What to be more efficient? Block your Time.
If I want to get something done and be efficient – it needs to be in my calendar, that’s how I block my time. If it’s not there it doesn’t exist. I take my calendar to the next level and use the Time Blocking Method.
I learned this little trick over a decade ago from Chris Brogan – – I block out 45 minutes in my calendar to do certain tasks. For me, 45 minutes is manageable and not overwhelming. Chris uses 20 minute blocks as an FYI.
Here’s how it works.
When I get my new planner each year – yes, I have a paper planner and I use a digital calendar for my phone – I go through the entire year and block out any major things that I know about. Business trips, family vacations, holidays, etc.
Next, I dive into the days – it always starts with self-care. If I don’t take care of me, there is zero chance I can take care of my clients. Trust me on this one – it’s important.
Every day from 5-7 am I have “Me Time”. This is critical because I’m not one of those jump out of bed and run around like a crazed woman. I need to ease into my day. Some days – like today, I began working at 4:30 am because I felt like writing, but most days 5-7 includes drinking my coffee, reading, meditating, exercising, journaling – whatever feels right on that day. I rarely – I mean rarely, change this routine unless I’m traveling.
I’m a morning person – so next, I get the MOST important things on my calendar for the beginning of the day. Usually the creative things and meetings. I’m not a fan of afternoon meetings because my brain isn’t as sharp. Here’s a time hack – use a calendar scheduling tools such as Calendly or ScheduleOnce – ONLY offer the times you WANT to have appointments. I’m a bit flexible on this especially if it’s a prospect – if the ONLY time they can meet me is at 2 pm and it’s a client that fits our niche 100% I’ll meet them at 2 pm.
I also try to book days to work on my business versus in it. Mondays are my work on Red Barn Days. Depending on what is going on at Red Barn I may have some client phone calls or work – but I TRY my best to never schedule appointments on Mondays (or Fridays).
Tuesday-Thursdays are all hands on deck client workdays – this is when I work IN my businesses. Fridays are flex days for me – sometimes we work a half-day – sometimes we don’t work at all. It depends – I leave these days open and again, try not to schedule client appointments on Fridays.
The secret is to be structured AND flexible at the same time. I don’t lose it if my time blocking has to shift – but I do try to honor it.
As for the paper planner and digital – why both? I’m a pen on paper person – always have been, but I also need to have the efficiency and transparency of a digital calendar for business So I keep two. It works for me and I don’t mind keeping both current. The paper calendar allows me to write notes and it also acts like a journal and a place for me to dump ideas – my digital calendar is simply for tracking my appointments.
Hope this helps shed some light on how to be uber-efficient! Do you think being efficient is a blessing or a curse – read more here.