Are you struggling to get all your tasks done in a week? Or worse, you haven’t met a quarterly goal since Bush (Sr.) was in office?
Time blocking (and my personal spin on it) has allowed me to get more done in 12 months than most people get done in a year.
I’m AJ, and after scaling my business to a multiple seven-figure exit, I tried every productivity strategy in the books.
Then, I found time blocking.
Join me on a never-ending adventure to crush your goals! Let’s dive in.
What is Time Blocking?
Time blocking is a time management strategy that divides your day into bite sized chunks where you execute on tasks.
Picture this: your day is a giant jigsaw puzzle, and each piece, or block, is a specific chunk of time.
Now, instead of having a messy pile of tasks you hope to miraculously get through, each of these blocks is assigned a particular task or set of tasks.
No more aimless wandering through your to-do list.
With time blocking, you wake up each morning with a clearly etched game plan, outlining what to tackle and when.
It’s like having a personal secretary, but you’re the boss and the secretary. Cool, right?
Example: At school, you have time for math, recess, and Spanish (which I never went to)?
Time blocking is kind of like that.
Instead of trying to do everything simultaneously like a superhuman (or a very confused octopus), you focus on one thing at a time.
It’s like giving an appointment to your tasks. Pretty neat, huh?
What Time Blocking Isn't
Time blocking isn’t:
- Waking up at an ungodly 2:00 AM because you think the ghosts of productivity past will visit you. Spoiler: They won’t.
- Trying to squeeze out more hours in a day. We’re not making orange juice here, folks!
- Using a sleep deprivation strategy because you believe in the ‘more time awake = more work done’ myth.
- Believing productivity is linear and matches the owl hours. Just stick to being human, not an insomniac bird.
Time Blocking and the 12 Week Year
While time blocking is a big part of my strategy, I combined it with a few other tools that amplify its effectiveness tenfold.
- The 12-Week Year
- SMART Goals
- Google Calendar
What is the 12-Week Year?
The 12-week year (Book by Brian P. Moran) is essentially an intelligent system for goal-setting that kicks the traditional annual approach to the curb.
Instead of setting out yearly goals and losing track or motivation halfway through, you’re setting goals for 12 weeks.
It’s like running a year-long marathon but in sprints.
You plan, execute, and assess your achievements in a more focused, manageable timeframe.
Suddenly, the finish line isn’t a distant blur but an exciting end goal just around the corner!
What are SMART Goals?
SMART Goals – (Yeah, you probably already know what they are, but I’m bein thorough here).
These are our good ol’ Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound objectives.
They’re like a compass guiding our productivity journey, cutting through the fog of vague aspirations.
- Specific – What do you want to accomplish
- Measurable – What will the KPIs be?
- Achievable – What can you actually achieve in 12 weeks
- Relevant – Is this important to you right now?
- Time-bound – 12 weeks from now
Before we embark on our time-blocking journey, we need to get armed with a few tools!
- A calendar might seem strange to zap up your productivity, but bear with me.
- You can use your tool of choice, but Trello is free.
Step by Step Guide to Time Blocking
Here is my step-by-step guide for getting more done in 12 weeks than most people get done in 12 months.
Step 1: Create Your 12-Week SMART Goals
Let’s begin with the end in mind, the famous words of Stephen Covey.
When creating your 12-week SMART goals, picture where you want to be by the end of the period.
- Be specific – don’t just say, “I want to grow my business”; instead, aim for “I want to write 30 blog posts.”
- Remember to keep it measurable so you can track your progress.
- Ensure it’s achievable; if you’re a one-person team, don’t set a goal to conquer the global market in 12 weeks.
- Keep these goals relevant to your overall vision.
- And finally, time-bound them to 12 weeks—time to roll up your sleeves and dive into the ocean of productivity.
Step 2: Break down your 12-week SMART goals into weekly chunks.
Think of it as slicing up a productivity pizza.
Each slice represents an actionable, bite-sized task you can munch on weekly.
So, if your 12-week goal is to start a blog and write 30 blog posts,
Your weekly tasks may look like this:
- Week 1: Set up a blog
- Week 2: Research blog topics
- Week 3: write 3 blog posts
- Week 4: write 3 blog posts, etc.
Step 3: Write down your weekly goals in a Trello checklist
Step 3 is all about putting your weekly tasks into something tangible and visible – the Trello checklist.
By jotting down your weekly goals, you can easily track your progress and tick off completed tasks.
Think of it as your personal cheerleader, celebrating every small victory with you and keeping you motivated.
Plus, there’s something incredibly satisfying about checking off a task, isn’t there?
Here’s my Trello Checklist. I have several for each one of my goals.
Step 4: Time Block Your Tasks
Now that your goals are neatly broken down into delicious, bite-sized morsels, it’s time to bring in our secret weapon: time blocking.
Here’s the deal: Time blocking isn’t just about slap-dash scheduling. No, siree!
It’s about assigning specific slots to your tasks, making them feel all special and important.
It’s like saying, ‘Hey, task, you’re not just another item on my list. You’re a VIP, do you want bottle service?”
So, open up that Google Calendar and start plugging in your tasks, allocating ample time for each.
Tips on time-blocking
- I like to setup my weekly schedule on Sunday night
- I like to include all my business tasks (and most personal tasks) in my time-blocking schedule
- I like to include some buffer space between tasks, so I can find my flow and get into the zone.
- Most importantly, MOVE ON from a task when the block is over.
Here’s a picture of my calendar from this week.
So, there you have it, folks! Time-blocking, in all its glory.
I can (almost) guarantee that this method will blow your goals out of the water for the end of 2023.
Try it this coming week, and let me know how it went in the comments!