How to Time Block and Get More Done!

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How to Time Block and Get More Done!

Time blocking is one of the best time management tips for moms out there! As a busy mom is can be hard to figure out what you need to get done, when you will have time to complete your tasks and how to juggle everything on your plate! Time blocking allows you to give yourself a framework for your day without feeling too structured or tied to a schedule. 

What is time blocking?

Time blocking is the concept of taking your day and breaking it into smaller chunks. Instead of using an hourly schedule (which can be helpful but not all the time) you’d break your day down based off of events that happen each day. 

If you used an hourly scheduling method, you might have a jam packed day and everything planned very structured and stacked. While this can be helpful when you have a lot of moving pieces, a super structured week at work or with kid’s activities, being too rigid with your schedule can make you feel overwhelmed and behind. 

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Why time blocking works for busy moms

With time blocking, you’ll use chunks of time instead of the hourly planning. This allows to you have the best of both worlds – structure AND flexibility.

When I was a high school teacher, I found myself pulled in a million directions. I had to teach my classes, hold a resource room period, accommodate and modify tests for other teachers and run all of my extra activities. During this season of my life, I needed to be on an hourly schedule for my time management or I would possibly be late to something or miss a meeting I had to be at. 

Now that I’ve transitioned into a work at home mom running my own business, I have had to adjust how I schedule things. In the beginning, I tried to stick to this more tight schedule but after my children were born, I learned how hard it really is to be that planned. I was burning myself out with too many things on my to do list, feeling overwhelmed because we’d inevitably get behind at some point each day, and frustrated with my homemaking, motherhood and work tasks. 

Related Post: How to Schedule Your Day as a Work at Home Mom 

Time blocking really has been one of the best things that has happened to my schedule and time management! Instead of being so structured that the littlest thing would set off our schedule (and my mood), I now break my day up in chunks around events. I am able to use time blocking to be flexible and accommodate each day based on what we need to get done while still providing routine for my kids and myself so that things don’t always feel frazzled. 

How to create time blocks in your day

When you set out to create time blocks for your day, you’ll want to follow a few guidelines so that you can set yourself up for success. 

You want to try to keep your blocks around 3-4 hours long. They can be shorter than this but, any longer and you get into a space where it’s easy to procrastinate because you ‘have the time’ to do it later. 

Grab your calendar and look at your day and the major events and transitions that you will come across. You’ll want to anchor your time blocks  around those events. For example, if you have to pick your kids up from school at a certain time – that’s a great place to start/end a new block. If your kids go to bed at a certain time you’ve found another good anchor for your blocks.

If you don’t have any events to anchor your day around, anchor around your blocks around meals. I know in the summer our days can be more flexible and, maybe you truly don’t have anything planned at all. If this is the case, you can make your blocks between breakfast and lunch, lunch and snack, snack and dinner and dinner and bed. This allows you to still cut your day up in meaningful chunks and has a nice transition time attached to it. 

Below I’ve given you an example of my (current) time blocks. You’ll notice that some are longer than others but each one starts at a certain anchor. I’ve listed the anchors that end my block next to each one so you can see examples of what I use to chunk a typical day.

5:00 am-9:00 am – drop Arianna at school 

9:00 am-12:00 pm – pick Arianna up at school

12:00 pm -2:00 pm – kids go down for nap

2:00 pm  -4:00 pm – kids wake up from nap

4:00 pm -8:00 pm – kid’s bedtime

8:00 pm -11:00 pm – my bedtime

You can make each day the same or have different time blocks depending on the activities you have going on. The above listed is my typical Monday-Friday blocks which changes on the weekends. These blocks are now starting to transition again this summer as my 3.5 year old is starting to drop a nap and my 1.5 year old is moving his nap up. Be fluid and flexible but allow the anchors to guide you when you make your day. 

Related Post: How to Fit Self Care in Your Day 

How to Time Block in Your Planner

There are a few ways you can distinguish your time blocks in your day so that it makes sense in your planner. I often will make a template of my time blocks on an extra large post-it and keep that in my planner for reference. I also use a Plum Paper planner which I LOVE! You can customize the planner to actually say Morning, Afternoon and Evening instead of hourly time which fits perfectly with how I structure my day. 

You can also color code each time block with a different marker or colored pen or use Washi tape to separate it! If you use a bullet journal, you’ll have total flexibility to set it up in anyway you want! Be as creative (or non creative) as you choose!

Here are some great and fun things to make your planner pop!

What do you put in time blocks? 

When I first fill my timeblocks for the week, I start with all of the things I can’t change. These can be appointments I have to keep, meetings I am in, kid’s activities or drop offs or events I am attending. This allows me to see the day at a glance and I can adjust what goes in the other blocks accordingly. 

Make sure that you also have one event in your day that is where you are working on a goal of yours. This could be 15 minutes planned out to declutter your closet, 30 minutes at the gym, or 20 minutes to read. Plan that in advance so you know that, no matter how busy things get, you’ve scheduled a little time out for you. 

You’ll want to add in another time block with a habit that you are working on. I suggest just picking one habit each week and then adding to it. For my morning time block, I simply write ‘morning routine’ down but in a separate place in my planner I write down all of the tasks that I want to get done in that routine. 

Related Post: Creating an Evening Routine for your Family (podcast episode!)

It’s smart to batch out the rest of your time blocks. Have a lot of errands to run? Put them in the same block! Phone calls that you need to make? Do them in the same chunk of time!

By batching out your tasks, you’ll spend less time doing them and take more action and actually get things done!

One of the biggest tips I can give you if you are going to give time blocking a try though is to NOT put too many things in each block. Each block should have 3-5 things maximum for you to work on. This way you know that in that period of time you need to get things do and can time manage yourself. Since you know that the next block is starting soon, you’ll have urgency that helps you procrastinate less!

Time Management for the Work at home Mom

So what does time blocking look like for  a work at home mom? I wanted to share with you what a typical day looks like (when all naps and stars align!) so you can get an idea of how many things I put in each block and how I structure things!

5:00 am-9:00 am 

  • Prayer and bible time
  • 1 Work Task
  • Breakfast and morning chores
  • Workout and Shower

9:00 am-12:00 pm – pick Arianna up at school

  • Daily Cleaning
  • Phone Calls
  • Morning Walk
  • Errands or Play Date (my 1.5 year old is still home with me and the 3.5 year old and 12 year old are at school)

12:00 pm -2:00 pm – kids go down for nap

  • Lunch 
  • Reading Time 
  • Outdoor Play/Chores

2:00 pm -4:00 pm – kids wake up from nap

4:00 pm -8:00 pm – kid’s bedtime

  • Snack and Playtime
  • Answer emails/clerical tasks for the home
  • Make Dinner
  • Evening Chores and Routines

8:00 pm -11:00 pm – my bedtime

  • More work tasks
  • Live calls, coaching and training
  • Planning for tomorrow
  • Reading for me!

As you can see, I don’t have a ton of things planned but, every day I know what to work on during that block and can be specific for what calls, errands or tasks need to be done when I plan out the next day. 

Time blocking is a great time management strategy to help moms get more done without feeling overwhelmed!  Post your typical time blocks in the comments and PIN this to read again later!

More Time Management Tips for Moms

Simple Steps to Make Your Morning Easier

How to Set up Your Week to Be More Productive

How to Schedule Your Day as a Work at Home Mom

How to Fit Self Care Into Your Day

How to Find Time to Workout as a Busy Mom 

Digitally Organize Your Prayer Time to Become a Prayer Warrior

Create a Morning Routine in 3 Easy Steps

More Resources to Manage Your Time as a Busy Mom

Ultimate Productivity Bundle 

Design Your Day: Time Management for the Busy Woman

Organize Your Life with Trello

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