Are you familiar with time blocking? Have you ever considered conducting an experiment to see if you could accomplish more through time blocking?
Yesterday, I completed my first ever 66-Day challenge. You can learn more about the 66-Day Challenge here. Let me explain and allow me to share what I have learned and continue to learn as a Founding Member of Time Blocking Mastery.
Time blocking is committing a block of time to doing one thing and only one thing during that block of time. It is the opposite of multitasking.
I completely suck at multitasking. If you’ll be honest, I bet you do too.
When you multitask your brain is constantly switching from one task to another and it takes longer, much longer to get things done. There’s much more to say about multitasking, but I’ll save it for another time and post.
I’m not exactly sure when or where I first heard of time blocking. Through the years, I’ve known several people, all of whom I considered high achievers and incredibly productive, who attributed their success to time blocking.
That was enough for me. I ordered the book and devoured it. I remember Gary and Jay advocating time blocking as the fundamental skill behind great achievement.
Late last year, as I was developing my goals for 2016, one of my goals for the year was to master time blocking. There’s a lot I want to accomplish and I know time blocking is critical to making meaningful headway towards all of those other goals.
Then, earlier this year, I received an email from Jay Papasan announcing the launch of a new program, Time Blocking Mastery. Jay was looking for 100 people to participate in a 10-week pilot of their new course before making it available to the public.
I watched the video and I was intrigued. Immediately, I was compelled to apply.
A few weeks later, I received notification of my acceptance as a Founding Member of Time Blocking Mastery. Me and 99 of my new friends were joining Jay Papasan and Geoffrey Woods for a 10-week journey to master time blocking.
Through those 10 weeks, Jay and Geoff walked us through the key principles and skills necessary to master time blocking. The 100 Founding Members each chose a 66-day challenge as the focus of their time blocking. We had a private Facebook group where we would share our experiences, explore best practices, and encourage one another on the journey.
Top five insights:
- Time blocking is tactical, finding your ONE Thing is strategic. You probably get that time blocking is a strategic approach to managing your time. But in, and of itself, time blocking is really a tactic. The power comes from focusing your time on what matters most in your life or business. That’s where the ONE Thing comes in.At the heart of The ONE Thing is this focusing question.What is the ONE thing I can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
Discovering the ONE Thing that matters most is an exercise of reverse engineering your big goals in life and lining them up like a set of dominoes.Identify a big goal in life that you want to accomplish. From that goal, work backwards. To accomplish that someday goal, what do you need to accomplish five years from now? What do you need to accomplish one year from now? Then back it down to six months, three months, and one month from now. What do you need to accomplish this week all the back to the present. What’s the one thing you CAN do that will move you forward to your future?For me, I decided the ONE thing I can do that is most significant to my future goals is to write every day. Every single day! And I decided to set the bar high for myself. To write 90 minutes a day, every day for 66 days.
- Mastery is not perfection. Don’t confuse the two. This distinction is absolutely essential! Especially for the recovering perfectionists. Somehow, in the past, I had equated mastery with perfection. To master anything, meant doing it perfectly. All the time. That is simply not the case. Nor is it possible.The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines mastery as “knowledge and skill that allows you to do, use, or understand something very well.” Very well is very close to perfect. Actually, it is close enough for what really matters.Please do not confuse mastery with flawlessness. That’s a mistake many perfectionists make and fail to enjoy mastery because they have confused mastery with perfection. Consequently, they often fail to experience the benefits of mastery.You will miss a day.
- Extend yourself grace, get up, and keep going. When life happens and you break your streak by missing a day or two, or three, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, lift yourself up by being gracious to yourself. Don’t make excuses for your failure and don’t allow your failure to derail you.Instead get back on track and get going again. If you simply stalled out for a day, either make the time up over the next few days or extend your time to make sure you complete the 66 days. If you fell off the wagon, start a new set of 66 days. Remember, you’re in this for the long haul.
- Time Blocking is easier when done in community. Like so many things in life where change is challenging, those changes are easier to accomplish when doing them in community. Jay recruited 100 people as Founding Members of Time Blocking Mastery.I did not know a single person in the group when it began. That did not matter.We were part of a community — in this case, a private Facebook Group. A community is a group of people united by something in common. Perhaps they live in close proximity to one another. Maybe they share common interests or experience(s). In this case, we were all on a common quest — to master time blocking over a 10-week period and provide feedback on the pilot program.The 100 of us in this community were there sharing the learning journey, sharing our experiences (aspirations, frustrations, failures, and eventually successes). I found it helpful to know there were 99 others pursuing the same quest. For me, posting my daily progress was an important part of my personal accountability and key to my success.Whether your current quest for mastery is time blocking or anything else, find a way to do it in community.
- Approach time blocking one day at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed by thinking about the 66 days and how you will ever get to the finish line. Commit to the long-term and take it one day at a time. Perhaps you’re familiar with the saying, “It’s hard by the yard, but inch by inch, it’s a cinch.”The idea behind a 66-day challenge is that the latest research shows it takes much longer than 21 days to establish a new habit. If you stick with that new activity for 66 days you have reached the point where that activity is now habitual.Take it one day at a time. Check off your daily progress and link your days together to form a streak. Keep the streak going and soon you’ll find you are on your way to mastery.Use a tracker to measure your progress. Here’s where you can download a printable 66-day calendar to track your progress. There are even free apps you can use to create your goal and track your progress.I am grateful to be a Founding Member of Time Blocking Mastery. It has certainly given me the boost I needed to accomplish my goal of mastering time blocking. I have no plans of stopping.Just two weeks into the program I began a second 66-day challenge and just checked off Day 51 of that challenge. Now I am extending time blocking to other parts of my day and other high priority projects.
What does this mean for you?
Maybe nothing. If that were the case, you would have stopped reading by now.
This is post #2 in week one of a six-week blogging blitz. Here’s the post that introduced it and invited you to come along.
Consider these options:
- Watch the introductory video on Time Blocking Mastery.
- Share or send this post to two (or more) people in your network who you think would benefit. The icons are at the top and bottom of the post to make it easy.
- Schedule your quick connect call with me to talk about anything that’s on your mind. These are 15-minute calls and I am making myself available for 3 calls a day as my schedule permits. I hope you’ll take me up on it.
- Provide your name and email address so you can be invited to the Facebook Live chat exploring how you can take action towards your most important goals.
Please keep me posted on your progress. You can leave a comment below.
** The 66-Day Calendar is from the book The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, Bard Press 2013. www.the1thing.com. It is shared with permission.
Top graphic: Win Nondakowit and sourced from 123RF.com.