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Did you hear that I went back to work? It actually caused a bit of an uproar when I shared my feelings about deciding to go back to work in a recent blog post with the Today Parenting Community.
But with going back to work, I had to figure out a better way to fit everything I wanted to do inside of my day.
And that is where easy time blocking has made the most difference.
I have always used time blocking methods for the days I frankly just needed to be more productive, but I honestly felt like it was too over whelming to take on completely.
Anyone else feel like to concept of time blocking is just overwhelming?
I feel like especially with little ones around, you can’t live your life in solid time chunks like that.
So instead, I have my own method of easy time blocking that is much more laid back, but still helps me plan out my days to be the most productive.
First things first, you are going to need a paper planner.
You could use a smart phone app, but if you have been following for a while you’d know just how much I can’t stand those. I always miss the things I type into my phone.
Maybe you don’t, maybe your phone scheduler works great for you.
But me? I am a pen and paper kind of gal.
When it comes to picking out your planner, I suggest grabbing one with big open slots for each day of the week.
I personally have the best luck finding the best ones at places like Home Goods or TJ Maxx. I’ve tried ordering off of Amazon, but never really like what I find.
The second thing when it comes to snagging the best planner is to find one without the hours of the day printed on each day.
That right there goes against the typical time blocking method, but I find it to be SO stressful to be staring at your planner and then the kids wake up early or you have an unexpected errand or whatever else it might be.
That one thing will end up throwing your entire to-do list out the window.
And not to sound too dramatic, but things like that actually ruin my whole day.
I am the kind of person that gets very set in her plans. If we need to be someplace at 3, there is no grey area. I have to be there at 3 and I will get so upset if that doesn’t even up happening.
So planning my day with specific timelines is just not good for my anxiety.
Maybe you’re in the same boat.
Another thing about the times in planners, most just assume that you are making plans between 6AM and 9PM each day. And back to the small kids thing, my day doesn’t fall within those times.
But after you find your planner comes my easy time blocking method.
Instead of going by the times in the day, you’ll go by events instead.
“Before the kids wake up” “During play time” “During nap time”
I block my entire day around the events that occur, rather than the actual times they might occur at.
My twins for example usually wake up around 9AM each day. So from the time I wake up until then is my “First Block” and I’ll schedule out things to do that aren’t too loud and things that are hard to do with the twins awake.
Like this, right now. I am writing this blog post at 8AM on Thursday. I am in my first block of the day, and when the twins wake up, we will move onto the next which includes the usual breakfast, dress, maybe a bath. But the second time block is also when I might run errands or do some chores around the house.
The key for easy time blocking for me is making sure I’m not holding myself to any strict timelines. I can’t sit here and just let myself write for thirty minutes, get dressed in thirty minutes, edit my post for the next thirty minutes, then wake the kids up at 9AM on the dot.
To me, that is just too much.
So when I write out my to-do list (click here for my tips on making the ultimate to-do list!) I write everything out in chunks. I could do different colored pens, but that is just too much to be honest!
When planning out my day, I usually put the overall day things at the top of my list, as well as appointments. Basically the things I need to be focusing on.
Then I will write out what I hope to accomplish inside of each time block and note next to each section when the things will happen.
This might make more sense if you look at my picture below for an example.
Make a little more sense?
I swear, I am not trying to over complicate this at all. In fact, I am trying to help de-stress your life by helping you be more productive the easy way.
Time blocking is easy when you make it work for you and your lifestyle like I have.
If you loved these tips, you’re going to love my free seven day e-course. Feel free to sign up in that peachey colored box above this post! You’ll score seven days with seven of my best tips for finding more time in your busy mama day.