Adding More Structure to My Workday: An Experiment

I’ve heard it said that when it comes to success in business, you live or die by your calendar. Striking a balance between client work, marketing work, admin work, and “me” work has always been a struggle for me. I go into my days with a solid to-do list and tend to accomplish much – most days. Other days are a crap-show of missteps and changes of direction, and that to do list just doesn’t get done.

My biggest issue is email. I have a bad habit of checking too often, of making my email my task list, and getting all too overwhelmed by the volume of communication coming at me in a given day. That alone has been my motivation for wanting to change things up a bit.

But what if my days were more structured? What if I blocked off time for certain tasks, and focused on just those tasks during that time? I decided to try an experiment.

I reorganized my calendar to look something like this:

This is a high level view, but it basically shakes out like this: I devote time each morning to writing tasks – my blog, web content, ┬ásocial media content for myself or my company, whatever needs to be written.

I check and process email 3 times a day. That’s it.

I have one block a week to focus on business development, and another focused on administrative work (on Friday afternoons so I can have a beer while I do the tedious stuff).

I block off time for lunch each day (a vitally important thing that I often overlook).

The rest of the time is devoted to client work, whatever form that takes (I refer to and prioritize my to do list for these chunks of time).

So how’s it working so far? Actually, better than I expected! Organizing my days means that by the end of the week I’ve accomplished a bunch more than I tended to in the past. Checking email less frequently means I’m not driven by my inbox. Instead, I’m driven by the tasks that need to be accomplished in any given block of time.

I challenge you to try something like this for yourself! Blocking your time puts you back in control of your schedule. It means that other people can’t come along and take command of your calendar. And ultimately it means achieving a great deal more of the important work in a week.

Let me know how it goes!

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