TimeBlocking

How to Get More Done and Achieve Your Goals by Protecting Your Time

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Bill was struggling to meet his sales goals. He wasn't making enough calls. He wasn't following up. He wasn't closing sales. He was distracted and discouraged…

 ...Until I helped him to set aside "Protected Time" on his calendar.

Now he's exceeding his goals, and he's enjoying his work more.

You've probably heard of "time blocking." It makes sense to set aside blocks on your calendar for important tasks.

But people stumble with time-blocking.

Why? Because they "block" the time on their calendar, but they don't PROTECT it.

They treat that block on their calendar as an empty placeholder. They might use that time as intended -- unless they don't feel like it when the time arrives or if something "more urgent" diverts their attention.

That's a fatal mistake. I call it "Protected Time" because you have to guard it. You have to use that time for its intended purpose.

If you protect the time, as Bill has learned to do, you will become more efficient. You will achieve greater flow. You will, like Bill, complete work with greater success and less stress.

Here's how Bill and I did it -- and how you can do it:

Set SMART Goals

Before you schedule Protected Time, you must define what you aim to achieve. Your goals must be SMART -- Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. For Bill, this means committing to a certain number of calls during each Protected Time session.

Establish a Specific Plan Before You Begin

Bill used to start his sessions by thinking, "Who should I call today?" Now he begins each session with a list of people he'll call. No wasted "figure-it-out" time. He gets to work.

Eliminate All Distractions

To protect the time, close your door. Don't allow visitors to pop in. Put a "Do Not Disturb" sign on your door if necessary. Silence your phone and don't answer it. Turn off email and message notifications. Don't check email, social media, or anything else during Protected Time. Focus COMPLETELY on the task at hand.

Keep Your Calendar Open for At Least 30 Minutes Following Protected Time

You need transition time between activities. You need time to clear your head, stretch your body, grab a snack, or take a bio-break.

And you need some time to prepare for the next activity.

If you schedule something to begin immediately following your Protected Time, you create undue pressure and stress. The last few minutes of your Protected Time become less productive. You watch the clock. You think ahead. You lose your flow.

Also, that space between activities gives you some overflow time in case you're really humming along.

If you set aside one hour of Protected Time, you shouldn't consistently work longer than that. But sometimes you'll be in the flow. Sometimes you should keep going.

Celebrate Success and Reward Yourself

When you successfully complete the tasks you planned, take a bow. Acknowledge the achievement.

Bill sends me a "mission-accomplished" email, and I reply with congratulations and positive feedback.

There are many ways to celebrate. You can keep a journal and record your achievements. You can post about your progress on social media. You can take a break and eat that tasty treat you've been waiting to enjoy.

It doesn't matter how you do it. Just congratulate yourself in some way. You earned it.

Work With an Accountability Partner

I'm there for Bill not just to congratulate him when he completes his tasks. I'm there to help him set his goals and to hold him accountable.

A good accountability partner can mean the difference between success and failure.

In my next post, I'll dive deeper and discuss why an accountability partner is so important and how to find and work effectively with one.

Tired of falling short on goals and deadlines? Feel like there are never enough hours in the day?

Learn how to maximize your time...

Schedule a free 30-minute call with Cheryl who will help you fine tune your work flow to achieve your goals and accomplish more.