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019 Increase your productivity with calendar blocking

Resources & Links

 Amy Porterfield - Tiger Time


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Productivity with Calendar Blocking

Many times over the years, I've sat down and started the day got going, and ended the day, having done nothing. Well I certainly felt like I've done nothing, ever felt that way? I've read so many productivity guide books, listened to so many podcasts videos on the topic. But one thing that really works for me and has given me more freedom in my work hours is calendar blocking. And that's what I want to talk to you about today so that it might help you feel more accomplished in your day to day work. I've heard both Amy Porterfield and Nikki Elledge Brown talk about this subject. Could not find Nikki's but found a schedule podcast from Amy on her tiger time it's a good listen. I have basically implemented the parts of it that suited me. 

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Calendar Blocking Basics

So let me walk you through what calendar blocking is, how I do it, and how it can help you what is calendar blocking, it's basically taking your entire calendar for the week in our blocks and then chunking out those hours so that you've got something to do is not about writing something specifically for every single hour of the day. So you don't want like 9 am till 10 am. I'm doing emails 10 am to 11. I'm doing admin 11 to 12. I'm doing designing, it's not that granular. So what you want to do is actually look at the things that you do in your business all the time and block space for it on your calendar, you have to do it the way it makes sense to you. I have a weekly calendar. I know that Nikki Elledge Brown, she does a two-week rolling calendar. So one week she focuses on client work and the other week it's all the behind the scenes stuff, but I have that integrated each week. 

Things you want to look at blocking are your weekly content, your client administration, your business administration, client work and your social media. You may have more things that you'd like to block but that gives you the idea. It's not really specific things it's not like work on so and so's wedding or edit this block of photos or you know, bake this cake it's not as granular as that is the overarching themes of your week is what your calendar blocking is. For me, I just want to give you a run-through of what my calendar looks like so you get an idea of what calendar blocking would be for you. 

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My Working Week

So I work Monday to Thursday at 9:30 am to 5 pm. And on Friday, I have a half-day unless I have one, two ones booked in the afternoon. So what it looks like is I start my day with a half-hour in my inbox and I end the day with half an hour in my inbox. So the idea is to get to Inbox Zero, don't always do it. But you may have heard in a previous podcast that I'll link to in the show notes are getting to Inbox Zero. I worked really hard to get my inbox to zero. So now I want to keep it there. So every morning I spent half an hour in my inbox, just answering anything that's urgent filing anything that needs to be filed, and then I do the same at the end of the day. I'm might pop in there. If I come back from my lunch a bit early, I might do a quick 15 minutes when I come back from lunch, just check that there's nothing urgent that needs my attention. 

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Monday

So on a Monday morning, after I do my inbox zero, I have a CEO meeting. This is me looking at what happened last week where I am on my plan, what do I need to do going forward? am I moving in the right direction, I look at all my social media stats, my email stats, my ad spend. This sets me up for the week, then I changed to something more creative. So after my SEO meeting, which is one or two hours in the morning, getting all of that information together. I go on to my social media time. So this is where I upload and schedule my posts for the week after lunch. I have my members moments. So this is time dedicated to the members of the Society of Professional wedding vendors. So if they need to talk about anything if they have suggestions on the membership, they want feedback on an idea they want to talk about the direction they're looking at and they just want somebody to bounce ideas off of when we solo entrepreneurs, it's really hard to get somebody who kind of understands your market understands where you're coming from and can give you that feedback unless they are directly in your business. And sometimes we don't want to talk about our ideas with somebody who might go and take that idea and do something very similar with it. So they could call me up they can book a 15-minute slot or two 15 minutes depends on what they want, and they can book a slot with me and have a conversation and then go into my inbox zero at the end.

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Tuesday

On Tuesday in the am I have free time for one to one so I give the morning away to one to one calls. These are networking hours. So I give it a little bit of flexibility. And if I haven't got anyone to one calls, I might move a block over into this space. So if I haven't got anyone to one calls booked by the end of Monday night for these hours on a Tuesday morning but saying I've got a networking meeting on Wednesday morning and I can't do my usual Wednesday morning block, I would move that to the Tuesday. So there's a bit of flexibility when the time relies on other people being present. So if I haven't got anyone to one calls booked, I will get on with bits that I need doing or I will move an entire block if I know that I've not got that ability to be in that block because of a meeting or something. So one to one calls on a Tuesday morning.

I have an accountability call just before lunch with my accountability partner, we will have a chat and check-in with each other and then after lunch, I have an hour scheduled for social media. So this is either catching up with anything that I wasn't able to do on Monday or doing some graphic creation you know, whatever needs doing within social or give myself an hour there to do because I like to have something creative at night. As most of you will know I'm a photographer by trade. And I like to be creative. So I have to have something that's a little bit creative and not just the administration stuff on every day or else that I think could go mad. So I have an hour, I'm scheduled for that. 

And then I have whitespace. Now, it's important to block whitespace into your calendar because if you don't have whitespace, you are going to feel overwhelmed, you're going to feel pressured, you're going to feel like you haven't got time to get it all done. Your whitespace allows you to book in a meeting with somebody that crops up out of the blue or extend your time working on something that you know is going to take you longer than the hours you've already got blocked for that item. So whitespace is really important. I have some white space there that nothing's booked in on. Again, Tuesday mornings if I haven't got one to one's book, then that is the equivalent of having white space as well. So anytime where I've got calls booked in, or call slots available if they don't get booked, that's white space, which means that I can move stuff around or continue work that I was doing in a different area and it just spreads it out a little bit gives me a little bit more flexibility.

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calendar blocking

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Wednesday

On Wednesday after inbox zero, I do my content creation. So this might be master classes for my members, or course content or anything along those lines, anything that is not administration for my business. It is content-based. I do that on a Wednesday morning in the afternoon, I do my weekly email and website maintenance, so my weekly email goes out on a Friday morning to let you guys know that this podcast is going up. So on a Wednesday afternoon, I will prepare that email, make sure I've got all the links in there etc. And that is scheduled ready to go out on a Friday morning. The reason I do it on Wednesday is that it gives me that time. So if for whatever reason, something crops up and I don't get it done on Wednesday, I have a time on Thursday and I can do it then. So website maintenance will just be me going in there loading up the podcast or checking that the podcast is ready to go or updating things, moving things around changing things. Anything that I need to do on my website gets done on Wednesday afternoon.

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Thursday

Then on Thursday after Inbox Zero Thursday is basically my podcasting day. So this is outlines for ideas, interviews, editing transcripts, getting it all loaded onto the website depends on where I am in my batching process. So I try and batch my podcasts. So I will try and record them all at the same time. Then I will try to edit them all at the same time. I will try and do the transcripts all at the same time and then I try and upload get them the link sorted out all at the same time. Thursday is my blocked for that. One week I'll be doing the recordings. The next week, I might be doing outlines for the next batch. The next week I might be editing, etc. So that's how it goes on a Thursday and that's basically the whole day I have set out for that I will do the work that I do in the mornings and the afternoons are when I've got time for interviews. So if I've got any interviews, I will book them all on a Thursday afternoon.

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Friday

Then on Friday, Friday is kind of my it's a pretend workday. For me, I try and work four days a week, doesn't always work and certainly hasn't worked during the beginning of setting up my company because obviously, there's a lot of stuff that needs doing. But Friday is training time. So I use Friday mornings to complete any training courses that I've bought, go through any training exercises if there's something that I want to learn, I'll go and find videos on it. So it's the time where I'm doing my self-improvement for the business. Then in the afternoon, I have more time for one on one networking calls. 

So I like to be able to offer people an am slot or pm slot so that you've got Tuesday mornings or Friday afternoons depending on their schedule. So hopefully by doing that, it gives them a time of day that best suits them or a day of the week that best suits them. So that's basically the way I block out my week. This helps me to focus. 

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Calendar Blocking & Weekly Goals

I have my goals for the week, and sometimes deadlines mean that things have to move around, but it keeps me clear and gives me a roadmap for the week to have my blocks written down. If you, for instance, have client work, editing photos, or designing invitations, etc, you might want to use what I call my content creation section, as an editing section or a design section. You might work on several clients within one block, or you might focus on one client. So for example, my weekly goals, I choose three goals. One is content-related, like batch six podcast outlines. One is social media related, like connect to 10 new accounts on each platform this week. One is moving my business forward, related. So connect with four new businesses through email or book one to one for you. Your content related goal might be complete client X's designs, or it might be finished client X, Y, and Z stage three of the client process. So you would book out time in your calendar to do your client work. So you know you might have it's like Tuesdays and Thursdays our client workdays. So on Tuesdays, you might do your designing and editing Thursdays might be when you book in client meetings, you know, something like that. 

It really helps give you a clear process and especially if you want to do things like one to one calls or when you have client meetings, if you can batch those and do them all at the same time, we'll do them within the same timeframe it helps you. When I started networking at the beginning of lockdown is when I really started to focus on one to one calls and what I found was that people were asking for one to ones and I was booking them in because obviously, I wanted to speak to these people, but I was booking them in whenever, it was like when are you free? Oh yeah, that's fine and booking it in. I would be jumping around from thing to thing and then having to stop because I was taking a call and I didn't just jump on a call with no preparations. So I would like be stopping in 15 minutes before taking the call, then I'd have maybe 20 minutes afterwards to digest, to make notes to file the call and it was just putting these full stops in the middle of my flow. So I just found it difficult to get any work done. The only way that I could do these one to one calls was to actually say okay, Tuesday mornings, Friday afternoons, those are when I will take one to one calls and then it meant that I was never going to be breaking up my content creation to take a one to one phone call. 

It just helps you stay focused on that one thing that you are doing. So I really hope that that helps you get a bit clearer on what calendar blocking is, how I use it and how it can help you it has made a major difference to my productivity, I hope it helps.

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Further support

If you would like more help in batching and blocking your social media. I am running a social media content calendar creation workshop in September. You can find all the information HERE.  The aim is to get your plan for the whole year for a whole year's worth of social media post topics done in under two hours using my two-step formula, the workshop is on special offer until the 13th of September. So instead of £59 is just £29. So head over to the show notes and grab your spot for that. It says that we get it done in under two hours, we're not going to be on a call for two hours. So don't worry if you think oh my gosh, I can't spend two hours on zoom. It's not going to be two hours, we are going to spend less time as I explain the process to you and then you just need to take a bit of extra time afterwards to fill in the gaps.


What do your time blocks look like? Will they be the same every week? Or have you decided on a bi-weekly rolling calendar that will work better for you? Let me know in the comments below and let me know what your takeaway from this episode is. If you're enjoying the podcast and show notes, please leave a review with your podcast service provider it really helps the show grow and share this episode with your colleagues. until next week, bye for now.


Resources & Links

 Amy Porterfield - Tiger Time

About the author 

Donna Eade

Donna Is the Founder of the SPWV. She has spent over 10 years in the wedding industry 9 of those as a wedding photographer and then as a wedding planner.

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  1. Great advice Donna. I do have a time blocking spreadsheet but I’m not very good at sticking to it as I get distracted when a new email or message comes in! Need to be more strict with myself!

    1. Yes Nicky I have decided I put a timer on for my emails in the morning then I log out after the 30 mins and don't go back in until the end of the day. It's hard but emails and social can just suck your time.

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