July 27, 2016
Working From Home : Increase Productivity with Block Scheduling
The concept of block scheduling isn’t new, but it’s how I get just about anything and everything business-y done. If you work from home or outside the home, today’s post has applications you can use anywhere. It’s even the premise of my cleaning routine – focus on the same thing every day and get more done. Instead of trying to get a lot of things done at the same time, concentrate on a batch or block of the same thing. If you haven’t tried it, it’s revolutionary and potentially life and business changing. If I’m starting to feel overwhelmed I check to see how many things I’m trying to accomplish simultaneously and chances are it’s more than one. I go back to my one thing at a time and all is well.
How to use block scheduling to increase productivity:
Simply block off any amount of time and focus on one task or group of similar tasks. Instead of just sitting down to work, have specific goals and tasks in mind that you can accomplish. Take this one step further by separating tasks into blocks of time. If you have a 9-5 sort of job, have specific things that you do at certain times of the day. By eliminating the ‘what should I do next’ you’ve already become more productive. Plan according to when certain things work best in your day. If you are groggy in the morning it might be best to drink a cup of coffee and answer emails for a block of time. Then after you’re warmed up, work on something that requires a little more creativity. Use block scheduling for days, hours, or minutes – whatever works for your work at home schedule.
Why it works:
When you focus on one thing at a time and don’t multi-task your efficiency increases and can accomplish more because you are concentrating all your effort on that one thing. For instance, instead of answering emails on and off all day long, schedule them in a specific period of time. It could be 2-3 times a day or it could be 2-3 times a week. Focus on answering emails and only answering emails for a specified block of time and all that time opening and closing the email program is never wasted.
Here are a couple ways that I use block scheduling when I work from home:
- SET UP AND PLAN A CALENDAR – taking a couple minutes to plan ahead a work schedule or a blog schedule, etc. is helpful. Set up a time to draft out the calendar and then work only on filling in that calendar.
- WRITE BLOG POSTS – I try to have a couple months of blog posts planned on my calendar and set up in WordPress. This really helps to keep me focused on the writing process and keeps things moving on the content side of things.
- TAKE PICTURES FOR BLOG POSTS – I find it much easier to batch-shoot pictures for multiple projects or posts at the same time. Setting up camera and shoots once versus multiple times is a huge timesaver.
- ANSWER EMAILS – I try to answer 2-3 times a day so it’s not a huge time commitment at once. I’ll answer for 5-10 minutes early morning and around lunch. If there’s something pressing or urgent that I’m waiting on or expecting I’ll peek again in the evening.
- SHIPPING – I ship products out on Tuesdays and Fridays. This way I’m not shipping every day all week long. Sometimes I will add an extra shipping day if I’m especially busy. I’m planning on not doing shipping for that much longer though 😉
- HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY – I set aside a day or two a month to only work on Homekeeping Society. I could stretch it out for a week, but I’ve found that I can get much more done if I only focus on that for a day or two.
- ODD WORK HOURS – I don’t work 9-5, I work in segments during the day so block scheduling is especially helpful for me because I can concentrate on one thing for 30 minutes to an hour and then move on to something else. If you’re working from home during odd hours and working around nap times or bedtime, using block scheduling could be extremely beneficial for you.
Share your top block scheduling tip in the comments or how you’ve used it to work for you or if you have a topic you’d like me to cover in this series, let me know!
This post is part of a Working from Home Series: