Your to-do list runneth over—especially when you’ve got kids getting in the way of your productivity at every turn. That’s why we’re stealing this time-blocking trick from Inspiralizer founder (and mom of nine-month-old Luca) Ali Maffucci for how to stay on track when you’ve got a zillion things to get done.
What is time blocking? Basically, time blocking is the art of strictly scheduling your day with blocks when you devote time to one specific task, according to Ali. Then, when the time you allotted is up, you move on to what’s next, regardless of completion level.
OK, let’s put it into practice. So, the night before is when you set up. Ali uses evenings to pick the tasks she absolutely has to accomplish the next day—those are the things she time blocks. An example to-do on her list: “Send invoices.” Ali opens up her calendar and actually schedules an event (or time block) that’s dedicated to this one task along with how much time she’d like to devote to it. (Say 45 minutes.) By putting each task into her calendar, she gets a digital alert reminding her when it’s time to start working and, more importantly, when it’s time to move on.*
*This is important. Ali also recommends taking no more than three to five minutes to wrap up what you’re working on and start the next block. According to her, if you let 10 to 15 minutes pass as you finish up an email or project, it can add up to hours throughout the day. (This also means you need to be honest and realistic with yourself about how much time a task will truly take.)