Managing To-Do's

Time-Blocking is Flexible

October 24, 2019

I’m Kelly Nolan.
I'm an attorney who'd been decently organized through law school but got quickly overwhelmed as a actual attorney. After nothing else worked for me, I created this system – and kept on practicing law. Years later, I found out others were interested in learning it, so that's what I do now! Let's get this realistic system in your hands so you can start living a life that feels more calm, doable, and that lights you up.
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Lately, I’ve seen more articles and even social media comments ragging on time-blocking. The main reason seems to be that people think that putting everything in their calendar would constrain them and force them to live a regimented, work-work-work life.

That’s not at all how I use time-blocking in my own calendar or with clients.

First, don’t use time-blocking to schedule every single minute of your day with work. Use it to build the life you want, including blocking time for downtime, family time and reading that book you want to read.

In short, use it to protect time for what is important to you from yourself. Seeing that a certain time period is already devoted to something else will prevent you from filling it up with work or frittering it away on Instagram. It just helps get you closer to living the life you envision for yourself.

Second, time-blocking isn’t some rigid, “this is how you should live and get a lot done” system. It’s a personalizable (new word!) strategy. I use it with clients with completely different careers (e.g., doctors to entrepreneurs), personalities, family situations, and lifestyles. It’s adaptable, and we just use it to build each person’s schedule to be closer to the life they want to live. All of their schedules look different.

Third, and my main point, time-blocking is super flexible. I’m a mom, an entrepreneur and former attorney. I completely get that life sometimes bulldozes through your plans. Four points I’d like to make (haha I guess the lawyer part of me lives on!):

  • Adjusting your time-blocked schedule when “life happens” is just as easy, if not easier, than doing it without time-blocking. When a curveball hits and you don’t time-block (e.g., you use a to-do list and your memory), you have this strange uncertainty about “how am I going to get everything done? What did I even need to get done today?” feeling. Uncertainty sucks. With time-blocking, you just move around your little displaced blocks of time into new homes in your calendar. And if you can no longer do something, you just hit delete. That’s it. It’s no harder than if you were using any other time management system, and it’s fast and easy to rearrange your little blocks of time to get what you want to get done done.

  • Those “life happens” moments happen less frequently than we think.  And the idea that we should give up on a system that brings such awesome results just because it infrequently has to be adjusted is just ludicrous.

  • Not using a schedule because we think we have no control over our schedules sometimes is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You think you have no control so you act like you have no control? Guess what? You now have no control. No thanks. Take control and build a schedule you’re happy with, and it’ll work out more often than not. Feeling and acting like you have control leads to more control, ownership, confidence, and happiness.

  • And if you find that every single day you do get thrown off schedule and don’t complete what you want, you just need to adjust your expectations about what you can get done in a day.  Plan to do less in a day. Plan that some things take you longer than you think/want. Don’t fight it – just plan for it. Your life will run smoother, and you’ll be less stressed out. While this can be hard to wrap your head around, it’ll help you actually get done what you need to get done and feel accomplished at the end of the day.

I seriously love time-blocking. It’s helped me and so many clients take control of their lives and build lives they’re excited to be living. And those lives look totally different from each other and involve curveballs too. And still those people get to live closer to the lives they want for themselves on most days. And I excites me to my core.

If you’re intrigued and want to try time-blocking out, feel free to download my free guide: 3 Things You Should Time-Block Right Now To Make Your Life Run Smoother.  You can give time-blocking a whirl for free to see if it’s for you. If so, stick around!

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