When you have 1000 different things calling for your time and attention, it can be challenging to get anything done well. In the past, you were told in order to get everything done, you need to multitask. Well, mama, have I got news for you, multitasking is a trap.
Multitasking is not the most effective way to get things done. When you multitask complex tasks, you end up performing below your ability, and often it takes longer than you would have if you just did one thing at a time. Time blocking is the solution to the multitasking trap. As a working mom trying to balance everything going on in your life and at the office, there are 4 types of time blocks you should consider. To help you get started, those time blocks are listed below. Also, you can print out the instruction sheet at the bottom of this article to begin using them today.
Duration 90-120 minutes
Every busy mama needs time to focus. Focus time blocks help you to do just that. The idea is to set aside a significant amount of time for any task that requires you to think deeply. This could be planning out a vacation, setting your budget for the month or year, creating a detailed presentation, or working through a massive spreadsheet. The key here is to block 90 minutes to 120 minutes during your most creative time.
This means if you’re a morning person, then you should set your focus time blocks in the morning. If you’re an evening person, then set them for later in the day. We all know that there’s a time in the day when our brain works best; we should set aside that time to do the most complex tasks. You’re giving yourself a leg up when you plan to focus during the hours that your brain and body agree it’s time to focus. This means if you regularly find yourself in a 3 o’clock slump, then planning to focus during that 3 o’clock slump is not the way to win.
Duration: 90-120 minutes
It’s important to plan time to be around others. Those others could be your family, your girlfriends, or your community groups. These time blocks should also take 90 to 120 minutes. Plan these times for when you most feel like being around others. If you are a grumpy morning person, then don’t plan an 8 AM coffee with your best friend. Instead, arrange for an afternoon meet up. When it comes to working, if you are sluggish mid-day, don’t plan a lunch with a colleague, instead meet them for a coffee around 3 PM. Social time blocks are just as important as any of the other time blocks, so don’t put these on the back burner; make sure that you work them into your calendar.
Duration 20-40 minutes
Administrative time blocks are designed to help you get done the simple tasks that you don’t enjoy doing. These time blocks are shorter for a reason, you don’t enjoy doing them. These are for those mindless tasks that you must complete, like phone calls for appointments, responding to basic emails, cleaning the kitchen, or doing the laundry. Schedule these for the times when you are not in the zone. If you are one of those folks who have an afternoon slump, then schedule your administrative time blocks during those hours. Administrative tasks don’t require you to be at your best they merely require you to take action. Rather than waste your best and most creative hours doing these types of tasks, schedule them for when you are at your lowest energy and mental focus levels.
Recovery is the most critical time block of all. Recovery is key to you being able to function at your best. If you want to be an awesome mom, kick ass in the office, an amazing wife, and a world changer, you can’t do it if you’re running on empty.
Recovery time blocks help to ensure that you are never running on fumes. The time for these varies based on your needs. A recommendation here is to ensure that you have short time blocks throughout the day, every day. These could be 10 to 15-minute time blocks for you to stretch, get water, take a walk, call a friend, or other energizing activities. Then throughout the month, you should schedule longer 60 to 90-minute time blocks for you to do something you love. It could be to read a book, get your nails done, or spend some fun time with someone you love, or even take a nap. It doesn’t matter; the point is that you take 60 to 90-minutes at least a few times a month for recovery.
I know that you want to be the best, not only for yourself but also for those around you. Time blocking is a great way to deliver the promises you have made to yourself and those you care about. The trick is to stay committed to your blocks and ensure you’re scheduling all four types mentioned above. Download the worksheet below to help remind you to use these blocks and for instructions on how to schedule them.
For more great tips on time management check out, 8 Time Management Tips For Busy Moms.
Don’t forget to sign up for the Rose Gold Mine, my free resource library. You’ll get free printable worksheets, workbooks, and checklists to help with goal setting, time management and self-care for busy moms.