It was a Wednesday morning and I was heading home, sweaty and hungry from my FIT4MOM workout, facing a to-do list the size of Mount Everest. My thoughts were spinning and I was starting to get overwhelmed. Each task on my list kept popping up in my brain like those pesky unwanted advertisements online. My son has dropped down to just one nap a day, so as a work-from-home mom my window to get things done, uninterrupted, is much shorter now. There was no way that all of this was going to get done today! That is when I remembered a trick that I learned in college: time blocking.
Time blocking is how I got all of my work done in college. Now, I would like to preface this by saying that I don’t ascribe to the belief that you should cram as much as you can into your schedule because the more you do, the better you are. However, as a work-from-home mom, I have a lot of different things on my plate on any given day. That particular day I was facing dishes, cleaning, writing my blog post for Indy Moms, working my job, and calling applicants that applied to a position my dad was hiring for.
If you ever find yourself in a similar position; a lot to get done, only a little time to do it in, and are feeling overwhelmed…then here is how you can use time blocking to get it all done.
1. Take the amount of time that you have available to you (in my case it was 2 hours) and the number of different tasks you have to do (in my case it was 5 tasks), then assign an amount of time to each task that adds up to the time you have available. For example, I scheduled 15 minutes for calling applicants, 30 minutes for cleaning, 15 minutes for dishes, 20 minutes for my blog post, and 40 minutes for working my job (all totaling to the 2 hours that I had available).
2. Set a timer and stick to it! Get as much of that task done as you can in the allotted time. If the time runs out before the task is complete, then stop that task and move to the next one. You can come back to it at the end if you have time leftover.
3. If you finish the task before the time is up, then you can give the extra time left to another task that might take longer than expected. In my case, I finished calling the applicants after only 7 minutes, so I gave the extra 8 minutes to cleaning because I had a lot to clean that day.
4. If you anticipate that you will get interrupted during that time, whether it’s by phone calls, emails, or toddlers covered in paint that you didn’t know they had…then allot some time for interruptions.
You can use time blocking for anything in your life; cleaning, work, packing, etc. There is something about having a timeline that puts urgency on you, as opposed to spending a few minutes here and there on each task and getting to the end of your day with almost nothing accomplished.
Voila! Even if you don’t get every task complete, you will have made significant progress. I got everything done that I needed to get done in that time frame that Wednesday morning. All thanks to time blocking. Now that you know the secret…go forth my friends and “do it all”.