Let’s talk about one of my favorite systems for managing my time at work—time blocking!
Time blocking is organizing your day into chunks—with time devoted to each task. It’s a way to combat the feeling of Where does all of my time go?
Instead of drowning in the chaos of the day, time blocking can help you to feel like you’re truly owning your time and taking charge of it on your terms… The most important things get done because you’ve made time for them!
Now, we dive into this a little bit more this week on Episode 094 of the podcast, but I wanted to take some time to discuss how time blocking can be accomplished, even when we find ourselves with a shared calendar at work. It may sound challenging to get your schedule aligned with the rest of your colleagues’… but the truth is that with a few adjustments, it really is a simple technique that can make all the difference in the productivity of your whole team in the workplace!
Luckily, I have a few tips to help make time blocking your shared calendar at work a success. Let’s check them out!
If one of the priorities for your company (or even just for yourself) is to devote some time each week to creating, administrative work, or the like… then chances are, having a set time or day each week to spend on that specific function is going to be incredibly beneficial in terms of how much you’re able to get done.
Considering that, I want to encourage you to use your shared calendar to block off a specific chunk of time during a specific day of the week for those tasks that require absolutely no interruptions.
Dustin Moskovitz, for example, who is the co-founder of productivity app Asana (which we also use at the IWP studio), has a policy of “No Meeting Wednesdays.” Ultimately, blocking off the entire day allows him and his team to dedicate the entire day to creating and doing, rather than meetings and interruptions… And it has made all the difference in their productivity overall.
If blocking off an entire day of the week for your team isn’t doable, then try blocking off an hour or two each day as Busy Time for yourself and for your team; knowing that you have a specific chunk of time each day to devote to your own priority list can often make all the difference in getting yourself organized when it comes time to hunker down and focus!
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs also take time blocking a step further when it comes to their shared work calendars by creating specific themes for each day of the week.
Marketing Monday, Communications Tuesday, or Admin Wednesday, for example, are just a couple theme ideas that we’re talking about here. The beauty is that you can create themes that are specific to your job and to your team’s goals in the office, allowing you and your team to get on the same page and to plan the workweek accordingly so there is never any big question about what priorities take precedence each day.
While you may have a lot of time blocks on your own personal calendar that are incredibly specific to you and what you have going on… When it comes to your shared calendar at work, it’s best to keep your own blocks simple so that others can easily look and see when to expect a response via email from you or when the best time to schedule a time to meet with you might be.
If you’re planning to devote a few hours in the morning on a personal task or a big project that requires little-to-no distractions, for example, then use your shared calendar to mark off that block as Busy Time for yourself. That way, your colleagues can look at the calendar and see that you’re unavailable for, let’s say… 9 a.m. until noon on Monday.
Keep your personal appointments, specific task blocks, and the like specific for your own calendar, and mark those blocks as non-specific busy time on your shared work calendar.
In case anyone from your team needs to meet with you to discuss something, maintain a block or two each day where you can make yourself available if needed; marking those blocks as your Available time will help your team understand that those are the times that they can expect a quick response via email or when it’s okay to come to your office and ask any pressing questions or to schedule a sit-down with you.
If you need a refresher on time blocking, tune in to Episodes 052 and 094 of Productivity Paradox… And tell me, what is most challenging for you when it comes to your shared calendar at work? Share your experiences in the comments below!
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