#32: Block Scheduling is Your Best Friend
A few weeks ago, when I started seriously thinking about how I was going to do this—how I was going to start a new venture when I hadn't done it in over a decade—I decided the first thing I needed to do was get control of my schedule. I had so many tasks that I could spend time on, but I needed to maintain focus on the important ones, and not get bogged down in the easy administrative duties any new business requires. (It's way easier to enter transactions in accounting software than make sales calls.)
To that end, I decided to create a blocked schedule for myself. A blocked schedule requires dividing up your day into discrete chunks, making sure to prioritize the really important stuff so it doesn't get lost in the shuffle of emails and admin work. I knew there were four areas I had to focus on: Sales Work, Writing, Product Design and Client Work. I also know that I work really well in 90 minute blocks. (Research shows that we all do, actually.) So, I set about blocking my calendar in 90-minute increments, taking into consideration what times of day work best for which activities. Finally, I wanted to build in non-screen time, so I put specific 30- to 60-minute blocks in my calendar where I wouldn't be looking at a screen.
Here's what my calendar looks like now:
5:30-7 - Wake up, bike, yoga, meditate, get ready for work
7-8:30 - Writing
8:30-9 - Walk the dog, eat breakfast, no screens
9-9:30 - Check email, do admin work (I do not open my email before this block of time.)
9:30-11 - Sales Work
11-12 - Lunch, reading, no screens
12-1:30 - Client Work
1:30 - 2 - Break, no screens
2-3:30 - Product Design
3:30 - 4:30 - Check Email, admin work
And that's it. That's my whole schedule. I know this will change, probably dramatically, as time goes on. I'll have to spend a lot less time on product design and a lot more time on client work, but it will be easy enough to adapt my 90 minute blocks to whatever the business needs. But no matter what, it provides the structure I require to not feel as though I'm drowning in tasks with no life preserver. No matter where you are in your business lifespan, though, a blocked schedule can be seriously helpful to you, providing focus, clarity and productivity in a pretty distracting world.