If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you might think it’s because you have too much to do.
But it’s more likely that the time in which you need to do it isn’t being properly managed.
Not taking control of your time leads to stress and anxiety. Interruptions and “pop up” tasks distract you, and the most important things aren’t getting done.
I work with clients on several solutions to these problems, but one of them, “time blocking”, can be put into practice immediately.
30 years ago, Franceso Cirillo developed the “Pomodoro Method” of time blocking to increase effectiveness and reduce overwhelm.
Cirillo found that limiting tasks to 25 minutes and using a timer, along with allocating those blocks of time to the most important things that need to be done—the 20% of activities that get 80% of your results—helped people organize their time more effectively and improved their focus.
His belief was that 25 minutes was long enough to get something meaningful done but not so long as to drain someone’s energy. To change gears, he anticipated that you would want to take a 5-minute break before jumping to the next block.
Working with advisors over the last 20 years and observing the activities of top advisors, I’ve found that time blocking is a widely used, effective tool—whether you use a 25-minute limit, a 1-hour limit, or you allocate the time based on your estimate of how long a particular task will take, and whether or not you use a timer.
Cirillo recognized that there would be many times when you might be interrupted by clients, your team, family, and friends.
He suggested that you INFORM the person interrupting that you’re busy now, NEGOTIATE a time to get back to them, SCHEDULE that time, and CALL BACK or follow up at the scheduled time.
If you do have to end your current block of time to take care of the interruption that is an emergency, start that block from the beginning once the outside emergent matter is resolved.
I believe time blocking is more effective as a part of a Master Schedule, where you define your work and play time, create blocks for the number of appointments you want to keep, and build your activities into the rest of the calendar. Creating this schedule will help you avoid overwhelm and keep you focused.
Your family and your team should know which times you’re available for interruptions and which times you’re not—so there will be fewer times when you need to deal with interruptions.
If you’d like a copy of a simple Master Schedule template, reply to this email and I will send it to you.
In the meantime, keep REACHING…