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Time blocking for busy professionals

September 07 2017
September 07 2017
questions to ask when hiring a real estate agent (9)
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Time blocking for busy professionals

Time management is a real issue for most people, especially busy professionals. With packed schedules, endless to-do lists, looming deadlines and demanding clients, I know how easy it is for the day to get away from us.

As a real estate agent, I'm convinced that I must be 100% reachable at all times - that every text, email and call received needs my immediate attention. As a result, the day becomes reactionary, merely responding to the myriad of things that get thrown my way. But the truth is, reactionary work keeps us all from being completely focused on the task at hand. And thus, keeps us from being as effective and productive as we’d like.

The solution? Time blocking.

I’ve tried many different ways of approaching my work day, and time blocking is hands-down the most effective time management strategy I’ve used. It's a method of assigning specific tasks to blocks of time, in order to make the most of your day.

But it’s also more than that. It's about intentionally choosing what you focus your attention on throughout your day, instead of simply reacting to the things happening to us.

So I’ve narrowed it down to 7 Simple Steps to Begin Time Blocking:

  1. Make a to-do list. The key here is to do a total brain-dump. Write down every single thing that needs to get done, in no particular order. And remember to include not only work but home life, kids, errands, events, etc. This is not only so you don't forget it, but because it frees the brain from the responsibility of remembering, which allows it to focus on other, more important things.

  2. Prioritize your tasks. Now, this is super important. Look at your to-do list and decide what is truly important. Assign a level of importance to each task. I like to use a star rating system. Three stars mean a “super important”, two stars are “important” and one star is “important, but can wait”.

  3. Block off time. Set aside blocks of time on your calendar to get your most important tasks done. This is where people tend to get a little lost. We underestimate how long it actually takes us, so be generous in the beginning.

  4. Single-task. I saw a quote that read “Multitasking - screwing up several things at once.” I laughed because it was so true. It’s easy to get caught up in the notion that multitasking is some superhero talent, but in actuality, it's been proven that our brains are actually not meant to multitask, and in fact, the quality of our work decreases when we multitask. In the time blocking method, you are single tasking.

  5. Don't jump around. I’m 100% guilty of this. I have a tendency to jump from task to task before the first one is complete. I get distracted or lose focus, leaving the half finished task for a later time. Before I know it, I had five half finished tasks. So stick to the task at hand until it's complete or for the time you have allotted to working on it.

  6. Don’t start with easy. Sometimes we feel this urgency to get small, unimportant tasks “over with” before I can go on with the bigger, more cumbersome ones. But what you want to do is actually the opposite. Always start with your highest priority tasks first, as well as those that are a bit more challenging and need your full focus.

  7. Stop Interruptions. There is nothing like the buzzing or ringing of a phone to interrupt your creative workflow. My best advice is to turn off notifications while you work. I like to put my phone on airplane mode. Or set a special ringtone for your kids or family, so you will know when it's an urgent call.


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Mekrere

September 05, 2018 4:14 AM

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