Before you begin:
to edit and save the tool for your use.
It’s time to consider the specific things you’re doing today that will get in the way of your future progress and in the way of reaching your goals.
The fact is, you only have 100% of the time that you have. You can’t add a second more.
Thus, take the time to be intentional about where you’re spending your time each day ☀️ — what you’ll continue to do, what you’ll start and stop doing, and what you’ll adjust. Detailed instructions on how to use the tool are below — I recommend you take a quick look at them before creating your tool.
I hope this becomes a game-changing tool for you! Do it today. Be sure to revisit it.
Keep your time in focus.
[Your First Name]’s
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Follow these 7 Steps to Get Your Time Focused On the Right Things:
Start by listing ✍️ out all items that take up your time - both work and personal, under ‘My Time Blocks’.
Here are some examples, but you should make the blocks specific to your life. Keep the categories big as we’re blocking time for main areas of focus, not specifics. Also, be sure to add anything new, as this will encompass both what you’re doing today, and where you’d heading.
(your primary work items)
(other work related projects)
Volunteer or Pro-Bono Work
(non-profits or clients you help at no cost)
Family / Kids Time
(quality non-work time with family)
(working out, sports, hobbies, downtime, etc...)
(service projects, volunteering, church, other...)
CATEGORIZE THE TYPE OF TIME BLOCK
From the ‘Type’ column, consider if this is a ‘Work’💼 , ‘Personal’ 🙋♀️, or ‘Other’ type of time block.
Decide if you will Start ▶️, Stop ⏹ , Continue ➡️ , or Adjust 🔼 on this particular time block.
In the ‘% NOW’ column, enter a percent of time you presently spend on each of the blocks. It’s okay to have ‘0%’ as some may be new items and you’re presently not doing them.
In the ‘% NEW’ column, balance out your time for what you’d like to do moving forward. The old method of ‘Burning 🔥 the Boats ⛵️’ can be considered here, but we go deeper, as it’s not always that simple. We can’t just look at work and personal items individually, as we only have 100% of the day to allocate. We must make choices that affect both our personal and work lives.
Remember that everything has a price, and that price is your focus, your time.
Make the NEW column what you want. But, be reasonable with yourself - sometimes you need to ‘Adjust’ or ‘Continue’ but lower the % of time and set expectations for yourself and others around those items. The ‘Start’ and ‘Stop’ blocks can often be easier as it’s clear.
Just be cautious not to take the easy way out. Make strong commitments.
Consider each block and each breakout of time. If you take this exercise lightly, you won’t get much out of it. But, if you take it seriously, it can be both life changing and life giving to you and those around you.
While blocking time, consider your talents and where you should be focusing your efforts. If there are things that are taking up large portions of your time that you know you shouldn’t be doing, then ask yourself, “Can I hire someone or delegate this?”.
PRINT IT OUT & STICK IT UP
Your list is solid - for now. Know that you may be in an adjustment period where it will take a few months to get to your ideal 100%. Simply, set a date on your calendar 3 months 🗓 from now to review this list again and adjust. Meanwhile, take a screengrab of the chart and print 🖨 it out. Then, stick it up in your office. If you’ve got a time block calendar that overlays your digital calendar, be sure to also update that with these new time blocks in mind. Having it up where you work and where you add your commitments will help you make better decisions moving forward.
FOCUS ON YOUR ‘BLOCKS WITH BOUNDARIES’
Now, it’s time to live out your plan. Focus your energy on your most important personal and work time blocks. Remember that saying ‘yes’ to something means you’re saying ‘no’ to something else. 😕 Thus, be intentional about where you spend your time.
Just because it’s a priority for someone else, doesn’t mean it’s your priority.
Maintain your healthy boundaries to be a better version of yourself — for both your work and personal life. We are not machines and we can’t just ‘get it all done’ because we want to.
So, take it easy on yourself.
You may feel superhuman at times, and that’s awesome. But, burnout is no fun and ultimately you get further faster
by taking the route that leads to both personal and work success. 😊
There are tools like
which can all help you get better organized and living out your time blocks. You can go super simple and create a block calendar in Google that overlays for planning. You can pin a block schedule to your wall. You can go the techy route and use a tool. Or, You can stick to paper and pen. However you do it, it’s just important that you put it into practice - that you reference it when planning your day and working your plan.
Block Your Time Because it Matters
Here are three personal stories that I go back to when I think about time blocking and the impact on my life, personally and professionally. I share them in hopes they spark stories that impact you.
The longer you wait to block your time, the more you’ll regret not doing the things that were most important to you.
When I was first married, I loved mowing the lawn and taking care of my yard. But, then I had three amazing kids (at once, yes, triplets) and our life got busier, for the better. Something had to give and it was those 4 hours on my Saturday that I had previously reserved for my yard work. My time was better spent with my family, and as they got older, coaching sports, attending functions, and taking quality time with my kids and my wife. So, I’ve had a lawn service every since. I don’t regret a dollar I’ve paid that company. I can’t get back that time.
I’m the Only One Who Can Do It
One the work front, I’ve learned what I’m giving up when I think, ‘I’m the only one that can do it.’ Those past regrets have fueled my commitment to be intentional about my time blocking. It’s funny, because I can barely remember why I felt that I needed to be the person who had to do ‘that thing’, but I do recall what I gave up. I recall missing that ‘first’ moments with our triplets while on a business trip that I had to attend versus having someone else go. I recall the stress I took on daily, even when not at work. You know that stress. It’s the stress that makes it tough to focus on what is in front of you right now. I still get a bit of a sinking feeling in my stomach just remembering it. But, now, the difference is that I know my priorities. I’m not perfect, but I am intentional and I revisit this exercise whenever my time gets out of whack. Because, it’s one of the most important things I must do to balance my personal and work success and happiness.
150 Years of Lessons Learned
As my 96 year old grandpa, Eric Swire Bates, shared in his written memoirs before he passed,
“The greatest need is for you to love each other and God so that the joy of it will pass on to your children. This review of my life will illustrate the circumstances, which caused me to have to wait so long to discover the secret to a joyful life.”
And, as was said about my great grandfather (Eric’s father, W.H. Bates), in his obituary,
“But it was not for his achievements that he will be best remembered by his friends, but for his love of simplicity, for his willingness to help others and his generosity.”
Two generations before me. The ‘secrets’ to a joyful life had to do with showing and sharing
love to one another
living life simply
. To do that, you have to be intentional about where you spend your time and what you spend it on.
Questions on using Your Time Tool?
and shoot him a message.