If you’re curious about how I approach time blocking this is it.
  1. Establish Boundaries
  2. Audit Your Time
  3. Be Self Aware
“Not all hours are equal.” Chris Lema 
After you block your time, stick to it. It doesn’t matter which tool or app you use. The best tool is the one that you consistently use. Choose something and stick to it.
“You train people how to treat you.” Mel Robbins
 
A month later, audit your blocking and make changes. This is structure with grace — not a prison sentence.
 
(Full transcript is below the video.)

 

Transcript

(This isn’t perfect but it works.)

(00:01):

Hi, this is Bridget Willard here with BridgetWillard.com. I want to talk to you a little bit about time blocking, boundaries, and bad clients. So, before we get into the actual tutorial, one of the most important parts about time blocking is the fact that you are establishing boundaries — boundaries for yourself, boundaries for your business. The worst clients are the ones to control you. Now, I’m a huge fan of metaphors — known for mixing my metaphors. I love analogies, but I will mix them. So that’s your warning; and my disclaimer.

(00:52):

Baseball is the only sport where the play starts with the defense holding possession of the ball, right? So the pitcher is trying to get you to strike out. How many opportunities do you have before you don’t get to play anymore where you don’t get to be at bat? Three. Three chances. Three strikes. Right? You can swing, you can hit, you can, you know, but you only have three strikes and then you’re out. And we see this a lot, but if it works in baseball, it should work in real life, right? Right.

(01:37):

So, clients who try to rule you with notifications: phone calls, emails, text, voicemail — you know what? — t:he thing that you need to realize is stay calm, stay collected, look forward, right? Keep your eye literally on the ball, which is whatever you’re doing at that moment, right? When you’re playing baseball or the best baseball players. Listen, the best baseball players, the best, only do it right 34% of the time. Okay? But they’re not thinking about their girlfriend. They’re not thinking about their kids. They’re not thinking about what they’re going to eat for dinner. They’re focused solely on what’s in front of them and what their goal is. Their goal is to hit the ball in such a way that they can land on a base or circle all four. It depends on the strategy of the entire game. Um, determined by the coach, right?

(02:55):

So your life should not be ruled by notifications. Notifications are interruptions, bad clients who demand you to act now, who kind of throw a fit and threaten you if you don’t act now, those are bad clients. The worst clients sometimes in our life are children, friends, your partner, roommates. Uh, it’s up to us to decide what our boundaries are. To use the most powerful word in the English language, which is “no,” could be polite, right? I’m not going to tell you how to parent, but I would just look at behaviorism and psychology. If you do X, Y is your consequence. Blocking out your time allows other people to have a routine and to set expectations.

(04:07):

Now, I went astray from this when I first was widowed because I was glad to spend time with anybody. Oh, you want to go to the beach — sure, I’ll do my stuff later. And what devolved was guilt, shame me feeling stressed out, anxiety on my part. The person who interrupted me and “interruption” isn’t necessarily a negative thing, but their interruption was allowed by me. As Mel Robbins always says, “you train people how to treat you.”

(04:41):

So, uh, I had to say no. One of my friends was very upset. She said, “when can we go to lunch?” I said, “we could go to lunch on Saturday.” And she said, “well, when are you available?” I said, let’s make an appointment. And she said, “are you telling me that I have to make an appointment to have lunch with you?” And I just turned around and I said, cause it was with a group of friends. I said, “yeah, yes you do.”

(05:13):

That’s my life. I’m responsible to get my work done to the people who pay my bills, which are my clients, the good ones, right? So yeah, she’s upset and yes, I’ve missed out on lunches, but my responsibility as a freelancer, as an employee, as a business owner, whatever your role is, is to accomplish the goals set out before you and to create reasonable amounts of time. Whatever you think it’s going to take you. You have to add time. When I was a secretary, I was a secretary for 30 years, I had to plan to be interrupted because my job was to respond to the boss right away or answer the phone on the first ring. It took me years before I didn’t do this, you know? So take it to take it to the next level, which is this.

(06:14):

And Oh, just because somebody is talking to me. Do I have to respond to them now? No, no I don’t. This doesn’t rule my life. I make my own decisions. And my husband used to sit at my late husband used to say this, the phone doesn’t rule me. I rule it. This is a tool to accomplish your goals. So one of the things I do when I’m writing or doing deep work is I put it on silent and then I put it in my bedroom. Uh, this is cause my office is out here in the front room. So whatever kind of way you can establish your routines that protects your boundaries and people know that you’re not, we’re going to respond to them. And people would say to me, I see you on Facebook. Why aren’t you answering my message? And I would say this because I’m on Facebook for a client.

(07:10):

Right? So the other key component to time blocking. So there are three major things to time blocking that matter. Number one, protecting your boundaries. So that’s after you time block a and being prepared to say no and having people be really upset with you, including children or spouses. Uh, number two is actually timing yourself. You don’t have to do it every day, but take one typical day and see how long it takes for you to do a certain task. Then add kind of some buffer time. That’s to use the bathroom, get something to drink, whatever. Okay. And the third thing is self awareness. Self awareness is huge. When are you at your best? There’s a video, I’ll link to this that Chris lemme just put out. Not all hours are equal and he’s right. So back when I was doing accounting work as an office manager, I did all of that in the morning because that’s when I worked the best.

(08:22):

Historically as a child, I’ve always been a morning person. But then life happened. I went to college, I started working, you know, then it was just I’m a tired pigeon or whatever. Right? So, uh, I know I take that same awareness. My best hours are from 10 to two. Those are my best hours. Um, for being with clients because that’s when I’m the at my highest capacity. So between ten two is 80% of my client calls unless they’re in another time zone, which happens rarely, but it happens. I do not schedule calls or on my Calendly link allow calls to be scheduled after 2:00 PM except for on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

(09:16):

No client can get a call with me by them scheduling it before 10:00 AM my best editing is between nine and 11:00 AM and maybe four to, I mean, so I don’t have children so I don’t have that after school thing. But you know, I do kind of get a second wind. Not really from four. I’ve tried to end my day at five. We’ll go through that. This is going to be a little bit of a longer video because I want to show you how I do it cause I got some questions on his ground but I get a second one at 7:00 PM sometimes. So it just depends on yourself. So try to like, you know, get a journal or a note pad, anything or work and write down how you’re feeling at certain times of the day. I use a paper calendar. I literally use a paper calendar and I write in it.

(10:15):

This is for client stuff. Um, if you follow me on Instagram, you see that I have a paper calendar in my bedroom that I keep track of my exercise on. Yes, of course I use Google. It’s all inherit too. I mean, my tasks on in here, but my appointments are in here, my weight is in here. My exercises on Google calendar and my appointments are on Google calendar. But sometimes the tasks are everywhere, you know? So it’s the main thing about having a tool because a lot of people, I have tools, you know, that I use and I that I sell. But here’s the bottom line. The only tool that will work for you is the tool that you consistently use.

(11:04):

You can listen to all of the advice in the world, but if you don’t do it and implement it, it will not work. Okay, lecture over. Let’s do some time blocking and I will show you in Google sheets, basically what’s in my brain on how I rule my life. On a typical week, this can be applied to Google calendar or a paper calendar. I Kell any kind of appointment scheduling system, whatever works for you. But this will help you see and visualize where yourself, how you spend your time. So having that next level audit of how you actually spend your time when you’re writing down. Okay, eight o’clock I did this nine o’clock, I did this at three o’clock every day. My one kid is irritating the crap of me. That’s when you go, okay, this is a pain point. We need to do something different at two 30 so that we prevent, uh, the Rhea clock annoyance, right? And I’m a big, big believer in prevention. Okay? That’s 12 minutes of me lecturing. Let’s go to the actual work. Okay? So if you take a Google sheet and I’ll zoom in on this so it’s easier to see and then what you’re going to do is you’ll go, um, my, I’m going to put the weekends at the end because, um, I want to focus on the weekends together as a block. But Monday, Tuesday,

(12:34):

oops.

(12:38):

Thursday, Friday. I love Saturdays. Okay, now here’s the time. So it’s, it’s the best thing is just to go like some just do it by hour, right? Some of the clock. Eight o’clock. See if at all. I think that if you highlight that, if you’ve blocked them out book, it will let you, yeah. Now it’s a military time. That’s fine. Well, a format number. Okay. Hmm. Time. Okay. There we go. Now it’s not a military time and I’ll track it down a little bit more like that. Okay. So every morning at seven o’clock, my alarm goes off. This is when I take my, um, medication and when I checked social media, so I’m going to write in here,

(13:41):

wake up

(13:47):

and check notifications, social notifications. Now I do that for about an hour. Sometimes I go back to sleep. This is every single day. So I’m gonna fill this with a color. I’m going to fill it with a yellow cause. Good morning. Okay. So I do that every single day for about an hour. Sometimes I take my meds, wake, I wake up, take my meds and then check my notifications. Go back to sleep. Cause this is my second alarm, right? Um, my second alarm is at eight o’clock. This is when I eat breakfast. Now Saturdays and Sundays are different, so I’m not gonna fill those out yet. This is when I eat breakfast. Uh, drink coffee and a second cup of coffee. Sorry,

(14:47):

shower dress. Okay. So

(14:52):

this is a coffee. Sorry. That’s like really important. So this is Monday through Friday always. And I did deviate from this. I’m not saying that I’m perfect, but when I didn’t, when I deviated from it, I had trouble. Okay. Like it was not good for me. Nine o’clock. This is when my Workday starts. My Workday is basically from nine to five. Now that might not work for you. That’s fine. Uh, you might only be able to work till two, then the kids are off school or if you’re homeschooling, uh, or [inaudible] or any other reason, you know, that’s break time. And then you start working again at 10 o’clock at night. That’s fine. I’m telling you what I do so that you can see the difference. 9:00 AM this is when I sit at my computer, I go through my emails. Okay. So I’m at my desk, go through email and start my writing tasks.

(15:59):

So I’m a social media marketer, but I also do consultant, consultant work, right? So sometimes I do a lot of copy editing. So copy editing is like, that’s work for me, right? So I always do that. Then. So between 10 and 11, this is when I do my free work, like, um, client work, client work or client calls, work client calls. So I’m gonna fill this in with um, red because red to me is like client stuff, you know, so I have a good three hours of work every single day. Right now in between there, of course I go to the bathroom, I guess something to drink. But that, you know, this is basically, I’m giving you an outline, noon known as lunch, noon as always lunch. If I don’t make this lunch, then I get really hungry and then I get really upset that I’m not eating because, you know, lunch is important to me.

(17:15):

I’m hypoglycemic, I need to eat. So I used to just eat and then go back to work and I’m like, no, because that was the bad habits I had when I was at the office eating at my desk. So make sure to make your eating different. Uh, maybe go on a walk, go out to eat, not with friends, cause that’s always two or three hours, um, or whatever. If you want to have an hour and a half of a lunch every day, that’s fine. But this is what I do. I either eat at my table or I take it in the other room and one of the things sometimes I do is in my bedroom is cause that’s where my TV is. The subtitles for this are going to be terrible. Um, so, um, I will go in my bedroom, eat my lunch, or after I do my lunch, I’ll watch a program.

(18:08):

This is how I make sure I get enough of a break. Okay. Then from one to two, it’s the same as this client work client calls. So, but I don’t do writing here. This is more like, uh, well I do some writing. That’s not true. I do some writing here. It’s about the same cause tended to as my, my sweet spot. That’s when I can do the best work the best. Um, uh, right after lunch though, I always check notifications and stuff like that. So I’m going to add another thing in here that first I check notifications on social. So I have things scheduled out for my clients, but the first thing I do after lunch, just like when I wake up at seven, is check notifications on social media. Okay. Now I’m going to change this a little bit. I’m gonna add insert roll above two 30 that was supposed to office nap.

(19:21):

This is the best thing that I’ve ever done for myself in my whole life nap time. And it’s possible that you’re like, Oh, I can’t take a nap. I don’t have time to take a nap. Did whatever, do whatever you want. This half hour, what I do is I go into my bedroom, I close the drapes, I take off my glasses, I turn on my piano music, I lay down and I close my eyes. I set a timer for 20, 25 minutes. Okay. So I’m maybe don’t fall asleep, but what I’m doing is allowing my body to rest. I’m allowing my mind to rest. Okay. So actually that’s, that’s a really good point. So at eight o’clock, uh, before I eat breakfast, I make my bed and I open the curtains. If they’re not this, this tells me, this is like a visual thing for me that like, okay, my day started, this matters. And every time I walk by my bedroom to the restroom, I see, Oh my gosh, my bedroom was so cute. So now we’re in the afternoon. Um, we got two 30, uh, we have one, you know, an hour and a half between one and two 30. Then we have a two three nap. Now I have another two hours. So this extra two hours, three to five, this is when I do kind of maintenance type things. Uh, I usually don’t have calls. This is when I Mmm.

(21:13):

Kind of take a break, right? So, but I still work, so this is what I’ll do. I’m low like end of day work. So we’re talking about, um, going in the home feed and replying, like things like that. This is what I do, this and the afternoon, um, uh, curating tweets for clients. Uh, I do this and afternoon, um, sometimes it’s, um, sometimes I uh, do some editing, maybe very rare. And um, I make a to do list for the next day. Okay. So this, I need to kinda make a different color and let it wrap. Let’s see.

(22:28):

Format merge cells format. Mmm. Align to the top. That’s really going to color kind of end a day color. Like, okay. So I’m like awake, super awake. These are my really good hours. Oh, I forgot. I do do one thing right here. Insert row above this is, this is an important time. Let’s go like this. Uh, let’s see. No out that color. How about this color? I do my 10 30, 10, 45 break. Cause you know, I’m, I’m, I’m still a human, you know, so sometimes I sit on my patio, you know, like that. Um, so okay, there we go. So I’m wa, you know, I have a good solid five hours of work. Like if I was employee, this is my eight hours, nine to five, right? But toward the end of the day when I know I’m kind of like [inaudible], you know, that’s when I kind of wind down things, you know, so, so then you’re, you’re like, okay, so dinner. Right. And then one of the things I’ve been doing is, um, oops, no, that was right.

(24:18):

One of the things I’ve been doing is turning off the TV at eight 30. This has been about protecting my sleep. I do this every day because I was having some ridiculously difficult TV, um, issues. So I try to eat dinner in the weekends, a little different, but I try to eat dinner around six. Again, I’m hypoglycemic. So it’s really important for me to eat in a normal time. So now I have kind of my schedule. So before Corvette, Monday is karaoke and that starts at nine. So if I go then it’s nine. I try not to be too late. Um, um, I try to be like nine to 10 30, you know, like that, uh, Tuesday I don’t really do anything. Wednesday is trivia, which is eight to 11, but we have to drive their, so usually like seven to 11. So like this is trivia or right here it’s a different, totally fun thing. Like to make my fun things like yellow, you know? So, um, then Thursday I don’t really do that much. And then let’s see, let’s do slim freeze.

(26:04):

No, let me, okay, so fry Friday, okay. Friday is different, but I wanted to save this. So this, the whole part right here is different. Oops. Dang it. Okay. Reset. Friday’s different. And I’ll tell you how. So Friday, I ha I’m on a podcast. Friday from nine to 10 is podcast. Oops. So 10 o’clock, uh, I don’t do anything. So I’m, I’m like, no, I’m not doing anything else. And I still do my patio. 11 o’clock to new. That’s like the only time I do client work and then I do my lunch. Now what’s different from one to two is this is my blogging time. This is the two hours I work on my business. So if I have already made a video or edited a current piece of content or made a landing page, anything published for my business before Friday, then this is free time.

(27:31):

And then I take Friday afternoons off. If I haven’t done it, then this is the time I block out. So no, I don’t do anything here. Nothing. It’s nothing. So this I probably should have, I messed it up because I don’t do anything right here. And if I, I merged all those cells, blah, blah, blah. And this video is really long. I’m sorry. Um, I don’t know if it will. Well, let me unmerge okay, there you go. So Friday, this is no, so let’s see. Okay. Oh my gosh. See, this is what happens when I do things that are, uh, live, live, recorded, recorded, and committed to.

(28:26):

So this is still merged though. Those Mondays is Thursday. That’s what I do. So I’ve, because I worked in a office for so long, I really, really liked the idea of, you know, having Friday afternoons off. So this is off, this is off. I’m not doing anything here. I’m going to happy hours. What’s happening. That’s, you know, that’s really, it’s my time, whatever. So block that as yellow and you know, move on with your life. So the weekends, one of the things that’s really important, I, I had to learn this kind of the hard way is the weekend should be a little bit different, but because I work a half day on Friday, I like to work a half day on Saturday. So this is all the same. This is, this is still the Sam still dressing and sharing and doing all this. Um, basically these same hours, um, Saturdays for pancakes. Okay. So if I, but Sundays is that when I do some more editing. So I do editing. So it’s this color. I do some editing, uh, between the, these times, you know, after I eat my pancakes, like 10. And then same thing from a one to two. Oops. Let’s just copy that editing or client, miss client work, miscellaneous client work.

(30:17):

So, um, that goes down. Format 11 merge format. I know I could have done this ahead, but then it wouldn’t show you really how to block out your time. I’m still having lunch basically at the same time because hypoglycemic. Okay. So then, you know, I do whatever I want. You know, Sunday, one of the things I’ve been doing Sunday nights is bath with Radiohead. I know it sounds, that’s why I said I like gimmicks. It’s not always Radiohead. Sometimes it’s the milk carton kids or Ryan Mountbleau or van Morrison. But basically it’s a time for me to, you know, reflect and spend some, you know, reflect on my life, looked on my day. I’m at my head up here. So, so here you do have it. So I’m gonna zoom out, there’s my day and you can see how the time blocking works. Like that’s what’s in my head.

(31:33):

That’s how I do it. So it depends on what you want. What are your goals, what do you want to have to happen with your life? Um, Sundays, you know, it’s just, it’s whatever I want to do and it’s up to you how you want it, how you want to live your life. But that’s, this is how I live and I don’t have the spreadsheet. Clearly I had to make it. This is what’s in my head, this is how I do it. But as you do this, and this is an important thing, as you build your time blocking, I do apologize. This is so long as you build your time blocking.

(32:18):

Don’t be afraid to audit and edit it. You’re not me and I’m not you. Maybe the thought of starting work at 9:00 AM makes you wonder if you should even be a business owner. I don’t care when you start, start whenever, but make it the same. If you, if have children and they have sports schedules and things like that, then take advantage of those times when they’re gone or, or build it in your calendar that you’re not available. And then that helps you see that your time is valuable, that you have a schedule that matters and that you teach everyone around you, including yourself, to respect the value of your time and that your time is important. I hope this helps you. Again, I apologize. It’s so long. Thank you for watching. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments or find me on Twitter. Bye.

 

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