Time Blocking. I'm sure you've heard the term before. If you haven't, well, it is a way to organize your schedule allowing for tasks to be accomplished in designated time periods/blocks of time. It allows for maximum productivity, reduced wasted time, and helps keep you focused on the task at hand. Sounds good right?
Now I'd preface this topic with a reminder that one size doesn't fit all. You may want to have large batch time blocks, or you may want to micro-plan tasks by small time frames. Figure out what works best for you. The goal is to help you develop a system that encourages you to be productive and on task so that less wasted time turns into more time to do what you love!
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How will Time Blocking benefit a mom's day? Just like most jobs, when you are focused on a specific task during a dedicated amount of time, your work will be more focused & efficient. We all have "to do" items to accomplish throughout the week but finding the time to do them each day can get lost in the bustle.
Scheduling a block for housework each day, as well as play time with your kids, meals, and don't forget self care time (like actually sit down with a cup of coffee or read), will help you feel productive, accomplished, and avoid distractions or forgetting important tasks.
Create a rough plan for your week. Refine timelines as needed, give yourself wiggle room, and watch your week become more of a breeze because you have a PLAN!
I like to create my Time Block schedule according to my priorities, as mentioned in this previous blog post; as well as in sync with our natural energy rhythms. When is my mind most creative? I'll schedule work time then. When are my kids most active? I schedule wiggle time then. When is my body going to be too tired to workout? I'll have to schedule exercise time before then. Make sense?
Each general time block just so happens to be around 1 hour for us. But you can have bigger time blocks if that's what works for you. Each time block can be broken down to specifics in something like your daily planner. What has helped me a ton is setting alarms on my phone for the most important activities of the day.
I have one for 9am Learning time, 10am Work time, and 2pm Workout time
A few other tips to help your Time Blocks work best for you:
1) Avoid Multitasking
Let your time block be fully dedicated to the task at hand. Don't mix learning time with chores. Don't mix work time with play time. You can't give your best effort if you're not giving 100% to the task you hope to accomplish.
2) Have a plan for your time
Don't go into your time block not knowing what to do. Plan for that learning hour BEFORE it begins. Know what you'll do during your work hour so the entire time is laser focused. Have a housework schedule so when you get the 30-40 min to do a chore, you know exactly what needs to get done. This will help you make the most of your time.
3) Make sure everyone is on board
Family meetings can help everyone stay on the same page and allow your family to support you so the day can run smoother. You might have a spouse at home who can help protect your time blocks or be an accountability partner if you need it. Communication at home is important!
4) Plan for fun, relaxation, and self-care!
Don't just leave your self-care up to chance! It's just as important as your work hour. Set aside time daily to refill your cup.
Something important to note is that I never expect each activity to take a full hour. Leaving the 60 minutes is meant to allow for grace time in between. The type of schedule (and twilight zone we are living in) is meant to be a loose framework to help keep days in motion with some planned productivity alongside crazy or unstructured "whatevs" time too.
A lot of us have quite a bit on our plate and having a plan just helps.
I've received questions and comments from moms about keeping my kids busy. It's really what helps us not lose our ish day to day in our quarantine time. But this also helps for work at home moms even outside quarantine.
If you have questions or ideas about keeping a schedule at home or keeping kids busy, I'd love to see if I can help, you can email me here.
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Malia was born and raised in Kaneohe, Hawaii and graduated from Azusa Pacific University. She spent the majority of her career as an Early Childhood Education Teacher/Administrator.