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Time blocking: a gift to yourself

~ by Alan W


Time blocking is a way for you and others to respect your time. Respecting your time means you give yourself the freedom to do what you need to do and what you love to do and how you design your own working experience.


There are three types of time blocking worth trying:


1) DO NOT DISTURB

[This is for the doing]

Blocking time under this title will mean you can get actual work done rather than being in meetings. It also helps the broader team to respect and work around your ‘doing’ time. This will help you deliver those outcomes expected of you. Put relevant information in the subject and mark as "do not disturb/busy". Adding what you are working on helps promote transparency to the wider team/business and you may find some will be inspired to assist you or feed into what you may require to aid you with getting the job done during this time. We usually add these in the morning and leave meetings for later in the day.

Tip: add 1.5 times the time you THINK you require, e.g. if you feel you need 30 mins for a task, then block 30mins x 1.5 = 45mins. Humans are bad at estimates!

2) THINK TANKS.

[This is for the thinking, ideating, collaborating]

30 mins sessions set aside to brainstorm. In the spirit of co-create & co-design and collaboration in general, invite the relevant people outside of your direct area because outside perspective is gold for brainstorming. It also helps in facilitating a "show our work" spirit, we now have the ability to make others part of our journey in getting to the destination. This is also helpful with getting buy-in and shared understanding early on.

Tip: Set a clear objective at the start of the session. Park ideas, questions and comments outside of this objective to address in a separate session. Be explicit that participants engage courteously allowing for share of voice in the session.

3) AD-HOC SESSIONS.

[This is for conversation, clarity, soundboarding, check-in’s]

15 mins sessions to open your door to others who need you. Sometimes we get pulled into others meeting styles and you may very well end up accepting a 2hr meeting that could have been 15 minutes, or wasn't relevant to you. When blocking “Ad-hoc” sessions in your diary, you are simply showing when you're available and when they can use your time. Often there are a lot of “in the moment” questions that tend to bombard you, this tactic helps to structure when these happen and for the other person (and yourself) to consider the need to set aside time to discuss. This helps with general consideration and a conscious effort can then be made for a longer meeting if required.

Tip: Ensure a synopsis is provided when your time is booked so that you can bring some thought to the session, otherwise the 15 minutes will be taken to set context rather than address the question/s.

Good luck and godspeed!


Work with Alan W


“Solving niche challenges founders face”.


Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)

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