Caylee Grey
Fairy art mother

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How to Block Schedule - Five steps to plan your days to their maximum efficiency (with a free block scheduling template).

My number one difficulty in self employment is time management. Realising that you no longer have set times that you need to be working means that you either work the entire day, or you just slack off. You need to work more because more work directly = more money, but you need to work less because you still have friends and family who like seeing you. Balance is important.

I don’t want to work so hard that I stop creating or living.¬†I don’t want to¬†feel guilty about not working. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. And then Nina shared her block schedule, which gave me the final push.¬†It is for all of these¬†reasons that I’m trying detailed block scheduling.

For me, block scheduling serves many¬†purposes: planning¬†how I¬†would optimally fill my day, feeling less guilty if I’m not doing something I should be doing, being more productive and single tasking, and forcing free time. Here are the five steps to plan your days to their maximum efficiency (with a free block scheduling template).

How to Block Schedule

Step One: Brainstorm

How to Block Schedule - Five steps to plan your days to their maximum efficiency (with a free block scheduling template).

Brainstorm the things that need to be done daily and weekly. Brainstorm what I want to do daily and weekly. Use untidy brainstorming handwriting. Write a rough idea of an average day.

Because I already know what an average day looks like for me, as well as what I want my average day looking like, this is easy. If you don’t already know this, you should keep track of your days with a tracker.

Step Two: Fill in a draft schedule

How to Block Schedule - Five steps to plan your days to their maximum efficiency (with a free block scheduling template).

Fill in a weekly schedule. Use neater handwriting.

Step Three: Refine the schedule

How to Block Schedule - Five steps to plan your days to their maximum efficiency (with a free block scheduling template).

Type it all up and print it out because it’s neater and more official looking and more likely to be followed.

A few things to note:

  • I haven’t written in breaks – I get 15 minutes for every 45 minutes of straight work. I’ll be using my Pomodoro timer to track. Breaks¬†in the morning are for breakfast, coffee,
  • I’ll also be tracking my social media reading
  • I’m going to be focusing on single tasking for everything except drinking coffee
  • If I finish a scheduled hour before it’s done, that’s cool, I can carry on with work, I can do something else, or I can take a break.
  • My first hour is for planning, or cuddling. My work day starts at 06.00.
  • I only have 45 minutes dedicated to each MIT. I don’t do this because they are unimportant. I do this so that I’ll actually work on them and not get bored. If¬†I get into flow then I’ll stay on that MIT and come back to the others later.
  • I am only going to check email at 10.00 and 16.00. All emails that can be responded to in 2 minutes or less are done immediately. The rest is put into Todoist and filed.
  • Gym/park is weather dependant
  • Notebook time is the time away from my computer doing work.
  • My last hour¬†is not accounted for. I go to bed at¬†21.00. In the last hour of my day I’ll use it however I want to.

Step Four: Record

How to Block Schedule - Five steps to plan your days to their maximum efficiency (with a free block scheduling template).

Print out a blank weekly schedule, and use it to track how you actually spend your hours.

For the tracker, I’m not trying to follow my schedule exactly. I’m trying to see what I do naturally with the block schedule as a guide. I want to see how close my schedule comes to my natural rhythm.

Step Five: Amend

How to Block Schedule - Five steps to plan your days to their maximum efficiency (with a free block scheduling template).

Track and amend!

Free block scheduling template

Comments

  • Facinating! I enjoyed reading this emencly, I don’t block schedule. I don’t schedule at all because I frequently ignore it. If schedule myself to read a book for an hour, I inevitably go over. Or in the case of ‘steal like an artist’, I read for 3 straight hours until I finished it. I also struggle with things I hate. Oh lord there isn’t a big enough reward in this house to get me to suffer an hour of email time. Love my friends/hate email :p Do tell, what is your motivation to stick to your schedule? Do you use a reward system?

    29 Oct 2014
  • Kinjal

    Hi Caylee, just me again. I like the idea of block scheduling! I currently use Trello which helps me manage projects if they’re not time specific or my day if I need it to be blocked out in various ways. Not sure if you want to try new tools, but its a good option some days.

    When I was attempting to work for myself, I really struggled with the motivation and even at my current job, I have a tendency of pushing those things I don’t want to do till the end of the day. How do you overcome blocks or procrastination? :-)

    29 Oct 2014
  • I wish I had any tips for planning and structuring one’s time.. but I don’t. I’m quite bad at making and sticking to a schedule.. Your way sounds intriguing, though. I think I’ll give it a try soon! :)

    29 Oct 2014

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