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Time Blocking Leads to Success!

By Archith Seshadri Email By Archith Seshadri
May 2009
Time Blocking Leads to Success!

If you are like most people, you probably have an endless list of things you want to get done but you just don’t have the time to do it. Right? You want to exercise, but who’s got the time? You want to spend more time on your hobby, but the family won’t let you. You want to take more time off, but you have to get your work done first.

Time management is something we all struggle with in our personal and professional lives on a daily basis.   We are all given the same 24 hours in a day, yet some people seem to get so much more done than others. Have you ever wondered why?

There have been books and books written on this subject and the central theme boils down to one key principle—the principle of time blocking!

Time blocking is nothing more than an appointment book for yourself that includes all of the things you want to do in a given day with specific times you set aside for when you are going to do them.   If you are going to go workout at 6:00 in the morning, put it on your calendar. If you are going to have dinner with friends on a specific night, put it down!   

It is very important that you get in the habit of sticking to the schedule you have set for yourself. Otherwise, it becomes nothing more than a things-to-do list and won’t have the same powerful effect it was meant to have. This means if you have set a time for exercise and your friend calls you up to go out, you tell him/her no and set another time that fits with both your schedule. If you have a lunch appointment with your family and an important business client wants to see you, sorry! He’ll have to wait.

Your appointment schedule is your test of integrity not only to yourself as well as to others. We all know people who make plans with you, but habitually cancel at the last minute because something more important came along in their lives. I call them “the definite maybes”.   How does it make you feel when that happens to you? Chances are you won’t count on those folks too often for more important things. The same applies to you and your ability to stick to your commitments.

People who are good at time blocking generally have time for all of the important things in their lives.

People who are more reactive tend to blow with the wind and wonder why they can’t get enough things done. I know of people who have wanted to write a book for years and, by using time blocking, finished their book in three weeks. There are other people I know who wanted to work four days a week and, by blocking out those specific times, have been able to free up more time to do what is important to them.

Business people who identify their high payoff activities and block out times to do just those activities have seen significant improvements in productivity and free time.

3 Suggestions for Time Blocking:

1. Pick a planner/system: If you go to your local office supplies store, you’ll find there are many time planners on the market along with specific time management programs such as the ones from Franklin/Covey, LMI, Anthony Robbins as well as many others you can take part in. Pick one you like and make it a habit to take it with you and use daily.

2. Set aside planning time: This will allow you to identify the important things you want to do and get you to put it in your planner. This could be as little as five minutes before the day to come up with a list of important activities to put on your schedule or an hour or two a week with your core business team. The results may amaze you.

3. Use for at least 60 days! It takes some serious efforts to create new habits. Resolve to use your planning system for at least 60 days until it becomes a habit. If you fall off the bandwagon, get back on at the next possible turn.

Archith Seshadri is a freelance correspondent at Khabar and CBS news, an IT consultant at Accenture, and a music lover who often performs at concerts and community events.

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