Time blocking is the practice of scheduling out everything in your day.
And when I say everything, I mean everything!
Meals, work projects, personal time and of course time to study for your CMP exam.
To some of you, this may feel a bit like a straight jacket, but it helps you get the important things done. A side benefit is you will feel less anxious and stressed each day.
Why you ask?
I have talked about decision fatigue before. Among the things you are deciding throughout your day is, should I do this or should I do that. If the decision is already made, when you finish one task you simply move on to your next project.
So how do we do this?
I plan my week on Sundays.
Step 1 - Get a Template or Journal
First, get a good time blocking template, like this one or use the journal that I use, self journal. Here’s a pdf to see if this will work for you. Once you see how it works, you can click here to buy it. Use coupon code: ELLENCMP
I would suggest using a pencil or erasable pen (I like pilot frixion pens). You will find as you fill out the template that you will want to switch things around.
Step 2 - Time Block Your Sleep and Morning Ritual
The first thing I enter into each day is when I plan to wake up and when I plan to go to bed.
Next, I need to plan everything in between.
For example, there are some things I do every day and are non-negotiable. I have a morning ritual that includes grooming, breakfast, exercise, meditation and reading a few pages of professional development. On my calendar, this is just called morning ritual. It takes me about an hour and a half, and I block that out next.
I would suggest you make time to study for your CMP exam part of your morning or evening ritual.
Step 3 -Time Block Your Appointments
Next start filling in your already scheduled appointments for the week. You have committed to these times. Your promises should take priority.
Step 4 - Time Block Your Self Care
Another priority should be taking care of yourself, so next schedule in all of your meals. (Note: I don’t schedule breakfast because it’s a part of my morning ritual.) You will see that on Thursday, I have a really busy afternoon/evening. This helps me identify early that I am going to need a game plan for dinner that night. It also helps me warn my husband that he is going to have soup and sandwiches that night. So this may seem funny to some of you, but it alleviates the anxiety I would have encountered on Thursday when I realized too late that I would not have time to cook dinner and that it would also impact my husbands meal. What a load off my mind that I have a plan ahead of time to deal with this!
Step 5 - Time Block Your Weekly Goals
This is where you are going to need to choose some goals for the week. I would suggest you focus on only 3 or 4. Some will be professional and some personal. For you, one of these things should be time to study for your CMP exam (your 5 CMP Items: attend live class, take a quiz, note cards, write 5 questions, read) For example, for me this week, I am focusing on:
- Cleaning out my closet – professional – this has some sub tasks like bringing donated items to Good Will.
- Writing some time management blogs for you guys – sub tasks has to do with straightening out some issues with my website
- Editing a massive number of quiz questions – I am always trying to update the CMP quizzes and practice tests so the questions are always getting better. I am trying to finish this process by the end of the month.
- Amazon Prime Day – I love this holiday! So I am going to need blocks of time on the 15th and 16th to shop and then later to open and enjoy those new items.
- Meditate – this is something I like to do before I teach the CMP Study Group
Step 6 - Time Block Your Weekly Chores and Errands
All those other things you need to do each week – Plan Meals, Fill Out Your Weekly Planner, Grocery Shopping, Laundry (my husband does this so it’s not on my plan), Clean House, Dry Cleaners, – you get the idea.
Step 7 - Time Block Fun
Don’t forget to add in those things you enjoy – going to the movies, reading a book, date night, hanging out with the kids, tv time.
Step 8 - Plan Your Next Day
Now look at the holes you have on the weekly planner. Each night before you leave the office, fill in the holes on each day so you know exactly what you are going to be doing the next day.
In short, the most important thing is that your plan for the next day should have no holes so you have a plan in place – remember you have made this erasable, should something come up that needs immediate attention. Otherwise, stick to the plan and see how much you get done!