I used to be chained to my inbox, running from one task to a completely different one, always reactive, always full of anxiety with the giant TO-DO list, and just constantly playing catch up.

This was before time blocking!

Time blocking was a huge game changer for my focus, my efficiency, and the success of my business. You may have heard me talk about it before but today I’m sharing 3 actionable tips you can implement right now!

I explain why organizing your tasks into” buffer”, “focus”, and “free days” will be beneficial to you (and your team) so that you can start lessening the anxiety and overwhelm. 

In this episode, I give you an example of my own ideal week so you can see time blocking in action, the benefits of organizing time for maximum efficiency, and getting into a state of flow. 

I also share one of the tools I use every morning to stay on track and ensure I move the needle in my business every single day!  

Try out these simple tweaks to your schedule and notice its profound effect on your entire business and life. You won’t regret it!


Episode Resources

This episode is sponsored by Devix Kitchens.

Read the Full Transcript ⬇️

Hey, Hey, Hey, it’s Rebecca and you’re listening to resilient by design.

Today is a shorty episode all about time blocking. Honestly, I can’t believe still how many designers ask me, tell me about time blocking, what is this concept? And I think it’s that I’ve been now using it for several years that I take it for granted. But I recognize that when I was in the early years of my business, I really actually.

Did not time block. I was literally running around. I had a million to do lists, checklists, and I was just trying to get things done. I was reactive. I was checking my email like every 20 minutes, making sure that nothing new came in that I didn’t need to handle, which kept interrupting my workflow. And I felt frustrated that I was never getting anything done.

Fast forward to today. I time block my calendar, my weeks, my days, so that sure there are days when it’s stressful and it’s hectic and I’m like oh my god there’s more things I need to do than I have time for, but I’m much more acutely aware of the amount of time that I have. Today I’m going to dive into all things time blocking.

This is a shortie episode. I’m just going to dive into quickly why time blocking has been so beneficial for me and my business. And then I’m going to share three tips that I think are quick actionable takeaways that you can apply to your daily life to get the ball rolling with time blocking because it can feel a little bit overwhelming and I don’t want to overwhelm you.

I just want to share with you some of the actionable things that have made a big difference and that I am still using in my day to day life. to organize my time more efficiently to get more done. So first of all, why? So why on earth do you need time block? Well, listen, I always felt chaotic. Like I just said in the intro, it is something that I didn’t even know existed.

To be honest, in the early years, when I first started my business, I was just like, I don’t know, as a business owner, I just make a bunch of lists. Right. And then I would use like a Trello or I would use a sauna and it would just be like, A long task list that I just kept trying to push off or I’d move tasks by day and it wasn’t efficient.

And that’s when I started to notice too, that I was bringing people onto my team that were also not being as efficient because we felt chaotic. You’ve ever had that feeling in your day to day business where it’s like you, you feel like I’m touching my chest right now. If you see me on video, because it’s like, An anxiety feeling like I can’t catch my breath feeling like I’m out of breath.

Like a, I need to take a breath because I don’t even know where to begin. If you’ve ever felt that way, then you’re going to love time blocking. And I’m going to give credit where credit is due. So the first time that I ever was exposed to this idea was through my friend, Lisa Canning and Lisa at the time, and I’m not sure she still offers it.

So shout out to Lisa. She had a course called conquer your calendar. And I was working with her on a one on one capacity. She was one of the first coaches that I hired to help me with my online business. As you guys know, if you followed me for a while, I’ve always invested in coaches and online courses to help better my skillset and uplevel my business.

And Lisa taught me this idea about setting up your calendar. Before that, I’d never really given that much thought to my week. And so, Why time blocking is so effective is that it focuses your energies to certain like minded tasks. The idea being that when you are in a state of flow on one type of task, whether it is Pulling a design scheme together and you’re standing over the table or you’re on the carpet of floor or whatever, and you’re pulling fabrics and hardwood and you’re thinking, Oh, well this, you know, if, but if I do this, then that can’t work.

And, you know, as a creative, you know, that process when you’re in that creative flow. If you get interrupted and all of a sudden a contractor calls you, shifts your brain, and now you’re looking up a CAD file, and oh my god, now I have to run to site, or shoot, did I even send that email to the client? Oh my god, we’re so behind on invoicing, and then right?

It’s like rolling in the head. And so, what time blocking is intended for is to focus your attention and your mind to like minded tasks for a period of time without interruption. Now, again, this is ideal case scenario, but that is the idea. And so I think it’s Tim Ferriss talks about doing this early in his business journey and how it really helped him.

And I know Dan Sullivan talks about it in his books. One of the greatest books is The Gap and the Gain, but also 10X is easier than 2X, two books I highly recommend. But they talk about this idea of chunks of time that are. Give or take a few hours, four hours would be a nice chunk of time to work on like minded tasks.

Now, what I want to let you know is the idea is that you’re losing time when you are switching from let’s say a task where you’re writing your client newsletter or you’re writing, you’re copywriting, you’re in that creative writing phase. Bye. taking your brain from there to move into, okay, yeah, let’s pull fabrics and get a sense.

What was the floor plan again? You have to readjust where you’re at. And so you lose time. So if you can focus chunks of time, or even days, if you can get to that point where I am, where you are just focusing on one kind of task. So for example, today, I podcast recordings. I’m recording some shorty episodes.

I made sure to put some makeup on. I have a few changes of outfits. I’m also guest hosting the wingnut social podcast. They’ve invited me back to be another guest host. So I made sure that the day when I’m doing recordings. is all on the same day. I’m ready to go. Other things that I plan to do today, record some content for Instagram, right?

I’m feeling outgoing and maybe taking some time to connect with somebody else on Zoom. Maybe go afterwards out for coffee, like just trying to think about where your head is at on any given day. I think you understand the idea behind why. So let me share with you my three tips. So the first tip is going to be about labeling your days. The second tip is how to create your ideal week. And the third tip is using a planner. And I’m going to walk you through how I do this. So the first tip is I learned this from that same book with Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy, 10x is easier than 2x.

In that book, Dan Sullivan talks about This idea of planning out your week to have certain days that are buffer days and the buffer days are the days when maybe you’re not really focused. You’re not doing like minded tasks necessarily. Maybe you’re catching up on emails. Maybe you have a meeting. Maybe you have a team meeting on zoom.

That’s a buffer day. A focus day is when you are focusing and you are getting shit done and you are getting your work done, putting in maximum effort and you’re going to get a great. So today will be a focus day for me because I am podcasting all day. I am on, I am focused. I’m delivering content. I’m in my zone of genius.

I’m loving what I’m doing. This is me moving the needle in my business. Focus day for you could look like a full day working on design concepts and schemes for one project. A focus day could look also like someone who’s doing all the copywriting. Maybe you have to write a lot of copy for emails that you’re sending out.

A focus day could be. Be a half day in one area and a half day in another area. Focus days. And then there’s free days. And the way they describe it is you should give yourself a free day once a week where you aren’t restricted to meeting at a certain time or working on a certain task. And it doesn’t mean you’re not working.

It doesn’t mean you have the day off, though they do recommend you do that. It could be that you’re going out for a walk and you get an idea. Or maybe I just wanted to do a little bit of tidying the office. Like I just want to be free to organize some drawers, whatever it would be. So what I do is at the beginning of my week, I look at everything that I have going on.

I determined, okay, which days are going to be the focus days. So I can show up with all the energy, make sure I go to bed early the night before, right? Do my morning routine and just be so all in, which days are going to be those buffer days. And I like to label them inside my planner and I’ll get to the planner, tip in a second because it helps me focus my energy and also cut myself some slack.

It is not realistic to have five days of focus. It is too much focus you are going to burn out, so you need to give yourself the buffer. You need to give yourself a break. So that’s the first one, plan focus days, free days, and buffer days. Number two is map out what an ideal week would look like for you.

So, You know, in the past I’ve done, I’ve done this so many different ways and my ideal week is changing, but essentially what I do is I get a calendar that has Monday to Friday. I don’t touch the weekends. That’s my personal me time. I don’t map that out. I don’t time block my weekends from Monday to Friday and look at what types of tasks do you want to do on Mondays.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays. For me, for a long time, I had Mondays was my meeting days. I had my team status in the morning. Everybody would be at the office. Then we would do breakout meetings. I’d have a marketing meeting in the afternoon. It was like, that was a meeting day. Then Tuesday was a creative heads down day, right?

So that would be a day where maybe I would be with my team working on a design scheme. Maybe I’m reviewing AutoCAD drawings. Maybe it was that. Anything creative. Then Wednesdays was for me coaching. That’s when I was just starting the coaching business and I was focusing on doing a zoom call for one of my courses or showing up inside designer’s room.

Maybe it was working on some of the content, working on the Google slides or the canvas slides for a presentation I was doing. Maybe it was outreach. And so I created sort of themes to my days. I would chunk out the morning versus the afternoon. So now what it looks like for me is Mondays. I don’t do meetings on Mondays.

Monday is my free buffer day where I catch up on email in the morning. I do tons of admin. It’s administrative. Take it easy. Ease into my week. And then in the afternoon, that’s when I do financial planning, financial review. I’m working on my numbers stuff. I’m trying to get better at that. So I force myself to do it every Monday.

Tuesdays I’m available for design. So we’ll have a design status meeting in the morning. Then I’ll break out. I’ll meet with my senior designer. We’ll go over anything that needs to happen for design related projects. Wednesdays, Wednesday morning, I take that time for me. I go to a Pilates class. I take it slower Wednesday afternoon.

That’s when I’m available to do coaching. So whatever it might look like for you, I know I went deep into how I do it. But the idea is you want to kind of chunk it out and have two to three, four hour chunks of time where in a perfect world, I’m having lunch at 12, from 12 to one, I always put my lunch in my ideal calendar.

What time do I end my day? Am I picking my kids up from school? Put that in the calendar. It’s almost like you’re putting events in your calendar, even though it’s not a meeting. And if I could share this visually with you guys and share my screen, I would. And this is something that I share inside designer’s room.

But. Is like visually, when you open up your calendar, there should not be a lot of white space. And what I mean by that is you don’t have, it’s not that you don’t have downtime, it’s that white space is in a way scheduled. So Friday afternoons, I have an out of office. It’s so my calendar is not white, but people know Rebecca’s not available.

I’m not going to book something with her. And I look at that and I try not to make any plans. So I try to follow and then again, it’s a perfect world. It’s called an ideal week. It’s not going to be every week, but as a guideline and then every few months I reevaluate and I change it. And then tip number three is use a planner.

Guys, I’m old school that way. I find everything is digital. I’ve got information in Asana. I’ve got my Google calendar. What I do and what I love to use is a planner. The one I use is the full focus planner. I’ve used lots of planners over the years. I use the passion planner for a while. I really liked that when it came to goal setting.

I’ve been now using the full focus planner for two years. I really like it. You get a journal per quarter. We do have a link that you guys can go click on to get the planner. It’s in our show notes, but this planner, what I like about it is it helps you time block. And it gives you a page where you can put in your ideal week, just pencil it in each quarter in the planner, what I use it for.

And if you don’t have a planner, this tip still applies because you could do this on a piece of paper is write down every morning before you start your day, your three priority tasks. So those three priority tasks will look different depending on where you’re at. What type of day it is. And the idea is those three priority tasks are the first things you’re going to tackle because in the first 90 minutes of your day, you want to move the needle.

Don’t immediately start your day by responding to emails before you know it. It’s 10 30. You guys know what I’m talking about, right? Hold off on that. Write down. What are the three most important things that if I got nothing else done These three tasks would make me feel like I was productive and like I’m moving the needle towards my bigger goals So guys get yourselves a planner or write this down on a piece of paper every morning What are your three priority tasks, you know some days it could be something as simple as eating Email the thing to the person, because I know that that is something that has been weighing on me.

I keep pushing it off and it needs to get done. So that might be a priority task. A priority task might be something bigger. It might be like finalized client presentation and have everything laid out on the table. Like it could be something big. It could be something little. But by putting down those three priority tasks, it really helps focus your mind and I can tell you this takes time, I’m still working on this, I’ve been doing this for over a year.

There are days where I’m like, I just want to write down the things and I just want to dive right in and it, it feels counterintuitive to not just open the laptop and start going, but to stop, look at the three priorities that I have on paper and then dive into my day. Alright. I hope that was helpful.

Those are just a few tips that can help with time blocking. If you guys have more questions about time blocking, hit me up in a DM on Instagram. Of course, give us an iTunes review. We would love to hear how you’re enjoying the podcast and go check out the full focus planner. We have a link in our show notes if that one interests you, even just to get a sense of what it’s about to see if you can kind of use that in your own daily business practice.

You got this. I’ll see you soon.