How to boost your productivity with time-blocking

Hollie from MayDay VA has been a GigSuper member since, almost, day one. Through her productivity-coaching business, Hollie’s all about giving self-employed folks the tools they need to stay on track (sound like any superfund you might know?) 😉 . We're thrilled to partner with her and asked her to write about her number one productivity tip – time-blocking.

Planning and organisation have never scared me.

BC – Before Child, that is – I was an absolute master at getting things done. Heck, at one stage I was attending TAFE full-time, finishing my final subject at university, working part-time/casual, and finalising my wedding plans. Of course, I knew how drastically life would change when I became a mum, but I didn’t realise just how much I would be relying on five or 10-minute pockets of time here and there. 

It was during the first 18-months of my daughter’s life when I realised that I needed to up the ante if I wanted to stay on top of my business. I needed to apply new methods and practices to get things done, which is when I rediscovered time-blocking. 

What’s time-blocking? 

Good question. Put simply, time-blocking is an effective time-management tool. It can help you with all types of planning and goal-setting and, perhaps most importantly, it can help you move forward in your business. 

Rather than working from a daily to-do list, time-blocking involves you assigning time to specific tasks when you’re feeling at your most productive. 

For example, my workday begins at 10am and finishes at 4pm. I have two full days a week, Tuesday and Wednesday, of child-free time. For six hours, twice a week, I need to complete or continue with client projects, I need to eat lunch, and I need to work *on* my business, rather than *in* it. I also work Thursday and Friday mornings, however, these days are dedicated to personal development and moving me forward in my business.

Applying time-blocking methods allows me to reach peak productivity and (mostly) avoid distractions.

So, stuck underneath my keyboard, I have an ideal workweek schedule, which includes our full family schedule. My work time’s highlighted (the remainder is white) and each hour of the day is accounted for. While some people see it as restrictive, I see it as proactive, flexible, and freeing.

It allows me to focus on what really needs to get done to move me forward and to help me achieve my long-term goals.

How to apply time-blocking to your business

Before we get down to it, first you need to jot down all the things you do in your day for your business, and in your daily life. Include things like groceries and errands, family activities, ‘me’ time, content creation, product development, client meetings and travel (if you have set travel times). You need to account for everything.

Then take a look at your list.

Can you see anything that might be holding you back, or taking up more time than it should?

Once you’ve got your list finalised, it’s time to start working on allocating the tasks to your daily schedule. 

Allocating tasks for productivity

To get the most out of time-blocking, it’s a great idea to identify when you’re most (and least) productive throughout the day. For example, I’m productive throughout most of the day – as long as I have a clear outline of what’s expected of me. 

Once you’ve identified your most productive time of day, put your more challenging jobs in that time-slot and then pop your easier tasks into the times when you know you’re generally less productive.

Think of these tasks as being ones you can bump off quickly and with ease 👇🏻

While the chart above shows my ideal workweek, the emphasis should be on the word ‘ideal’ –  I regularly revamp and rejig my priorities and weekly tasks.

Knowing that time-blocking is how I work best has given me the flexibility to work productively, however, it’s worth noting that I didn’t start with one hour of time- blocking. I dived into the deep end, head first. But I knew I’d be okay because I thrive in a highly planned and organised environment.

Sometimes, if my day goes astray, I take some of my chill-out time in the evening and do non-urgent tasks. And I’m totally okay with that because I’m still doing something for me. I’m still moving forward in my business.

So, go ahead and get planning. Good luck! 😊

Head on over to Hollie's GigSuper partner page to read more about the work Hollie is doing and to discover more about her partnership with GigSuper.