Using Time Blocks To Get Stuff Done by J Monkeys

Hiddey Ho Scribblers!  J Monkeys here.  Since I have declared 2014 the year in which I shall get stuff done, I’m trying a new system to accomplish that.  As you may all be tired of reading by now, I’ve been working very hard these last few years to achieve Balance, with the capitol B.

Somehow, I’m a dabbler who is hard-wired to turn all energy to one thing at a time.  It doesn’t make any sense, I know.  But it boils down to me not accomplishing my goals when nothing is holding me back but myself.  So, the procrastination-fest that was 2013 has ended and a new era has dawned.  This definitely requires a new time management system.  I’m awesome at time management games like Diner Dash, Parking Dash, and Garden Dash – really any of the Dashes.  Surely I can find a time management system to apply to my life that will help me get stuff done.

Here’s what I’ve been doing the last two weeks and it seems to be working.  During the course of any given week I need to:

  • do things that people are actively willing to pay me to do (aka the day jobs),
  • write the things that will allow me to quit the day jobs,
  • eat healthy things and visit the gym a couple of times so that I can live long enough to enjoy quitting the day jobs,
  • and occasionally do some kind of housework so that Mr. Wonderful won’t arrive home from his much-longer-hours day job and wonder what it is I do all day. 

Basically it boils down to me being a full-time mom and housewife, part-time employee,  part-time writer, and part-time human with other stuff to do/interests.

I have derived my new time management system from my never ending love of Hugh Grant.  He was in a movie called About A Boy in which he lives off a trust fund and doesn’t work.  He breaks his day up into 30 minute units to stay busy.  Well, click here, I’ll let Hugh explain it. 

hugh grant about a boyThose short, 30-minute units don’t work for me.  I need something bigger.  I’ve broken my day into roughly two 3-hour blocks and three 1-hour mini blocks.  Once I get the twins on the school bus at 8:15, I have time to shower and eat a healthy breakfast, maybe check FB/email whilst chewing.  Then from 9:00 to noon, I have my first 3-hour block.  Ideally, this is used as writing time because I’m at my most productive and creative during that block.  But if day job #1 demands the morning block, then so be it.  I try to mix up what demand get’s this best block.

From noon to 1:00, I have lunch, plan dinner and do some kind of housework.  Move the laundry along, empty/fill/run the dishwasher, tidy something.  Then I have my second block, which depending on the day of the week is either 2 or 3 hours long.  I focus on the thing I didn’t do in the morning block – either day job #1 or writing. 

Then I’m off to day job #2, I pick the kids up between 5:30 and 6:00, and do the night routine.  Cook/eat dinner, put the kids to bed, read with my darling niece over the phone, and collapse in an exhausted heap. 

By 8:00 pm, I’m drained of all energy and creativity.  I know, you are all playing your tiny little finger violins at me now, aren’t you.  I have many writer friends who work 40 hours outside the home, have commutes to navigate, have kids, are much better housekeepers than I am and still manage to write faster/with more dedication than me.  But I have come to accept that I have no interest in trying to become Supermom anymore.  I’ve tried and failed.  I’m ready to try something else and succeed.

And as a dieting tip, putting myself to bed immediately after the kids go is a great way not to snack after dinner.  In fact, I think there is a book calling my name as I type.  But this new blocking system has worked pretty well the last two weeks.  I have been writing and I’m excited/energized about the project.  My employers are happy, and I even made it to the gym this week.  Sadly, I haven’t gotten my volunteer PTO commitments up to date, but there is always next week.

The best part is, I feel pretty balanced.  I touched on everything this week, with larger amounts of time dedicated to the things I think are the most important.  I’m looking forward to applying the blocks to next week.  I’m using a paper calendar and blocking time off every day so that I know that it’s available to do the stuff I need to do.

How do you manage your day?  Or does your day manage you?  Are you getting the most out of your time or do you need to change it up?


3 thoughts on “Using Time Blocks To Get Stuff Done by J Monkeys”

  1. Excellent plan, J. I do something similar. I’m uip and at my computer by 7 a.m. (that’s considered sleeping in for me since I’m up until 11 or 12 most night working on something). I take care of e-mails, social media, and business stuff until 9, get in my 30 minutes of Jillian Michaels and then have breakfast and shower. From 10-12 it’s writing time. I’m working on edits for PIECES OF LOVE and simultaneously trying to write book 3 in the Lily Carmichael trilogy, so I’m challenged to do both. I take breaks every hour or so and go do a bit of housework, have lunch and try to get back to it for an afternoon session, but all of this is subject to my day job schedule so I depend on nights to get back to checking my four hundred emails, taking care of business stuff and jumping back into the writing. It’s a bit frenetic, but it works for me. I like variety!

    Best of luck with stickin’ to it, girlfriend. Remember it takes 21 days to make or break a habit so keep up the good work!

  2. Loved the Hugh Grant clip-I too am a fan, even though he can be a jerk. Its great you are ordering your life and being productive at the same time. I hadn’t realized until I read your article, that I follow a similar program. Keep the faith. I want to see those books in print.

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