“I have too much work to do and never enough hours in the day.” Have you ever said that to yourself? Or heard anyone say it? If so, we’re on the same boat. Working towards a goal is hard enough. The list of tasks seems never ending and our days feel like we’re always on the clock with no time to spare. This can lead to feeling exhausted and burnt out. No longer enjoying our job. It doesn’t have to be that way. Read on to find out how TIME BLOCKING and using a POMODORO timer might help.
As a business owner, an enthusiastic and passionate Clinical Psychologist and coach, I am always striving to do more and help more people. This often left me feeling exhausted. I seem to spend a lot of my time researching ways for it to achieve more. I want to share with you 1 thing that I have started to use. This has helped me manage my time and it’s time blocking.
Parkinsons law states that the activity we are doing will expand to fill the time that we allocate for it. So if I think I will write this blog post in an afternoon, it is likely to expand to fill my afternoon. However if I block a set amount of time in my diary to do it i.e 1 hour, then it is likely that it will be done within that hour. So why not use time blocking to set a time to complete an activity?
What do we need to timeblock?
A diary – paper or digital is fine
A list of things that that need to get done.
How do you like to structure your day? We all have different preferences for what kinds of things we want to (or feel we need to) accomplish during our workday, so it’s important that we figure out what works best for us.
Some of you might prefer to tackle the hardest thing on your list right away, so you can get it over with. Some of you might prefer to get all the small things out of the way first so they’re not nagging at you while you try to take on larger tasks.
But one thing we can all agree on: If we leave things open-ended and allow endless amounts of time, we will get distracted and do other things. We might pick up our phone and scroll through Instagram. We might go into the kitchen to make a drink. While in the kitchen, we put a load of washing on. We might switch tasks and start doing something else. Because let’s face it—there is always something seemingly important that can pull on our attention. But this slows down our progress—and delays us from getting done what we actually set out to do!
So what we can do is look at our weekly goals. Look at our to do list and actually fit the time into our diaries to complete the tasks that are a priority for that week. Sounds simple doesn’t it but often I just start working and hope that all those tasks will be achieved!
But we need to be strict and have a boundary with ourselves. We can’t allow ourselves to get distracted. We can’t pick up our phones and scroll. Try not to do a task in the house. This just takes us away from the task that we are trying to achieve.
What I have found really helpful is to use a pomodoro timer. You can set this at a time that suits you.
You’ll often hear it said that we can only really work for an hour before a break is needed. So how do you get the most out of those 60 minutes?
The Pomodoro Method is a great way to help you focus, and it’s simple. The idea is that you give yourself a set period of time to work, then take a short break. After 4 rounds of working and breaking, you take a longer break.
To try it out, all you need is 25 minutes and a timer:
Set your timer for 25 minutes and get to work. When the timer goes off, put your work aside for 5 minutes. Have a drink, stretch your legs, or just centre yourself by closing your eyes and breathing deeply. Repeat 3 more times, then take a longer break (20-30 minutes).
This method also works for scheduling in a lunch break! For me, I would tell myself I would take a lunch break if time allowed but what I found happening more often than not was that activities and things I needed to do would expand and pretty soon the lunch break is over and I haven’t stopped. So now I time block it. I have a slot in my diary that’s filled out for my lunch break. Most of the time now I do take a lunch break and have a walk in the fresh air. I am convinced that I work better because of it.
Want to read more about how we can perform at our best then click here for a blog post on just that.
So give time blocking a go.
Thanks for reading my blog.
I am Dr Hannah Bryan and I am a Chartered Clinical Psychologist and an EMDR Facilitator and Consultant.
I am really passionate about using EMDR to help people get past their past and live their best lives in the here and now.