One of the silent parts of being "online successful" is being able to manage your time. For most of us, this is an exercise in trial and error. My hope is that this essay will give you the opportunity to leap ahead, avoid some of my mistakes, and get to making the stuff that you want to make.
Time blocking as time management had two major flaws: I wasn't really learning anything, and my calendar, the dashboard of my life, became a hellscape of unmet reminders. Learn more about time blocking here.
Time blocking seemed productive. It gave me a false sense of accomplishment without real progress. Instead of focusing on how I was working better, progress with time blocked was dicing up my calendar into insane blocks of time.
I already knew I was bad at time management, and my cluttered calendar was yet another reminder of that fact.
Switching to a Timing Strategy
The game-changer came when I shifted to a timing strategy, categorizing tasks by duration: under five minutes, 20 minutes, and two hours.
This approach was more about doing than planning. It allowed me to address tasks more efficiently, based on their actual demands.
Part One: The Analysis
- Quick Tasks: Tasks under five minutes are tackled daily (more on this later), clearing the way for more substantial work.
- Medium Tasks: The 20-minute tasks are for focused activities like drafting important emails.
- Long Tasks: Two-hour tasks are reserved for deep, creative work that demands uninterrupted attention.
Part Two: The Execution
I have a "midday list" on my phone, and I add all five-minute tasks here. Every weekday I have a 30-minute date with myself to crush these small things.
The 20-minute "medium" tasks are perfect for my mid afternoon window. I am generally low creativity at this point right, so I can focus on some of these more logistical items. I usually block 3-4 for this work, 3x a week.
So what about the bigger work? I try to keep my mornings relatively free and use that time for those tasks. If I can get 3-4 blocks of that a week, I am winning.
Approaching Work as Skill Acquisition
A crucial element in enhancing productivity and time management is viewing new approaches as skill development, not just solutions. When adopting any new method, be it delegation, social media optimization, or any other aspect of work, think of it as acquiring and honing a skill.
Every skill you develop adds to your professional toolkit. It enhances your capabilities and widens your scope of impact.
Each skill acquired is a step forward in your professional journey.
Time to level up!
- View New Methods as Skill Development: Embrace each new approach in your work as an opportunity to develop a new skill, enhancing your overall professional toolkit.
- Master the Art of Delegation: Learn to break down tasks effectively, outsource them appropriately, and oversee their implementation, refining your managerial and organizational skills.
- Implement a Timing Strategy Over Time Blocking: Focus on categorizing tasks by duration and executing them efficiently. It's more about taking action at the right moment than just planning.