Time blocking is an easy and simple way to be more productive, especially for work at home moms. Juggling the demands of housework, kids, business, and all the other things that life throws at you can be overwhelming. That’s why using time blocking is so beneficial, it allows you the flexibility to deal with unexpected issues while also giving you the opportunity to be successful.
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What is Time Blocking?
Essentially you set aside blocks of time each day for all daily tasks like checking email, returning calls, etc. Then, you set aside blocks of time each week for larger projects. I break it down even further and designate certain days to work on certain projects.
The Ultimate Schedule
You see, I have four “jobs.” I run an Amazon FBA business, I’m working on my PhD, I blog, and I’m a mom. Wearing so many hats throughout the week is overwhelming at times. If I didn’t use time blocking, distractions and deadlines would kill me!
Distractions can be a big time waster. If you’re not careful, you’ll spend all day putting out fires instead of focusing on your real goals. Distractions can be important things, like an urgent email, or as simple as noticing a pile of dog hair on the floor.
It’s too easy to drop what you’re doing and take care of the “distraction” at hand. With time blocking, you have a designated block during the day to take care of said distraction. For example, if I notice I have an “urgent” email, I know it can wait until my designated time to check emails. (Really if it’s THAT urgent they’ll call right?)
Schedule Routine Tasks
Each day I set aside certain times to check email and do follow-ups. I usually set aside half an hour to check on my social media, check blog stats, answer comments, etc. I also set aside about 20-30 minutes to read other blogs and comment on them. Lastly, I set aside at least 15 minutes to clean something in the house.
In addition to the daily tasks, I designate different days of the week for different projects. Mondays are usually set aside for Amazon business. Tuesday-Friday for dissertation research and writing. I leave Saturdays free and Sundays are for writing blog posts and filling out my planner for the coming week.
Depending on deadlines, these days can be moved around. That’s the beauty of a time blocking schedule.
Time Blocking Works
Time blocking allows me to work roughly 9-5 and have weeknights and most of the weekend free. This is really important because it lets me have a relatively balanced life. Does it go off kilter sometimes? Sure does! BUT, because I have blocks of time sectioned off, I know that I can just rearrange my blocks to make up for any unexpected events.
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Schedule Being a Mom
Yes, perhaps this sounds harsh but I’d rather give my kids large chunks of my undivided attention instead of little bits of half-distracted attention. Luckily I have a very devoted partner who is equally involved in our children’s lives and spends quality time with them when I can’t.
I plan my day as best I can to maximize my time with the kids. We always spend mornings together and eat breakfast together. We also eat dinner together. Although my husband is usually working during dinner time, he has a really funky schedule, the kids and I still sit down for a family dinner. We also read a lot at night. I’m currently reading the Harry Potter series to them (we’re on book 4). These are special times and my time-blocking schedule allows me to spend this quality time with my kids.
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I rarely schedule anything for Saturdays. This is the one day I spend all day with my kids. We often go to free events at the library and visit the local science museum. I also grocery shop on Saturdays, usually in the morning so my husband can watch the kids. (Kids + Grocery Store = Frazzled Mama.)
Ability to Change Priorities
Using a time blocking schedule allows me to think about my to-do list in weeks and months, instead of days. Sure, sometimes something has to get done that day. Usually, most things can be thought of in longer time frames.
Here’s a sample schedule:
6-7 am: Morning Routine. Quiet time, start a load of laundry, meditation, and about 15 minutes of cleaning.
7-8 am: Write for an hour.
8-9 am: Get everyone ready for school and eat breakfast.
9-9:30 am: Email.
9:30-10 am: Social media and check blog.
10 am – 12 noon: Time block 1. What I do depends on the day, either dissertation work, blog work, or Amazon.
12 – 12:30 pm: Lunch. I’ll also put the laundry in the dryer.
12:30 – 3 pm: Time block 2. Either continue working on or household chores.
3 – 4 pm: Pick up kids from school.
4 – 6 pm: Gym (with travel time.)
6 – 7 pm: Dinner.
7 – 8 pm: Free time with kids.
8 – 9 pm: Reading and bedtime. Kids put away their clean laundry.
9 – 11 pm: Time Block 3. I usually work on blog stuff.
11 pm: Hubby gets home. Hang out with him until about midnight.
Why don’t you share your organizational skills with the rest of the world by starting your own blog? Or, if you’re struggling with time-management and the everyday overwhelm, share that too! A blog is a great way to document your experiences and transformations (and perhaps make some money.) Setting up a blog is quick and cheap. Host your blog with Bluehost for as little as $3.49 per month and if you click my link you’ll receive a free domain name. I wrote an easy step-by-step tutorial here, explaining how to set up your blog in minutes.
Do you use time blocking? What are some ways you organize your life? I’d love to hear about them.
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