Time blocking is used by a lot of business owners and high net worth individuals to keep them on task and fit everything into their day. Instead of fitting things in-between appointments, time blocking works in the opposite manner by breaking up your day into predetermined segments where you are completing specific tasks, and you fit your appointments into the blocks of times you have already set. Time blocking gives you more control of your time versus trying to always play catch up when things come up. For instance, having a time block to answer emails from 12-12:30 each day rather than stopping what you are doing every time an email comes in.
As a legal transcriber, or legal transcription student, you will have a variety of things you need to accomplish each day. Brainstorming everything will give you a list of time blocks you need to create. Some examples could include:
– Answering emails
You can also include personal items that need to be completed. When you work from home, time for personal and work items often get completely out of balance, either with work taking over, or personal things distracting you. By including things like meals, laundry, shopping, medical appts and other things you do routinely throughout your week you will be able to fit everything in.
Define Time Blocks
Once you have an idea of all the blocks you need to schedule you’ll need to define the details. You’ll need to assign an amount of time to each one and when it will occur. Think about not only the tasks you need to complete, but your energy levels as well. When do you tend to be able to focus better? Can you create theme days where potentially a group of tasks make sense to do on the same days, or one right after another. For instance maybe marketing and invoicing take the most of one day while other days are more heavy on actual transcribing. If you are just starting your legal transcription business marketing might need more time blocks as you build your roster of clients. If you are just starting the legal transcribing course, committing to set study periods will help you focus and complete the course.
Commit to the Blocks
Committing to time blocking is the hardest part, but it’s imperative to meet your goals. Often as we get busy, the things we concentrated on to get us there fall by the wayside, such as marketing for more clients, but then we pay for it when clients stop coming in and we eventually see the slow side of business again. It’s also very easy for us to see everything as important such as emails, and address things immediately, when it’s really not an emergency and only derails our progress when we switch focus.
Test and Revise as Needed
There are a lot of studies about how long we should focus on one task, and the best way to organize your day, but it really comes down to finding out what works for you personally. You’ll probably find that you need to adjust your time blocks quite a few times before finding what works, and reevaluate every 6 months or so as your business and life changes. The point of time blocks isn’t to make you feel restricted, so while a lot of people follow a certain time blocking scenario they deem to be the best, what works best for you will need to be determine through trial and error.
Time Blocking Apps
Of course there are plenty of applications to help you! The easiest is of course a simple calendar like Google, or a written daily planner you are probably already using. But here are a few other suggestions:
Clockify – simple time tracker app
Plan – easily schedule time blocks on your existing calendar
HourStack – you can compare estimates to actual time spent on tasks
Planyway – if you use Trello this is a great addition
TickTick Premium – embrace the Pomodoro Technique of 25 min work blocks followed by 5 min breaks
SkedPal – automatic scheduling based on your priorities
If you are looking for a printed calendar, I never have enough praises for Agendio, it’s my absolute favorite printed planner as you can customize it for how you actually schedule things, notes you need to take, etc. You can order anytime each year as well. I’ve been using them for four years now and tweak things each year based on my needs.