Over the last few years I’ve really been working on being super efficient with my work time. When I get more done in less time while working, I spend more time living. And that’s the ultimate goal. Can I get an amen?
I used to grind 24/7, and wear it as a badge of honor. When I started my business the culture was hustle and grind all the time- and I was good at it. I grew up hustling in volleyball for years, and it served me well. I carried that over into work as if, the more time I spent hustling the more successful I would be. And while I do still think there is a time to do a little hustling in work, it’s very minimal.
My goal in work life now is to see just how efficient I can be. I meticulously look at our businesses and find the least efficient, most time sucking tasks and either nix them, outsource them or rework how I complete those tasks.
There is A Time and A Place
Like the saying goes, there is a time and a place, and I think that is very true when it comes to hustling. I think there are times when you have to hustle in business, but that time needs to be used carefully as to not get too close to burnout, or waste too much of your precious time constantly grinding.
In the beginning I worked full-time with a side hustle. I didn’t have any kids, so grinding overtime was easy. When I got married and we started a family I instantly realized that was no longer serving me or my family. My business back then started out as 100% photography, then I added graphic design/web design, and when I started a family and wanted my evenings and weekends back I completely stopped photography. And it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Working when you want, where you want allows you to call the shots. And it’s awesome.
Maybe you’re in a season where you’re starting a business or working a side hustle. Wherever you find yourself in life, right now, take a step back and identify what means most to you. That’s where it all starts.
Time blocking was an absolute game changer for me. It allows me to get more done in less time guilt free. Here’s how I use time blocking.
Getting Started with Time Blocking
Pull up your calendar, or get out your planner. I personally use Google calendar. I love how it integrates with just about every program or service I use. First thing is first, identify your musts. The non-negotiable things you have to get done. I create a separate calendar within my Google Calendar account and name it “work” so I can uncheck this on my weekends or when my work day is over and I want to just focus on other activities. My musts are getting my kids to and from school. I create a block or event in Google calendar and name it “School Drop Off” and assign it a color. I duplicate these blocks to fill out my M-F school week. Then I do the same for “School Pick-up”.
Using Your Most Productive Time To Your Advantage
Now it’s time to define your most productive time. For most people this will be in the morning, before lunch. After I’ve given myself a few minutes to get settled in, I block this off to do my deep work. I create a block called Deep Work, in a different color and duplicate it through my work week. Make sure to schedule a lunch break, I schedule myself 30 minutes. Make sure you block off time for lunch. If my lunch doesn’t take that time, I can throw a load of laundry in, do a little tidying up or whatever else I need to get done. Then I create another block of time titled “Deep Work” again until it’s time for school pick-up. I have school pick-up blocked out in my calendar as well.
Creating these blocks of deep work are crucial to getting your top to-dos done. The needle movers go here. Make sure to turn off notifications, close out additional browsers, anything that will distract you. Set your mind to what you have to get done and do that, with zero distractions.
What To Do When Your Schedule Changes
Lets be real, things change, kids get sick, virtual days, doctors check-ups, you name it. I used to push back when it came to change. It would bother me, I didn’t feel like I had it together when I didn’t follow my schedule. Listen, one thing I’ve learned through my entrepreneurship is to pivot. I’ve become a pivoting queen in every facet of life. I don’t let things bother me, the stress just isn’t worth it to me anymore. So when something comes up, pull up that event and delete it, only that event not your entire calendar that you’ve duplicated it to. Another beauty of Google Calendar. And then add in what you’re now doing in that block of time. And if you had something you had to get done for work, find another sliver of time to set aside to do that deep work.
Time blocking allows us to be super efficient with our time, so that when we have to or want to change it up we can, because we’ve been super efficient during our deep work.
Schedule sharing with my husband has been amazing. I don’t share my deep work, lunch breaks, school drop off and pick-up, but I do share events I want him to know he’s obligated to do, or I am, or events for the kids. It’s so nice for him to pull up his Google calendar app and see what I’ve entered. Google calendar, I love you.
I hope you give time blocking a try. As a wife, mother of three, 3 businesses, and a cattle ranch my time can be spread thin. Time blocking has been an absolute game changer to help me get more done in less time.