Blocking time improves small business owner productivity

A week or two ago, we talked about some of the ways I stay productive during disaster modes (hot water heater fails, power outages, transmission blows and strands you in No Man’s Land, etc). During that time, we talked about compartmentalization, schedules, systems and making Microsoft Outlook appointments for everything so that “time vampires” can’t creep in and suck up all the productive time in your schedule.

Another of the ways that I eek out as much productivity as I can is through time blocking.

For example, Wednesday is meeting day for me. No matter what else happens, I have a 90-120 minute chunk carved out of the middle of my Wednesday by our noon Rotary Club meetings.

Rather than try to be “too productive” in tasks that require long term focus in the morning before the meeting, I instead schedule meetings to fill that time. These are meetings that I would have to schedule anyway, so why not block them all together and fill up time that might not be as productive as normal, rather than scatter them in the middle of high-productivity time.

I do the same with phone calls. Friday, I have my call in radio show, plus OpenLine, plus Friday’s just have a knack for being interruption filled. One Friday a month is also partly consumed with returning from Billings group coaching, so at least one of them starts off with a bite taken out of it.

So what do I do? I schedule as many calls by appointment as I can on Friday. I’d rather do them all in a bunch than have them littered throughout a block of time that requires concentrated focus on something.

I don’t do them without an appointment because playing phone tag is annoying and extremely unproductive. Plus I can schedule my day around the call times, rather than have someone call while I’m in places where I don’t want to take calls or during times when calls just wouldn’t work.

How do you step it up to get as much productivity as possible?

8 replies on “Blocking time improves small business owner productivity”

  1. What you describe has always been my strategy! But I could never get my (former) boss to subscribe to this idea, and he was constantly allowing interruptions to set him back when he had deadlines to meet. Yes, in a service-based business, you want to be responsive to your clients… but unless there is a real emergency, calling people back a few hours later is not that big a deal.

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