May 2014

Time is on your side


You know that moment when you've got five windows open on the computer, someone chat messaging you while you're working on an email, and then the phone starts to ring? With so many constant distractions, it can be incredibly difficult to stay productive in the workplace - or just about anywhere.


Time-blocking is a strategy that has been widely accepted to help increase focus and productivity in the office. The approach is simple: block out chunks of time each day and assign that blocked time to given tasks, making sure to clear your plate of distractions during the scheduled time.  


Here are some suggestions on how to time-block successfully:


Schedule your time blocks ahead of time. When you go to schedule a 'block' in your calendar, be very specific about what you will do during that time. We recommend blocking 30-60 minutes at a time to start.


When you are choosing a task, focus on those items that, once tackled, will make everything else you have to do easier, or cut out unnecessary work. For example, if you need to make client phone calls, check email, and work on todays "to do" file, starting with the 'to do' file may affect how you respond to client calls or emails later on in the day.


When scheduling, be sure to give yourself a good half hour to an hour to get settled into the office. For example, if you know you will arrive at the office at 7:30, schedule the block for 8:00. 


If possible, switch off your phone, close open tabs on your computer and eliminate any other distractions from your workplace such as music or gadgets.


Set a timer - it's a great tool and will help you to stay focused! We love the time timer, which you can find here


Set realistic goals for yourself - don't assume it will take 30 minutes to do a task that will actually take an hour. Over time, the practice of time blocking will help you to become more skilled at predicting how long it actually takes to do certain tasks.


Consider having a coworker or friend hold you accountable for a check-in call after your time blocking is complete to report how you did.


You can block in 'break' time into your day as well if it helps you to get back on task after a break should be over.


Time blocking is ultimately about getting yourself into that super-focused, task driven state of mind that results in high productivity work. When done successfully, people are able to do an incredible amount of work in a short period of time. Even if you include only one time block into your day (mornings are usually the most productive time of day), you will be setting yourself up for success throughout the rest of the workday. 





Veronica Bishop
Organizers Northwest LLC
Portland, Oregon
(503) 245-3564

Less mess.  Less stress.  Better life.



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