110. 4 Little Known Strategies to Help You Time Block More Effectively

by | Aug 25, 2022

If you’re unfamiliar with this productivity hack, time blocks are specific tasks you have scheduled on your calendar to help you really gain some traction on your goals and projects.

If you’ve never used time blocks before OR you’re more of a seasoned pro this episode will help you up your game with the precious blocks of time you have to help you spend more time on things that matter to you. Enjoy! Xo, Janeen

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TRANSCRIPTION

Well, Hey, you guys. Welcome back to another episode of the podcast. I am Janeen Alley and I am super excited to be sharing with you four little known strategies to time block more effectively.

You might know about time blocking already, but I am gonna be sharing these four little known strategies to help you up your game today inside of the podcast. But before we get to the content, I want to just say, if you are enjoying the podcast, please leave me a favorable review over on whatever platform that you’re listening to the podcast on.

It really does go a long way to help other women find the podcast. The way these reviews work is if you are looking for a new podcast to listen to, and you’re just kind of scrolling through some of the many, many, many podcasts that are out there, the ones that iTunes, for example offers you are the ones that have great reviews.

So if you are loving the content, please leave me a review. I would so appreciate it. [00:01:00] I also just wanna say that I know some of you have shared the podcast with your friends and I am so, so grateful. So again, if you are loving the podcast, leave a review, share them with your friends. I really, really appreciate you doing that. That means so much to me.

I also wanna say, this is the last thing I’m gonna say before we dive into the content. If you want me to do an episode on something specific, you might have something that you’re really struggling with right now when juggling your life and your kids and the things that you wanna get done.

If there’s something that you don’t have an answer to, ask me Either on email, you can hit reply to any of my emails or you can shoot me a direct message over on Instagram and I will see it, I will read it, and I’ll for sure respond to you.

So you can connect with me that way. Tell me what it is that you’re struggling with. Tell me the things, specifically, that are going on in your life, and I will create an episode just for you.

Okay. So let’s talk about what time blocking is. Some of you might [00:02:00] already be using this strategy in your life.

And if that is true, I wanna give you a high five right now, because time blocks are amazing. They are time that is set aside for a specific task that is important to you. Maybe not urgent but important.

Time blocks help us to get things done with minimal or no distractions. Hopefully no distractions at all, but I know for some of you that is next to impossible, particularly if you have little kids at home with you all day.

I just wanna add in here that the amount of time that we have to time block varies. And of course, when my kids were little and I was more involved in what it was that they were doing, because they were small and I was spending most of my time, making sure that they stayed alive during the day I had less time to time block for my personal endeavors.

But now as my kids have gotten older, my time is more available to me. And I feel like my schedule is a lot more open. So the amount of time that you have is gonna vary on whether [00:03:00] you’re a stay at home mom, maybe the ages of your kids, whether you’re working from home, or you’re working away from your home, it’s going to determine the amount of time, the extra time, that you have during your week.

Okay. Time blocks are important because this is the way that you execute on your plans for your life. The way that we do that is to get really clear on what those Q2 activities are. So if you missed last week’s podcast, I want you to go back and listen to that because I go into detail about what Q2 things are.

Those are things that are important to you, but not urgent. So things like your personal development, or maybe your health and taking fitness classes at the gym,, or learning how to cook healthy or writing, like all of those things can be things that are Q2. Things that are really easy for us to push off into the back burn.

They’re hard for us to get to. So time blogs help us to stay really focused on the result that you wanna create. And they help us to make sure that we’re setting the time aside in order to get those things done. So [00:04:00] we’ve all been in a place where time just seems to get away from us. There are things that you wanna get done, but you spend the majority of your time distracted or making excuses for why you’re not ready or you don’t know how, or you don’t wanna do it. And by the end of the day, if you’re just reacting to your life and getting things done that feel urgent to you, but are not important, your days kind of feel blah. You don’t feel like there’s any excitement or any motivation to doing things. And you don’t feel excited about getting out of bed.

So time blocks help you to minimize distractions. They help us to have less wasted time in our lives and really move the needle on things that are important because the truth is nothing kills productivity, like distractions, or like context switching, right.

Where you sit down to get something done. And you’re like, “oh wait, I forgot to order that thing on Amazon… or maybe I should just check in and see what my friends are doing over on Facebook… or dang it! I forgot to send that email…” and so you’re all over the place. There is [00:05:00] so much time and energy that is wasted in context switching, when you’re sitting down to do one thing and you’re juggling like five things at once.

right. So much of our energy is lost in transition. In fact, it takes us about 23 minutes to get back to a task once we’ve moved away from. I want you to just process that for a second. 23 minutes! I want you thinking about how much time that is, particularly if we’ve got five or six different windows open on our computer, and we’re trying to do all of the things at the same time.

Okay. So time blocks are just for one thing at a time. And you do that thing until it’s completed. That’s what the focus is. Okay. Like I said, it’s just so easy for us to react to our lives. In fact, I was just talking with one of my clients about this. Where she just felt like it’s summer, I wanna do all the things I wanna hang out with all the people I wanna support my kids and all the things that they wanna do.[00:06:00]

And it’s so easy for us to overschedule our lives to the point where we feel behind and we feel frazzled and we feel burned out. And what happens when we do this is we start cutting corners and other things. We don’t have enough time to make dinner or we’re staying out and we’re staying up late, and we’re getting up really early to try and catch up and pick up the slack off of days that we mismanaged our time and we’re trying to cram too many things in.

So I want you thinking even before we start time blocking, I want you thinking about what it is that you want your life to look like. And what it is that you want your life to feel like.

Because if we’ve got too many things going on and that, not only, includes the things on our calendar, but it also includes things in our environment. If we don’t have time to put things away and get things tidied up and cleaned up, we’re constantly bumping into things, right?

We’re having to deal with the noise of a cluttered environment. So you can manage your mind around that. It is possible to do. The truth is if the stuff in the garage doesn’t get put away, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s [00:07:00] much easier to live your life and breathe and enjoy yourself when things are put away.

Okay. So you want to make sure that you are time blocking things that are non-negotiable, but you’re including things like when am I gonna have this time to maintain the kind of life that I want to live?

Okay, because there is that element of maintenance with the laundry and putting things away and doing all that stuff that makes the rest of your life possible.

So let’s first of all, talk about the types of things to time block. So I just mentioned some non-negotiables with maintenance of your life.

So after a trip, you wanna make sure that you’re time blocking in maintenance. What does that mean? It means grocery shopping. It means time to put things away, all of those things.

You’re also time blocking non-negotiables like, for me, homeschool , exercise, making dinner, coaching my clients, I’m of course scheduling in downtime every single week.

I have a massage every month. I also, as you guys know, take Friday [00:08:00] nights off. I also, time block things like creating content for my business. That is a huge piece of my business is writing and creating content and making sure that I am communicating with people. That’s how I bring people into my world.

Right? It has to do with the ideas that I have and putting them into words. And so creating content is a huge part of my business. I also, of course, time block podcasting and masterclass time or working on my business, which for me happens on Friday. So working on my business, For me means customer service things, managing my bookkeeping, or even planning goals for the quarter and putting those goals on my calendar so that I know which metrics I need to be meeting for that particular month or that particular week.

I also time block my own continuing education. And sometimes I combine this. If I’m going for a walk, sometimes I’ll listen to an audio book. I love that. Sometimes I won’t do that. Sometimes I’ll go for a walk and just enjoy a meditative quiet walk without my phone or without [00:09:00] anything else. So all of that is important and most of those things I can time block during the week, sometimes it needs to be extended out into the month.

Now I have a few tips here for what to time block on and what not to time block on. So I don’t time block menial tasks, which means I don’t put like carpool or those kinds of things inside of my calendar. Things like taking a shower and getting ready are things that don’t time block.

One of the things that I wanna say here is that you want to have the right mindset when it comes to your time block. So you want to be in a space where you’re taking that time block seriously. So you’re not scheduling things over the top of those time blocks. You might be like, but what if something comes up?

You wanna have that time, time blocked on your calendar, you wanna have white space in your calendar. So when things do come up, you have a buffer. You have some leeway that you can take care of things that come up during the day. Because I’m sure just like you, there are things that legitimately come up that I need to take care of that I didn’t calendar for [00:10:00] or I didn’t plan on during my day.

You don’t want those things to take you by surprise and totally have a domino effect on your calendar for the rest of the week or even the rest of the month. So you want to create some buffer time in there. But the time blocks that you do have that you’ve scheduled for yourself, even your downtime time blocks, where you’re taking a restorative yoga class or taking a bath or whatever it is you don’t want to schedule over the top of that for too many things like hardly anything goes over those kinds of time blocks on my calendar.

Okay. The last thing that I wanna say here, and this might be surprising to you is when you’re thinking about the routine of your day, you generally want your days to flow similarly to each other.

You want the flow or the routine of your day to feel kind of boring. Now, that’s not necessarily saying that the time blocks themselves are boring. Like the things that I have inside my time blocks, light me up. But the actual structure of my day is fairly simple. It’s pretty predictable. And it’s pretty boring actually.

One of the reasons why [00:11:00] I say this is because I was reading a book one time that was talking about Charles Schultz’s’ schedule, he’s the creator of the Peanuts cartoon if you guys remember that from long ago. I remember reading peanuts when I was a kid eating my breakfast every single morning, but he was talking about how Charles Schultz as an entrepreneur kind of approached his life and approached his day and he said he ate the same sandwich every single day. He ate baloney and cheese with Mayo on white bread every single day.

It was something like that. Something super boring every single day. That is the thing, particularly in my life as an entrepreneur, I have a fairly flexible schedule. So if I want to, I can get distracted and I can get sucked down rabbit holes of places I don’t wanna go and spending time I don’t wanna spend on other things. I have to be in a place where I take my time blocks seriously. And in order for me to do that and kind of get into the routine of my life and the way that I wanna show up, it has to be really simple. And it has to feel kind of boring [00:12:00] in that way. So I hope that that makes sense.

Okay. The second tip that I have for you is you want to pay attention to your energy during certain times of the day and during certain times of the week. So I know for myself, for example, that I am a morning person. And so I love to wake up and get writing right away.

Not immediately. I take about 30 minutes for my own personal things. And then within 30 minutes of me waking up I’m writing. And the reason why I do this is because I have fresh ideas, the little demons that I have in my mind that tell me this isn’t good enough or who do you think you are? Are pretty quiet in the morning.

so I can get a lot of really good writing done. I can crank out a lot of content in that time if I write before I head out to the gym. So I write, and then I head out to the gym, and then during the school year is when I do my homeschool with my daughter, Emma. I get that all done in [00:13:00] the morning.

So that’s kind of how the flow of things look for me. And just because I know my energy is the best in the morning, I get done with a lot of creative work and a lot of harder tasks in the morning, just because I know my energy is up and I can take it on and it’s fun for me during that time. If I chose to have a writing block at 5:00 PM, , that’s no way, no way is I can have it at 5:00 PM for multiple reasons.

But my energy at 5:00 PM is more like just getting things done that feel pretty rote to me, like making dinner or something. So I want you thinking, when are you the most energized during your day and how can you fit in more of those Q2 types of activities? Like things that are important to you and things that are not urgent.

So maybe that’s creative work for you, or maybe it’s your hardest tasks, those kinds of things you want to schedule when you’re feeling energized and you’re feeling fresh and you’re feeling really alive.

I have to tell you that I still love getting [00:14:00] up early on my weekends, but there is a different flow to my weekends. There have been many times where I’ve tried to schedule in tasks on the weekend, and it feels really hard even in the morning when my energy is up because there’s things that I would rather spend my time doing. And so I have been intentional with those choices and those decisions, and that is fine. So I want you thinking about not just the five days of the week, but also your weekend energy and the things that you want to be doing during your weekend and how you want your weekends to flow and how you want your week days to flow and all of those things.

So time block those things in. I love to time block in, of course, time with my family and time in my garden and time doing fun things on my weekend. I also love to schedule in little extra downtime on my weekends. And like I said, just fun things on the weekends that I wouldn’t do during the week.

So you wanna kind of take a look at your days overall. And then also I think sometimes not just weekend days, but also days of the week. Fridays are the days of the week that I do more menial style tasks at the end of the week. I’m just tired [00:15:00] at the end of the week. So it’s a little bit easier for me to take on some admin kinds of things.

So just kinda look at that overall in your life and think about how you can time block more effectively just looking at days of the week versus weekends versus the whole week as well.

Okay. The third tip that I have for you is to schedule in your white space first. So what I mean by that is you will not only wanna schedule in your buffer time, but you want to schedule in your downtime activities first. When are you going to take a break? How are you going to take that break? I schedule in a massage every single month. You might schedule in a manicure, or you might schedule in book time.

You might wanna watch a movie. There’s so many things that we can do during our weeks where we are taking a breather from life.

You don’t wanna schedule in your downtime when it’s work time. Even though you schedule your downtime first, you don’t necessarily wanna put your downtime first in the [00:16:00] day. You wanna take your break when you’ve earned it. That is kind of the way that I think about it. So I need to get my work done first and then I can really take a well deserved, relaxing break if I take my break first and I do this sometimes because I’m procrastinating something or I’m just don’t wanna do something and I talk myself into taking a break first, my mind is constantly like, we gotta do this and we gotta do this and we gotta do this. It is not a relaxing experience. So you want to schedule your downtime first. It doesn’t necessarily mean it comes first during your day. All right. I also wanna tell you here is to schedule your hardest work first.

I don’t know if any of you have read, Eat That Frog, by Brian Tracy, but he talks about how important it is to get the hard things done first. You wanna think about it as kind of the 80/20 rule. 20% of the things that you get done, give you 80% of your results in your life. So get done with those harder tasks, those 20% tasks, earlier on in your day, and then it creates 80% of the results that you have in your [00:17:00] life. It’s pretty awesome. It’s like magic! So those are my tips with that.

The last thing I wanna say here is you want to take the time during your week and you can actually time block this. I time block this for Fridays. You wanna take the time to evaluate and celebrate.

So you wanna evaluate how the time blocks went. What went well with your time blocks? And make sure you just gush about yourself. Gush about how well things went because so often our brains want to go into, “well, you didn’t do this well enough” or ” these are all the reasons why I’m failing in my life”, our brains focus in on that so easily.

And so you want to intentionally think about the things that went really well with your time block. So lemme give you an example of this. So this morning, I sat down and my brain just could not focus on the things that I was reading. And this is not happened to me in a really long time. My brain was just like, Bing, Bing, Bing all the things that I needed to get done were like coming to the surface. And it was really hard for me to focus. And so I was thinking, “okay, this is [00:18:00] not gonna work super well right now. What could I do instead?” And so I thought, “well, how about I listen to a commentary through a podcast on what it is that I’m studying right now, so that I can get some insights and I can get some flow going? And I get some context to what it is that I’m studying?” I’m sharing this with you, because so often what happens is we focus, like I said, on things that are not going well, but I set the time aside and I showed up.

That is sometimes the only thing that you can celebrate. Is like, you can’t always control the outcome of what it is that you’re doing, but you can control how you show up. And so I’m celebrating that I did get some insight into what it was that I’m studying, what it is that I’m teaching this weekend.

And I also showed up for myself and I showed up to make that happen. And so those are some of the things that you can do to celebrate and evaluate what it is that you’re doing in your life. Even if you don’t get the result that you want, or even if the outcome is way different than what you expected.

The next thing that you can do during this evaluation period is think [00:19:00] about what you could be doing better and thinking about, okay, I didn’t get this done during this time. Why not? Do I like my reasons for why not? Or was I just scrolling? Was I just distracted? Was I not paying attention? How could I do that better next time?

One of the things that has saved me over and over and over again is my alarm on my phone. I set probably three or four alarms during the day to make sure that I’m showing up where I’m supposed to be the time I’m supposed to be there because so often I’ve just spaced it. I’ve just gotten going on something and just lost track of time.

So I set alarms in the morning as I’m evaluating what it is that I’m getting done during the day or what it is that I wanna do. I set alarms so that I show up for appointments or for clients, or for taking my kids places or picking them up, carpool alarms, those kinds of things. And then it’s so important to celebrate your wins along the way.

I think, like I said, we have a tendency to focus in on what is not working, but we need to spend more of our time thinking about what you want to [00:20:00] do more of. Think about even little things that you wanna do more of, or big things that you wanna do more of. And celebrate that and focus in on that and schedule that for the following week. Okay? All right.

The last thing that I wanna talk to you about is following through on your plan. So often what happens is we get going on something we wanna get going on something and it’s time to show up and we’re like, ‘I don’t want to.”

And so you might have a hard time troubleshooting that. You might have a hard time troubleshooting overscheduling with your time blocks. Or what happens when things come up? Or how do I do this with kids and I feel like my schedule is ever changing? And, and we don’t know what’s gonna happen during the day because they are busy people…

I wanna just tell you that all of this is covered inside of my new course, The Burnout Breakthrough. And I would love for you to join me inside of this course if these are things that you struggle with. We spend six weeks together and we go deep on all of the content [00:21:00] that’s there. All of the things that I’m sharing on the podcast and more. So if this sounds really great to you, I want you to start by taking my quiz. I want you to head over to my website at janeenalley.com and I want you to click on one of the calls to action on the front page. It will take you to the quiz.

You can take the quiz, get your results. You can get going just off of the information that you get from taking that quiz. And then once you’ve completed that you will be getting updates about when the course is gonna be live and all of the things that will help you make a decision whether to join me or not for this round. So, like I said, head over to janeenalley.com or you can find the quiz off of the link in my bio on my Instagram. So either one. Just from taking the quiz, you can gain some insights on your next steps.

I hope that this podcast was helpful for you today. I hope that some of the little known secrets to time blocking is gonna help you to manage your time better. I hope you guys have a beautiful week. Let me know if you have any [00:22:00] questions. We’ll talk to you soon. Take care. Bye.

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