Take a quick moment to think about how today went. Did you accomplish what you set out to do? Did you finish the items on your to-do list? Or was your day a bit scatter brained? Maybe your tired, even exhausted after another day with not much to show for? Today, I want to share with you something that I’m doing to help maximize my daily schedule.
There are many different ways to schedule out your day, but one thing remains consistent between all schedules, we all have a 24 hours to fill.
Some daily schedules are as simple as noting three primary blocks, morning, afternoon, and evening. This delineation of time doesn’t really help me accomplish anything though, unless I’m the guy in charge of letting people know when the sun rises and sets.
Some plans are as detailed as scheduling out what you will be doing in 30 minute chunks throughout your day. I tried to use one of these and I found two major problems.
- It took me forever to fill it out because each day was a little different and I wanted to make sure everything was listed correctly.
- Once I finally filled it out I didn’t even want to look at it because it felt like a straight jacket on fire due to its rigid structure with no sense of flexibility.
I have recently settled into a new schedule that I want to share with you and hear your feedback on to see if it might help you like it’s helping me. Here’s a quick picture to give you a visual idea before I jump into some of the explanation.
My new schedule takes the 24 hours in the day and divides them up into 8 blocks of 3 hours. Each block gives me a general setting with some specific task I want to be focusing on. Overall, there’s still flexibility as each day is a little different for me. I chose to schedule my day in 3 hour blocks because of the following 4 reasons.
- Focus: If your schedule is filled with to many objectives you can get overwhelmed by your long list and waste time fretting. If you don’t have a list your day will be led by whatever you feel the need to respond to and you’ll never do anything forward thinking and you will most likely end up responding to and putting out whatever fires flare up.
- Creativity: When I’m in a scheduled block I’m not thinking about anything else but what that specific category is. This frees me from being distracted with things outside of the block. If I have a sudden idea for something that falls into another block, I can jot it quickly into Nozbe, my digital to-do list management system, and then come back to it when I’m actually in that specific schedule block. This keeps me distraction free and allows my creativity to be focused on one subject at a time.
- Energy: Sometimes you need the guard rails of a block to keep you in that seat until you have a break through but it’s nice to know you won’t be stuck in that block forever. Having defined blocks means I know something else is coming so it keeps me working hard while I’m in my current block while I have excitement about the next block I’m heading into.
- Responsibility: My blocks help me say yes to things I enjoy and no to things that will take me away from being productive. Leadership development is in block 3 so that’s when I take meetings. I don’t take meetings outside of that unless in a very rare situation that either I am initiating the meeting or it is a major problem I’m responding to. This keeps my schedule and productivity from being derailed. I’ve been there, trying to be the fireman on the lone firetruck trying to put out everyone else’s fire. I found out quickly that I was really inefficient at putting out that many fires and everyone suffered, especially myself. The fireman would show up to a fire exhausted and lifeless. Not really the face of confidence. Say yes to things that you’re good at and things that push you and your organization forward. Say no to things that you’re not good at and things that you should be empowering more gifted people to do.
So what about you? What do your eight blocks look like? Does this type of block schedule help you in being more productive with your day?