Block Your Time



As part of my daily prep, checking my calendar is one of the most important tasks.  After all, most of us live by our calendars to schedule our time.
One of the most important tasks I do is to “Block Time” on my calendar.  I usually do this at the beginning of each week.
What is Blocking Time?  Well, it is simply scheduling time for your activities.  You have probably heard of “scheduling a meeting with yourself” and Blocking Time is just that, taken to the next level.
If your job/company utilizes Outlook, then Blocking Time can become a critical task.  At my company, death by meeting…. via Outlook is not uncommon.  People seem to have no qualm about scheduling your time for a last minute meeting because they did not do something on schedule.  Worse yet, many of these meetings have no clear objective or agenda.
So, what is a Time Management Ninja to do?  Schedule his own meetings, of course.  Lots of them.  :)
The first week I did this, it was a bit scary.  I scheduled about half of my time on my Outlook calendar.  I labeled each of these meetings “Block Time.”  Then I went and put in each block a task that I had to get done.
Amazingly, I was more productive that week than I had been in a long time.  Instead or running around to all kinds of meetings, I actually sat down and did my work.
Blocking Time accomplished a few things:
  • Prevented myself from being invited to last minute meetings
  • Allowed me time to get my obligations done
  • Prevented people from stealing my time
A few other Ninja tips:
  • Block Time for personal tasks too.  Even something as simple as running an errand.
  • One Calendar – Use only one calendar.  You can use different colors/buckets for Work/Life, but one calendar ensures that your obligations do not go overlooked.
  • Be ruthless! – I regularly schedule 60-70% of my time.  Some people think this sounds extreme.  I ask, “Do you want to choose what you do with your time?  Or let others?”
No time for time management? Check out my online course designed to jump start your productivity! Take it online on your time and pace. As well, get direct access to me for advice and questions. Get details or enroll now by clicking here!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Lynni Megginson

    Tracy, once again in just a few poignant sentences you hit the nail on the head. I need to follow more of your advice, and realize that my time is more valuable when used CORRECTLY. Thank you!

  • Lynni Megginson

    Tracy, once again in just a few poignant sentences you hit the nail on the head. I need to follow more of your advice, and realize that my time is more valuable when used CORRECTLY. Thank you!

  • Layla

    Great post!!I wonder what you do with weather-related things, or what is partly influenced by/depends on other people?

  • Layla

    Great post!!I wonder what you do with weather-related things, or what is partly influenced by/depends on other people?

  • Kelsey Freeman

    “Be ruthless! – I regularly schedule 60-70% of my time. Some people think this sounds extreme. I ask, “Do you want to choose what you do with your time? Or let others?””Exactly! I tend to schedule almost my entire day, and I’m way more productive than most people I know. Having a clear cut schedule keeps me from becoming distracted by time sinks like TV, etc, and helps to keep me on task.

  • Kelsey Freeman

    “Be ruthless! – I regularly schedule 60-70% of my time. Some people think this sounds extreme. I ask, “Do you want to choose what you do with your time? Or let others?””Exactly! I tend to schedule almost my entire day, and I’m way more productive than most people I know. Having a clear cut schedule keeps me from becoming distracted by time sinks like TV, etc, and helps to keep me on task.

  • Jessica

    I love this idea and can’t wait to try it. Thanks for blocking some time to share with us. :)

  • Jessica

    I love this idea and can’t wait to try it. Thanks for blocking some time to share with us. :)

  • http://twitter.com/Sheeshany Haitham Al-Sheeshany

    It`s about being a true proactive.

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  • DonC

    this may be a slightly old post, but the strategy is as much if not more relevant each day. I’m in transition from technical architectural and consulting role to management in a corporate environment. The transition from a primary technical to management is still a challenging work in progress but one of the key impediments is managing your time instead of letting others. I reviewed my Outlook calendar and put recurring blocks extended through the year. Next step is to best utilize, but that will not be a problem. I based the schedule on an 8-5 view. put 2 hr blocks Mon-Fri from 09:00 – 11:00 and 11:00 – 13:00. Also blocked additional 2 hours blocks for Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. This results in 60% control of my time, for both management and technical activity and still leaves 40% open for others to reach out if really needed. Work in progress, along with GTD. But had been working toward this and crossed path with the Ninja and this post and the validation and viewpoint is very useful.

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