Imagine what you can do to your business if you had 40 additional hours every week. I often get asked about how do I find the time to manage all of my different businesses. Want to know how to make more time in your day? In this article, I will show you my secret trick that helped me add 5 more hours to my day and ultimately allowed me to grow my business.
Few years ago, I remember looking up at the clock at the end of every day and wonder where did all of my day go.
Not only was work consuming my life, it was hindering my growth.
I was getting burnt out and despite having a truly blessed life, I was unhappy.
I knew it was time for me to make some changes.
As always, I decided to take the most extreme approach. I decided to create my own day and added 36 hours to it instead of 24 hours.
That was a BAD IDEA. I was young and stupid. Don’t try that!
The next thing I did completely changed my life.
It’s called Time Blocking.
The concept is similar to creating a financial budget on paper except in this case you’re planning to spend your time rather than money.
This allows you to focus on your top priorities, create hard boundaries, and live your life the way you want.
When I first started, I wrote down my list of tasks for the day, prioritized them, and then put hard deadline on the time I wanted to spend on each.
By just setting hard deadlines, you’d be surprised how efficiently you work.
The same tasks that would take me a full 8 hours day to complete, I was completing them in 3.5 hours.
I started using this saved time to finish additional tasks that would normally fall in the never ending “Tomorrow List”.
As my business grew, I expanded the time blocking concept to create “Theme Days”.
Here’s what my week looks like:
- Monday – WPBeginner Day / Company Meetings / Personal Trainer
- Tuesday – OptinMonster Day / Available for calls and interviews in the afternoon
- Wednesday – Soliloquy + Envira + List25 Day
- Thursday – Personal Blog / Company Meetings / Personal Trainer
- Friday – Planning / Strategy / Reviewing
- Saturday – When I’m not traveling, family day (personal chores, games, activities)
- Sunday – When I’m not traveling, family day (personal chores, games, activities)
I’m usually finished working by 4:30 – 5 p.m. Since I wake up early, majority of my heavy work is done early in the mornings.
Currently we don’t have any kids. Every evening, my wife and I have dinner together and spend the night catching up, watching TV, playing a board game, or even getting frozen yogurt.
Now I know that nothing is perfect and you can’t plan everything.
With my crazy travel schedule, things often get shuffled. During product launches, my schedule looks entirely different.
But by having a proactive approach to handling my time, I’m able to be more productive and have a better work-life balance.
How to Get Started with Time Blocking
There are tons of blank time blocking worksheets that you can download and start filling it out. I personally use Google Calendar because it’s synced to all of my devices and have reminders.
If you want more of a template to start off with, you can download a modified version of my template below.
*The main thing I modified is the time because I know most people don’t wake up at 4:30 a.m*
In order for time blocking to work, you must be honest with yourself and hold yourself accountable.
You need to remove all distractions during your blocks and learn to say NO (to others and yourself).
My rule is that anything other than a task at hand is a distraction.
For breaking up your blocks, you should use Pomodoro technique. For better tracking of how you spend your time, use Time Doctor or RescueTime.
Once you have a basic template, you can easily use it for future planning and improve it to work with your flow.
If you’re not doing this, I challenge you to give it a try for 2 full-weeks. Trust me, you’d be surprised by how much you can get done when you have “hard boundaries”.
As the Parkinson’s law says:
Have you ever used time blocking? Just experimenting with it now? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Hi Syed Sir,
It seems it’s really amazing productivity hack. As being more productive and managing work as well as personal life is a tough challenge for every entrepreneurs, so it’s my wish also. Looking forward to implement these tips along with the “Time Blocking Worksheet”.
Thanks for this useful share.
You’re welcome 🙂
Great strategy. Working 3 jobs (including multiple websites within that), I have to time block when I do my morning routine, when I’m working on which project, when I’m eating, etc. Every Sunday, I review my goals and plan my upcoming week. Of course, as you mention, you can’t plan and some “tweaks” are needed, but it’s amazing how much more you can accomplish when you write it down and be intentional about it.
Very nice and informative article I really liked your way of approach. I’m definitely going to work upon what you said but the thing is my biggest enemy is laziness, How to avoid laziness ? If you can help me then I’d be honoured. Thanks A lot anyways!
If you’re being lazy then you’re not passionate about what you’re doing. You need to create a vision that makes you want to jump out of the bed every morning!
I wholeheartedly agree with this statement:
“If you’re being lazy then you’re not passionate about what you’re doing.”
Passionate people are successful regardless of individual circumstances. Finding what you love to do, pursuing it and succeeding is one of the most liberating feelings Personally,. I don’t ever feel like I’m ‘working’ because every day I get to wake up, do what I love to do and get paid for it. What more could you ask for?
Great ideas here. I may just attempt time blocking because more often than not I feel overwhelmed and limited in what I can achieve in a given day. I often find that I need to juggle multiple projects on a given day, but doing so prevents me from focusing my full energy into anyone.
Your creating a 36 hour work day made me smile. Years ago, I saw a documentary about a study where volunteers lived in total darkness, in a cave, for several weeks. Scientists were tracking what happened without light cues. If memory serves, those volunteers soon shifted from a 24 hour cycle to a 36 hour cycle. Too bad that doesn’t work without total darkness!
It also sounds like you discovered something all humans must deal with; as we age, we cannot recover from all-nighters as easily. Even the most dedicated over achiever will have to allow a full 3 days to recover from one all-nighter after 45!
Good, and timely, post!
Oh yeah I got out of that real fast as it made me really sick.
Patrice La Belle
The block schedule looks a bit like a college course schedule: lab here, seminar there,etc. If I did it then (years ago) I should be able to come up with a time block worksheet that works for me now. Thanks.
EXACTLY! Same logic and it works well. You know when you have to get an A in an exam which you only have 50 minutes to complete. Same concept except every day 🙂
Hi! Great article! Love it. I’ve been trying to do this. But what happens if I consistently estimate my time for a task wrong? Also, what about when “interruptions” happen, e.g. a client calls me and it’s urgent… those things blow out my schedule… what do you advise? Thanks mate! 🙂
I’d recommend using TimeDoctor to better predict your time for specific tasks. In the beginning you’ll be off, but as time goes on, you’ll get much better.
Set boundaries with clients. Because the definition of “urgent” varies.
Thanks for all the great content. Unfortunately, I was unable to open the time block worksheet. Well, it opened in Excel but was a scrambled mess. 🙁
It seems really amazing at how much we can do if only we can prioritize. I will definitely try and give this a shot
Thanks for sharing.