks might be called “review new ISO standard clause __ and lay out top three talking points for class” or “schedule work for all associates and interns for next month including week-by-week breakdowns”.
I also might use this to make progress on marketing – setting aside 60 minutes (my “power hour”) to follow up, or make initial contact, to several clients and prospects. If I get voicemail, I may be able to make 15-20 phone calls; if someone answers and we get into a good discussion, it may only 3-4 phone calls. Either way, it’s not a “Number of calls” metric; it’s a time metric. [Which may drive some time blocks to be generated in the next round – “write proposal on Lean implementation for xyz” or “Set up audit schedule for abc’s internal audits for 2016”, etc.
The work should be detailed enough that it requires some concentration, and each session should be long enough to make some appreciable progress towards the goal.
A flexible system
Some folks put time blocks back to back – 40 mins on A, 60 mins on B, 30 mins on C – while others scatter them throughout the day. Which is best? Doing the one that makes the most of your ‘sweet spot’ of concentration! (Mine is first thing in the morning, and again at about 3 pm, so this is when I schedule concentrated work).
Interested in finding out more? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat!