- Are you immediately overwhelmed by the sheer number of items on your to-do list?
- Are talks and meetings slipping through the cracks?
- Are you a mom wearing a lot of hats, always struggling to get yourself in the right direction?
- Do you have enough flexibility in your life / school / work and you need to build your structure?
- Do you feel defeated at the end of the day, week, or month?
Don’t worry if you answer yes to any of the above questions; he was me too. Then I realized that if I was going to be as efficient at home as I was in business, I needed a better system.
No doubt about it: The day I learned to stop, my stress levels dropped dramatically.
Bonus: This stress reliever solution is uncomplicated and inexpensive to use. All you need is some paper and writing utensils!
Why block schedules are so powerful
So, what is this block scheduling and how will it save your seriousness while increasing your productivity?
Block scheduling is a way to get your to-do list and manage it through such tasks. Then pair the tasks together in a block to maximize your skills and allow you to do more in less time.
Think about all the hats you wear on any given week: wife, mother, maid, chef, taxi driver, executive, teacher, cleaner, arena runner, personal assistant… the list goes on.
Does it make sense if you schedule your dolist in time blocks that fit the tasks in different parts of your week? More weird spaces in your day will drain your entire flow and leave you tired of just deciding what to do next.
The magic secret of block schedules is:
Decision prevents fatigue
Studies show that when we make the most decisions throughout the day, we control ourselves (yes, a limited amount is available!) And tend to make quicker, less desirable choices. Once we use these decisive powers, our minds just want to take the easy way out!
Every mother knows what happens. You are thinking about the steps for the next thing on the list after finishing a task, and then the spouse or child asks a question. Bam: You are immediately overwhelmed and frustrated. In most cases, this is because there are too many tabs open in your brain!
By making yourself a flexible routine, you get the structure that we naturally fight without strict requirements.
Protects your preferences
Having an out-of-the-box block only saves me time and frustration. When I am asked when I am available for an appointment, I always prefer MW F with an answer of 1: 30-4: 30, even if I am trying to go on a strict schedule. I’ve done T-T and just turned 1: 30-4: 30 blocks for the second day of the week.
Block scheduling doesn’t change your to-do list, it makes it more efficient and manageable.
Block scheduling not only allows me to feel like I’m accomplishing something in every area of my life during the week, but can actually make it work! I spend very little time figuring out when new things will pop up.
Get rid of guilt
Like the financial budget, a one-time budget saves on crime because I no longer feel like I’m wasting precious time putting on a hair mask and painting my nails. It’s on schedule after all!
How to create a block schedule?
Are you ready to say goodbye to the squirrel brain, as I like to call it? Great, grab a piece of paper, a pen, and a highlighter or marker. Then read on to get your block schedule started!
Step 1: Brain dump
You’ll want to sit down and list all your responsibilities to get started. Think broadly, such as “pay the bill” or “pay the electricity bill.”
Next, highlight any activity or item that has a set day / time.
Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like BT aint for me either, Looks like BT aint for me either, Looks like BT aint for me either, Looks like BT aint for me either. If we know everything we have to deal with on a regular basis, we can deal with it.
Hint: It may take a few days to really get on this list. You take your time!
Step 2: Arrange in blocks
Next we want to sort these items into blocks or categories. Your blocks will be different depending on the needs of your family.
This is a sample of my blocks and what kind of activities I complete during each block:
- Morning block (Make exercise, shower, breakfast, bed, water / grass garden)
- Productivity Block (This is my job in the home block where everything related to business is done)
- Outing block (From appointments, grocery shopping, work, taking or taking children to activities)
- Business Growth Block (Take online classes, do research, read business books, listen to business podcasts)
- Self-care / self-growth block (Take a nap, read a book for fun, apply a face mask, paint my nails, apply a hair mask, take classes to learn new skills, spend time being creative, meet a friend for coffee Or on food bites)
- Domestic Management Block (Meal planning, bill payment, meal preparation, laundry, cleaning, declarator)
- Catch all blocks (Names say it all)
- Connection block (For some, this can only be called family time; this is the time we will spend in family contact with each other.)
- Bedtime block (Bathroom / shower, get kids ready for bed, read aloud)
- Weekly Power Hour (As Gretchen Rubin puts it, “something that can be done at any time is often not done at any time.” Those things are put in the power of time to keep things from cracking.) This includes ordering contacts, fixing tasks, a pair of glasses that sits on my bathroom counter for days, calling to schedule or radio cleaning teeth, etc.)
Step 3: Take block inventory
- The number of blocks decreases. Personally, I think 12 blocks is the most you should do. I personally want to keep it at 10 or less.
- I have found that the maximum time per block is 90-180 minutes. This gives you plenty of time to get into a good flow and accomplish more than one small task or one big task, while avoiding boredom, disruption, or being overwhelmed.
- Although you may have different blocks for different days, I do not suggest having more than 2 different schedules, such as M-W-F and T-Th schedule, the way I have my own setup.
- It also helps me to have blocks that run on alternate days at the same time. Check out my sample below and note how both my Self Care and Out Out Blocks run daily from 1: 30-4: 30. That way I’m just looking at which block, when not.
- I don’t block on weekends. If I find myself with free time on the weekends (who am I laughing at!) I just choose to do the best I can for the day’s schedule and I want to follow this set of blocks.
Step 4: Arrange your blocks
Notice that the step 1 you have highlighted has immovable objects attached to it over time. Plug in these blocks, then place your other blocks around them.
They are most effective during the day when you put as much demand on your brain power as possible. For some people who may be 8-10 in the morning, for me it’s noon.
Add lower priority blocks at times when you’re not at your best, such as before dinner.
Here is an example of what I came up with.
Step 5: Apply to your to-do list!
If you’re still stuck with me and still don’t believe in how to save your disgrace and increase your productivity, then firmly believe that we are on the verge of magic!
Instead of looking at your to-do list every day, do the following:
- Color code in your list, using one color for each block
- Place items in the assigned block page
Now, look at each short list when you are in the block and select the most pressing item during each block.
Where I struggle the most as a mother (emotionally and mentally) is making the decisions that put the most pressure between family and business and the self. Block scheduling removes this mental inclination of war by deciding for me. When I’m in my business block, I only have one set of tasks to set up, and the most important task is to get to the top easily.
Stop your balance
Looking at the big picture also helps you see how little time you spend on yourself – we all need to give priority to the mother who can give to those who depend on us.
I’ve included some worksheets to get you started, but feel free to use whatever you’ve had. Once you’ve created your blocks, you’ll find items off your list in record time.
Download these free printable sheets to get started and start reaping the benefits of block scheduling!
Do you stop the schedule? What are your best tips for budgeting time?