The Secret to Effective Time Management – Smaller Time Blocks.

We all know that time management is important especially when it comes to efficiency and productivity. And most people wish they could manage their time better especially.

A good number of people struggle with time management and the struggle is harder for self-employed individuals such as entrepreneurs.

It’s easier to manage your work time when you are employed because you know that you have a boss to answer to. You have deadlines to beat with the pressure of your boss and your supervisor behind you and you literally have no choice.

For the self-employed individuals – entrepreneurs, freelancers, etc. if you are not careful, time management will be a struggle for you. As an entrepreneur, this will affect your business in so many ways.

There are so many ways to ensure productivity in your business such as delegating tasks and automating some tasks so you don’t have to manually manage them. However, even with these two options, you still have several tasks for you to manage by yourself as the business owner. And if you don’t manage your time well, some tasks will go undone most of the days.  

Timothy Carter an Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor at Entrepreneur Media says there is only one real solution to enhance your productivity and effective time management.

Carter says there are so many approaches to productivity and time management. However, the most habitual source of productivity and effective approach to time management is working in smaller time blocks.

Time Blocks?

Time blocks are time intervals you can use to schedule your work tasks. You can schedule the tasks in groups or one by one throughout your workday. So if your workday is 8 hours, you divide your 8 hours into smaller time blocks accommodating your tasks and with breaks in between.

Most people would, for instance, dedicate an hour in your morning hours to work on an important project or meeting. Half an hour to attend to emails. They would then divide the remaining time of their day into 1-hour time blocks or half an hour time blocks and have a 15 minutes break in between the blocks.

Experts say this time management approach helps you give each task an estimated time of completion.  Additionally, you are able to put your similar tasks in groups and this way, you are able to attend to tasks according to priority.

But, according to Carter, when working with half an hour or one-hour time blocks, you don’t get the full benefits of this strategy. He advises, on working with smaller time blocks of 5 or 10 minutes. This is commonly known as Elon Musk’s ‘5 Minute rule.’

Why working with Smaller Time Blocks is more effective.

Responds to the Parkinson’s Law.

According to Parkinson’s Law, work tends to expand and fill the time allocated to it. That means, if you set 45 minutes to get a task done, it will most likely take you 45 minutes or even a little bit more than 45 minutes.

This means that if you set a tighter time limit, you will be naturally motivated to get your work done faster because you are working against a tight time limit.

As an entrepreneur, set shorter time limits for things that tend to consume your time unreasonably such as meetings.  

Specificity and mindfulness.

Timothy Carter says that smaller time blocks come with more specificity than larger time blocks. This allows you to accurately approximate and portion out how you spend your time.

According to Carter, this method allows you to easily recognize and cut out your time wasters throughout the day. This awareness gives you more control over your work environment and changes your habits.  

More control over breaks.

With smaller time blocks, you are able to have breaks in between which are crucial for productivity.

Studies show that taking breaks in between your workday helps you reduce stress and boosts your productivity.

With large time blocks or without time blocks, you are going to be stuck at your desk for long periods.  This only gives you more unnecessary pressure making you feel overwhelmed by work and this makes it harder for you to take breaks.

When you schedule your work in small time blocks than your usual, you will notice you have more micro-intervals you can fit frequent breaks.

With time, you will even be able to create a break rhythm in tune with your productivity without negatively affecting your priorities.

Strategy issues.

According to Carter, this approach is not guaranteed to work for everybody. However, with experimentation, it can work for some type of workers.

Planning your workday in small intervals especially 30, 20, 10 minutes can be difficult in the beginning. You might struggle to finish your tasks within the strict time limits and some of your tasks might overspill.

If you have more of these instances where tasks are over spilling, build in small buffers to finish up the tasks. But with time, you will get around it and find the smaller time blocks very effective.

If smaller time blocks work for you, this is a practical strategy for effective time management and to boost your productivity.

Working in smaller time blocks is a habit to be built. It might take you a while to build it but once you get the hang of it, you are good to go.

You can use time blocking apps or time boxing apps to make the process easier.

Final Thoughts…

If you have struggled with the traditional time management tactics, you should try working with smaller time blocks.  

With smaller time blocks, your day is separated into workable chunks based on priorities. Every task to be done on that day is allocated its own time.

Planning out every moment of your workday and filling your time with the things you need to do, you will not be dealing with people stealing your time or getting distracted by needless distractions.

If you stick to the smaller time blocks, at the end of the day, all your tasks are completed. You won’t have to worry about uncompleted tasks at the end of a workday. That means, more productivity, less stress, and a day efficiently spent.