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Hey Hi Tech Family,
I’m officially “back in the office” and I must say I needed that break (plus the extra week) to rest and revitalize from the holiday season. I can’t lie - I was operating at about 30-50% between being sick and unplugging. That time away gave me a chance to hone in on the play for 2024 - increased productivity and effectiveness.
See, most of my network are ambitious, high-performing Black women. These women work tirelessly in their respective white male-dominated spaces - often without thanks, recognition, or appreciation. After experiencing burnout which lead to emergency heart surgery at 25, it became evident that something needed to change.
Being the analytical, systems-motivated person than I am (shout out to my Computer Science degree), I began to experiment with various productivity hacks to help me maintain a high-level of performance without sacrificing what matters most - me. Moving forward, this newsletter will share proven methods for increasing your productivity and focus by leveraging tech tools and implementing our proprietary frameworks.
What is Time Blocking
Time blocking is a time management method that involves dividing your day into blocks of time, each dedicated to a specific task or group of tasks. Unlike traditional to-do lists, time blocking helps you allocate a specific time frame to each task, turning your calendar into a visual task manager.
Time blocking works by calibrating your workflow to your individual ultradian rhythms to ensure that you’re working on important tasks when you’re most focused, and transitioning into a break when you begin to lose focus.
Benefits of Time Blocking
Enhanced Focus: By dedicating blocks of time to specific tasks, you minimize distractions and boost concentration. I’ve been able to incorporate daily meditation as well as “no morning meetings” and “no-work Friday” rules because of time blocking!
Improved Productivity: Knowing what to focus on and when helps streamline your workflow, making you more efficient. It also helps you prepare your team for what they should expect.
Reduced Stress: Clear organization of tasks prevents feeling overwhelmed and aids in work-life harmony (because balance is a myth).
Better Prioritization: It allows you to allocate time to tasks based on their urgency and importance. (We’ll talk more about the Eisenhower matrix in upcoming editions.)
My 7-Step Time Blocking Method
- Complete a Time Audit: Assess where you are currently spending your time. Review focus tools like Apple’s screen time, Google Calendar’s weekly metrics, and social media settings and identify where you can improve. This template really helped me make some critical adjustments.
- Identify Your Tasks: Start by listing all the tasks you need to accomplish. Include both professional and personal activities for a holistic approach. Be sure to build in time for self-care, hobbies, time with friends, kids, and family.
- Prioritize Your Tasks: Classify your tasks based on their urgency, importance, complexity, and deadlines. This helps in deciding which tasks should be allocated more time and what you should tackle first. It will also help you plan out what can be broken down into smaller chunks over time to complete a complex task.
- Allocate Time Blocks: Assign each task to a specific time block in your day. Consider your energy levels throughout the day to match tasks with your most productive periods.
- Set Realistic Timelines: Ensure that the time allocated to each task is practical. It’s important to account for breaks and potential interruptions. As a parent, I had to learn to build in buffers for inevitable sicknesses, school closings, pickups and drop offs… which leads me to my next step!
- Prepare Your Support System: Time blocking can help you plan ahead for the expected and the unexpected. Share your time blocking plan with those who you depend on for support, i.e. your team, your spouse, your family, and other sources of support.
- Review and Adjust: At the end of each day or week, review your time blocks. Reflect on what worked well and what needs adjustment for better efficiency. I review weekly with a daily end-of-day assessment of what went well and what may need to be adjusted the following day.
One Tool to Transform How You Tackle Tasks:
For those seeking to implement time blocking with ease, Motion is a tool worth exploring. It’s designed to help you organize your tasks efficiently, offering an intuitive interface to schedule your day. This AI-powered virtual assistant can auto-schedule (and reschedule) tasks based on your time blocking parameters. I suggest a manual time audit to assess where you’re spending your time (social media, meetings, time spent figuring out what to do next) to make the best use of the tool.
Time blocking is a lifestyle change that can lead to significant improvements in how you manage your time and energy. By integrating it with tools like Motion, you can transform your day-to-day productivity and focus. Give it a try, and you might just find yourself doing more and stressing less. ;)
Candace M. Clark
CEO, Hi Tech Consulting
Article originally posted in the #GetHiTech Newsletter on Linkedin
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