Time blocking is a beautiful thing – and in my opinion, fundamental practice for SMEs in order to keep all of those many plates spinning.
But just what is time blocking? It really is just what it says on the tin. Time blocking is about allocating time to specific activities to ensure you remain consistent and manage the core elements of running a business.
From staying on top of your bookkeeping admin to avoid tax return nightmares to securing the success of your business through regular marketing activities, time blocking makes all this (and more) possible.
Time blocking is a style of scheduling that is guaranteed to help you manage your time better. Here are the benefits for SMEs:
Time blocking gives you structure
Wearing the many hats that come with running a business, it’s hard to manage your time in a way that feels more organised than flitting from one thing to another. Flitting won’t help you build your business, it will overwhelm you and lead to burnout.
Before I started time blocking, I would jump from one task to the next, and back again (and so on and so forth). By the end of my working day, I was exhausted and still had tasks to tick off the to-do list.
But now, I can schedule in specific time to work on certain tasks, ensuring everything on the to-do list is factored in, and anything that isn’t is blocked in elsewhere so I don’t forget about it. You can even colour code your time blocks so that you can easily measure how most of your time is being spent.
Time blocking gets sh*t done!
Have a number of tasks that you really don’t like doing but know need to get done? Blocking in time to do them will give you that extra layer of commitment but will also be a great reminder that those rubbish tasks are quite minimal in the grand scheme of things – you can even break down the larger tasks into smaller ones and spread the task across the week – whatever works best for you.
I’m very much a “just get it done” type of person when it comes to the admin side, so I block in these sorts of tasks earlier in the day so they can be ticked off with relish!
Leave no stone unturned
One of the things that I so often forget is to follow up after networking. I feel awful about it and could even be missing out on opportunities, but it so often falls to the bottom of the pile. But now, whenever I add a networking event to my calendar, I also block in time to send out follow up emails or make calls.
Whenever a task you need to do pops into your head, create a time block in your calendar as a reminder to finish it – you could even create a separate time block with a deadline if you’re not precious about keeping your calendar tidy.
Allow yourself time to develop
An absolute must for me is time blocking for personal and business development. I aim to block this time in on Fridays to take a course or do some research that will help my business and me as a business owner.
If you deliberately block this time in (and set the event to repeat at the same time every week), you are much more likely to stick to it.
Setting client boundaries
If you’re an open book to clients 9-5 every day of the week, when will you have time to carry out the other key tasks for your business? Your business won’t promote itself, and there are many other elements of running a business that can often be pushed to the side for client requests.
I know a business owner who has “Marketing Mondays”, a whole day dedicated to marketing planning and implementation every week. She will never have meetings on those days, and will also schedule any client work for the other 4 days of the week so that she stays on track.
Another successful technique is to set particular timeframes each day for dealing with emails. If you commit to only checking emails first thing and last thing then the rest of the day won’t suffer from inbox distractions.
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