It was 2006 when I was first introduced to playing blocks of time. The director of training for the life insurance company I was working for had all of the first-year advisors in the conference room with paper calendars and highlighters. Everyone in the room thought the guy was crazy, not the least of which was me. I loved my Palm Pilot and my electronic calendar and he wanted us to schedule our days to the minute and use markers on paper to do it. I hated it until I tried it. Now I’m hooked and even in the middle of quarantine, I still block out my days. Here’s Why:
The Feeling Of Control
There is so much going on right now that I can’t control. They’ve kicked me out of my gym, my kids out of their school and I can’t eat in a restaurant. I’m stuck listening to the man and there isn’t a damn’ thing I can do about it. Well, except how I spend my time. By blocking out my day I’m reminding myself that there are still a few things that I have control over. It eases my mind and helps keep me sane during these trying times to know that I’m still in charge of how I spend my days, even if I have to do it from home.
Discipline Is Required
I am by nature the laziest person I know. Left to my own devices I would sleep until noon, eat junk in my bed and watch reruns of The West Wing over and over until it was time to do again the next day. As silly as it sounds, blocking out my day in my journal is the only system that keeps me from giving in to my demons. I’ve always said that behind every successful lazy person are systems that keep them from being lazy. This is mine.
Getting Things Done
When working from home, it’s incredibly easy to be sidetracked by distraction. There’s always housework. There are the kids’ demands, conference calls and emails. Without some kind of system I would end up bouncing from one priority to the next and none of them would be mine. Because I block out my schedule I have time to get it all done with blocks protected to work on the things that are important to me. One of the things most of us are missing right now is the feeling of accomplishment. By keeping my blocks protected I can find wins throughout the day and have time to actually get them done.
Playing with blocks of time works when times are normal. It works even better during these trying times because it gives me a sense of control, it forces me to be disciplined and allows me to get things done. If you’re struggling right now there’s no shame in that. Plan your perfect day and work to make it happen and tell me if it doesn’t shift the way you approach it. Who knows, you might just fall in love with it as I did.