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Katie Caruso

Clear. Bright. Connected.

Time Blocking For Productivity Power

Voiceover is...a lot. The audio that's heard in the final product represents just a tiny sliver of the work that goes into this profession. To start, there's all the training, education, and practice that must be continually prioritized to keep your performance in shape and on trend. Further, there are fundamental business routines that must be accomplished regularly to keep your shop in order such as accounting, marketing, sales, etc. Finally, and I believe most importantly, these elements must work in tandem with your own personal pursuits and nourishment. To avoid creating space for your health and wellbeing is to ignore the things that will keep your head grounded and your heart safe on this wild entrepreneurial ride.

So, what's to be done? How can we organize our time effectively and mark our days in such a way that we feel satisfied by the end of them?

After lots of experimenting (and floundering) with various productivity methods, I finally stumbled upon the system that works for me - time blocking. You might be familiar with the concept. After all, it's not particularly revolutionary. It's essentially maintaining a schedule of activities - or calendar. A simple internet search for "time blocking" will garner a gazillion results (more or less) so I'll leave the understanding of the system's fundamental aspects to you. For the purposes of this blog, I'll provide a few tips on how I implement it to keep my own life in order.

  1. Chart Your Course A great first step to time blocking is to create a "map" of your perfect week. Visualize your most productive week, one where everything you need to get done gets done, and write those activities into your schedule. Include everything - personal and professional. Do you have a goal to exercise more? Block off an hour every day for healthy movement. Want to whittle down that stack of webinars you've been neglecting? Reserve half a day each week for learning and development. Feel free to revisit this step as often as you need to. When my life starts to feel a little out of control or my daily activities are no longer serving my goals, I know it's time to re-draw my map.

  2. Reflect, Adjust, Repeat This is where the rubber meets the road. As you go through your days, account for how you actually spent your time. Be honest with yourself. At the end of the week, see how what you thought you'd do stacks up against what you really did. You may need to adjust your habits...or your expectations. This is where I usually get myself into trouble. I have a tendency to overcommit and underestimate how much time it will take for me to complete a task. I reserve some time each week to review my activities and adjust accordingly for the following week.

  3. Create Negative Space This system stops working well for me when I overschedule myself. I've learned to cultivate negative space in my schedule. I block off large swaths of time rather than micromanage my calendar into small chunks. I leave room for conversations and daydreams. Could I quicken my pace to a sprint and accomplish more in my week? Yeah. I sure could, but I am content with working at a pace that suits me and leaves room for the unexpected.

Bottom Line: Time blocking, for me, is not about policing every second of my day. It's about reminding myself that the things, people, and aspirations I care about are worthy of my time. It's about remembering that I'm in the driver's seat of my own life and I am responsible for steering myself in the right direction. Time blocking isn't for everyone, but it's worked for me and has helped me feel more calm and ready to take on my day. I encourage you to experiment and find out what works for you!

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