How to Be a World Class Time Blocking Expert

Written by Posted On Thursday, 02 March 2023 00:00

You know what I hear from everyone I coach?  Yup…you got it (and I bet you say it, too)!  This same script is in almost every session: 

• I want more time
• I want to get more organized
• I can’t get caught up
• My to-do list keeps growing and I am overwhelmed

Sometimes the overwhelm can be real; holidays, family events, a new influx of business – like Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say: “It’s always somethin’!” 

You can just about guarantee that some random last-minute hiccup will sabotage your perfect plan! I should know; with a name like “Murphy” it can happen a lot… and trust me, Murphy’s Law is always there if you allow it! So, here’s the scoop: 

You will never control time, events, happenings, last minute interruptions, catastrophes, blessings, etc. - You can however, control how you respond to them!

I can almost see you rolling your eyes about now, but take a deep breath and hear me out.  

In most cases, emergencies belong to someone ELSE!  Your family, dog, friend, co-worker, boss, etc.  Some are legitimate: The water heater that sprung a leak during the week you had guests, or the refrigerator that stopped working right in the middle of a family reunion.  

Unexpected glitches like that almost ALWAYS throw you off track, but those events don’t have to keep you off target for long!  Life if full of bumps and bruises, but when you lay a solid foundation of non-negotiables, you can rest assured that you will get back on track with less stress and more productivity.

You may be interested to know that research suggests that in an eight-hour day, the average worker is only productive for two hours and 53 minutes! That's right--you're probably only productive for around three hours a day.* 

The trick is to be PRODUCTIVE every day and to have a plan in place to consistently accomplish the action steps that move you closer to achieving your goals. 

Enter the discipline of a process we use called “My Planned Week”, which is designed to create the unconscious “habit” of activities that are consistent and blocked every day on your calendar.  Before you throw up the objections, think about this.

Every day you wake up and follow the same basic routine- get up, bathroom, coffee, shower, dress, etc. The sequence of showering before or after breakfast, when you brush your teeth, etc. are examples of how your “routine” rolls out, and you follow this pattern almost religiously!

What if that same type of routine was blocked differently for a few minutes each day?

Just like an appointment for your hairdresser, doctor, dentist, etc. – you BLOCK the time – even if it is only 15 minutes at a time – to get that ONE THING DONE. The movement, even ever so tiny, will give results.  For example:

• 15 minutes of quiet time each morning to get yourself ready for the day.  Got kids? Get up a tad earlier and get that quiet time all to yourself!

• Walking the dog? Listen to books on tape, a Ted Talk, or even a funny or informative podcast.

• Need to work out? Walk with  friend so you have an accountability partner.  

• Can’t find the time to send birthday cards or thank you notes but riddled with guilt when you neglect opportunities to express your gratitude?  Hire a retired person with lovely penmanship to send them for you. It doesn’t matter if you physically write them out or not. It’s not important who physically sends the cards, but that the acknowledgement is received!   As my coach says, “Everything works…doing nothing doesn’t.” Stop being disappointed and start feeling productive! When you recognize the value of others, you get love and often reciprocity in return, and it feels GREAT (even if you weren’t the person who addressed and stamped the envelopes)!  Your loving and positive impact goes beyond that one recipient as you change how they “feel” as they reach out to others in their lives.  Express yourself and all parties win!  

If you really only work 3 hours a day, then you spend the majority of your time “reacting” to every little emergency, request, or demand that appears URGENT, but not important!  Begin your day with intention…focusing on what YOU want to get out of this precious, newly unfolded day.  Some days will, of course, be impacted by something outside of yourself, but a well-planned out, established course of action items that have a defined space in your schedule will help to support your wants and needs daily. 

As tough as it might be, sit down and make a list of what you want to accomplish in your day, both personally and professionally.  If you are like many people, you feel you can do it ALL – but here’s where smart delegation comes in. 

Decide what you HAVE to do, WANT to do, and are WILLING to do and prioritize from there. You might get caught up in thinking EVERYTHING is a priority, but when based on your INTENTIONS and focus for how you want your life to look and feel, then it becomes a tad easier. 

Being busy is not the reward; productivity that results in PROFITABILITY is the higher goal.   Look for the opportunities to block your time to fit your personal outcomes.  It makes for less stress, increased productivity, more joy, and will result in more income to fund your life by design.

*According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American works 8.8 hours every day.

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Terri Murphy

Terri Murphy, Communication engagement specialist, author, speaker, consultant, and Master Coach with Workman Success.  She is the author of 5 books, TedTalk speaker and co-radio host on Contact: or Email:

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