I was getting frustrated. Every month I would set goals, and every month it seemed like I was coming up short in the same areas. I wasn't reading enough, working out enough, doing my devotions enough, getting enough projects done, etc. I just couldn't seem to find the time. But I felt like I was constantly busy, so where was all of my time going?
Then one day it dawned on me: the problem was that I didn't have a plan for how I was going to accomplish my goals. I just made them and hoped I'd be able to get around to them "sometime." I knew that if I wanted to put a dent in my to-do list, I had to make a plan of action.
How I Organized My Whole Life
I had heard of this little thing called "time blocking" before, but I was hesitant to try it. Time blocking is like a to-do list on steroids. Instead of just making a list of everything you'd like to get done in a day, you plan out exactly when you're going to work on each task.
The thought of this was definitely intimidating. I have to plan out every hour of my day? What if something unexpected pops up? What if I mess up the schedule? Then I'll be even more stressed out about everything! Nonetheless, I decided to give it a try.
I even made a cute little organized sheet because everything is better when it's pretty. [And I'm sharing it with you as a FREE printable! You can see all 50+ free printables that we offer on the blog in our library of organizing printables!]
Here's how I use it: either the night before or first thing in the morning, I start by filling in the "To Do List," (I break this part down into "Home," "Blog," and "Kids" categories.) "To Contact," and "To Buy" sections.
Then I look at the time blocking part of the sheet. I enter in any activities we have planned for the day-- play dates, swimming lessons, meetings, etc.
After those times are blocked off, I schedule the items from my other sections around what we have going on for the day. My end result will look something like this:
The key is that everything in your "To Do/Buy/Contact" sections should end up somewhere in your time-blocked schedule. Don't forget to add in things like getting showered and ready for the day, drive time, meal prep time, etc.
What surprised me about this system was that it gave me so much peace of mind.
Previously, I would be in the middle of a task, remember something I had to do, leave task #1 half finished so I can do task #2, maybe get back to task #1 unless I think of a third thing I need to be doing...and so on.
Now if I'm doing the dishes and remember that I have to call and schedule a doctor's appointment, I have it written in on my sheet later in the day, so I know it will be taken care of then. I can complete the task at hand without interruption.
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All that being said, do I follow my time blocked schedule to a "T" every day? Almost never. But I'm always able to refer to it to know what I'll have to sacrifice if I decide to go off course.
For example, if I'm in the middle of writing a blog post, but I'm supposed to move on to working out, is it worth it to do a shorter work out so I can finish my post? Or is there a way I can rework a later activity?
I am always sure to schedule in some "buffer" time in case a task takes longer than expected. (In the example above, I scheduled a whole hour for breakfast and lunch, but I know it won't really take that long, so I can use the extra time to make up something if I've gotten behind.)
Or if I realize I'm not going to be able to complete everything on my list, I can choose which item(s) can wait until the next day.
Since I've started time blocking, I feel like I'm getting way more accomplished. I'm not tempted to linger as long on social media because I know I only have a set amount of time to finish a task.
I don't run aimlessly from thing to thing since I have each item scheduled into my day. It's all about working smarter, not harder!
I know everyone's brains work differently and an organizational system that works perfectly for one person may be a bust for someone else.
If you haven't tried time blocking yet, though, I would encourage you to give it a try and see if you feel more productive. I know it has made a world of difference for me!
What tips do you have for organizing your time? Has time blocking worked for you?