The feeling of not having enough hours in the day is an all too familiar feeling for most entrepreneurs. There are so many important things to get done. Even going into the day with a to-do list isn’t enough to ensure success. The most under-utilized tool for priority management is time-blocking your calendar.
Before I discovered time-blocking, my calendar was a mess. I pulled myself in too many different directions and it showed. I was losing time with my family and it frustrated them as much as me. Problems popped up with my clients and my business partners. It felt like I was constantly dropping the ball and falling behind. I wasn’t able to use my working hours effectively and ended up wasting more time and money in the process.
Time-Blocking as a Budgeting Tool
Think of your calendar as a budget for your time. Like money, time is a limited resource. You have to find as many ways as you can to make your schedule work for you. Put yourself in charge of how you spend your time.
Your calendar will show you where you’re spending most of your time and give you a chance to evaluate if this is the best use of your limited hours.
How to Use Time-Blocking
Fortunately for all of us, time-blocking is an easy technique to deploy. Open up your calendar app, whether it’s at Outlook or Google tool or just the calendar that comes on your phone. Take a little time to think about everything you have to accomplish in the next couple of weeks.
Make note of all your appointments inside the calendar. Set noticeable alerts for start times. Set up automatic recurrences for weekly or monthly events that are the most critical, including billing and paying for expenses.
Don’t just use time-blocking for actual appointments. Schedule time to work on projects, time to brainstorm, and time to be with family or just relax. Create an agenda of your priorities and don’t limit it to work. Part of being successful is being able to maintain a social and spiritual life outside of business.
When you set a schedule, you’re setting a goal for how you’re going to spend your time. Obviously, there are some can’t miss deadlines, whether it’s a big meeting or your kid’s school play. But you have to be flexible enough to account for priority changes during the week. Sticking religiously to your calendar shouldn’t be more stressful than not having time-blocking was.
Also, simplify your calendar management with help from some of the technological tools out there. Integrations like Zapier, Zoom Meetings, and Follow Up can create reminders and manage all your priorities seamlessly.
In all honesty, starting out may be a challenge. You’ll be adjusting to self-enforced scheduling and the temptation to waste time can be strong. But be persistent. Once you get into the rhythm of it, you’ll find there were more hours in the day than you used to think.