Part of the appeal for owning your own business is that you can set your own schedule, choose what you want to work on, and structure you day how you like.
However, sometimes it seems the tail wags the dog. Your day goes from one email to the next as you put one fire to the next. It is a constant battle between working on your business versus in your business (think sales versus delivering for existing clients). You wonder where the day went and what you accomplished, if anything.
There are many ways to take control of your schedule from limiting the number of clients you take on to building systems for efficient workflows to delegating more to your team. But I would like to talk about time blocking.
Time blocking is a way to organize your calendar. For example, rather than check emails as they come in, you check and respond to them during certain chunks in the day. By blocking chunks of time on your calendar, it also allows you to focus and do deep dives into whatever you are working on without interruptions.
You can get as detailed as you want into what each chunk of time is. Though beware the more detailed you get, the easier it is to get derailed and the more time it takes to prepare. I organize my blocks by 8 Daily Tasks and Projects.
- 8 Daily Tasks. These were the tasks I identified as the most important ones that needed to be completed on a daily basis. My first chunk of time was always dedicated to what I called FM8. Sample tasks included:
- 15 minutes of content writing
- Respond to emails from active clients
- Tasks to get any new clients started
- Sales follow ups
- 15 minutes of content writing
- Projects. I would pick one project each day to focus on and move forward.
Visit here for more details on how to set up time blocking for you.
Meetings versus working
Meetings are another time suck. I was telling someone the other day that when I was an employee, I did not mind having a doctor’s appointment midday. But as a business owner, a 30-minute appointment can take up as much as two hours in your valuable work day.
Being strategic about how you schedule time away from your desk can help you take control of your time too. Check out some ways I have organized my time in the past:
- I am a morning person who gets my most focused work done then. So I made myself available for meetings only in the afternoons.
- While working in recruiting, our busiest days were Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays. So I did our business development and meetings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays only.
- Instill “No Meeting Mondays.” By not scheduling any meetings on Mondays, I am able to ease back into the work week and get a lot of work done.
- Create an office Day. I schedule no meetings, events, errands, etc.,that take place away from my desk on Thursdays. I do schedule calls--just nothing that takes me away from my desk. I can get a lot done by spending one full day at my desk.
Switching costs are the time and energy it takes for you to get back into the swing of things when you are interrupted. If you take the view that your switching costs are very high, it will help motivate you to guard your time. Time blocking reduces the number of times you must switch tasks, which then reduces your switching costs.
To have more time for your life or for other parts of your business, consider ways to lower your switching costs. Put a dollar amount on it if you have to. It is your business and your life; make it work for you!