Tough Love Tuesday: You're Scheduling Your Time Wrong
Time blocking will save your life, or at least it will save your to-do list. If you feel like your tasks are getting ahead of you, and you’re getting overwhelmed, try out time blocking your duties. I use the app Pomodoro Time Pro (don’t worry, there is a free version) to track how long it takes for me to get work done. So let’s back up, what is a pomodoro? The Pomodoro Technique was created by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato. Literally, he used a tomato timer as a time management tool. The Pomodoro Technique wants you to work in 25-minute intervals with a five-minute break in between each session (you can choose to skip the five-minute breaks if you like). The point of time tracking is we usually overestimate how long it takes to get work done. If you give yourself two hours to finish writing a blog post, it will take two hours, but if give yourself 30 minutes, you may surprise yourself how short of a time you actually needed. It’s almost a game of beating the clock to see if you can get the work done in the shortest amount of time. BUT don’t rush for the sake of rushing. Work smartly the first time around, so you don’t have to redo your work.
I use the pomodoro app also to track how long it takes to read tabs open on my browser. I tend to have too many things open, and I give myself one or two pomodoros to get through them. The most important thing is doing just ONE TASK during an interval. If you finish your task before the timer is up, stop the clock, take a little break, and then move on to your next job with a freshly started pomodoro. You can download a free app for your computer or phone, or even get a physical timer to set on your desk if you think you will forget to set your timer before you start work.
Another way you can time block is to schedule out your entire day in your calendar application of choice. We tend to use our calendars just for our appointments but try using it to schedule out your tasks as well. Schedule in your lunch. I bet you've never thought to do that before. Make sure you add your travel time to and from your home to wherever you're headed during the day. Try it out for a week and see how much time you spend on each task and it will help you schedule out your time more efficiently in the future. I love this video from Amy Landino on how she uses time blocking in Google Calendar.
I recently learned of a new concept of planning out your days which is turning one day into three days. I know, sounds strange, right? I watched a video by Ed Mylett on how he works three 6-hour work days in one day. First is from 6am to 12pm. He gets as much done in that time as possible. Next up, 12pm to 6pm. Same thing. He works a full day of work in those six hours. Lastly, his last work day is from 6pm to 12am. Now, that may sound like a shit ton of stuff to do in one day, and it is. But, it does make you rethink how you approach how much time in a day you have to get work done. There is way more time in 24 hours than you think.
Let me know in the comments your favorite way of time blocking and if you are going to implement any techniques in your schedule.