7 Hierarchies of Time Blocking

Xperience Growthblogposts

By: Carter Williams, Director of Xperience Growth Coaching & Consulting

Time blocking is the science and art of allocating time for a specific activity. The science is the actual mechanics of blocking the time. The art is prioritizing what to allocate time for and how to arrange the schedule for maximum results.

As you build out your calendar for the new year, take a hierarchical approach to your activities. Prioritize based on what is most important for you. And, put both work and personal on your time blocks, because you happen to be one WHOLE person. You’re not a mullet… business by day, party by night. Account not only for work, also account for your relationships, wealth building, personal growth, health & spirituality. These are the foundational pillars of a whole or as we call it an “Xperiential” life 

Find a calendar for a full week and let’s explore the 7 Hierarchies…

1st Hierarchy: Personal obligations. What have you committed to doing in your personal world? Maybe taking the kids to school or being a homeschool teacher. Maybe caring for a family member. Whatever your personal obligations are, those are probably the most important and cannot be moved. Plan for those first.

2nd Hierarchy: Important Weekly Events to You. What are the things you want to be at? Are kids practices important to be at? How about Civic or church meetings? Or working out, meditation, meet-ups with friends, date night with partner? Schedule those in next.

3rd Hierarchy: Standing Work Meetings. Unless you have the ability to move them, we must work around them. If you find that you’re in too many, consider if ALL contribute to your success or you contribute to the success of the meeting. If not, drop it.

4th Hierarchy: Work Needle Movers. When you think about your work, what moves the needle for your success? We’ve all heard of the Pareto Principle a.k.a. the 80/20 Rule. What are your top 20% of activities that lead to 80% of your results? For business people, it’s likely finding and cultivating clients, customers or talent.

How much time do you need to devote to these “needle movers”? Figure out how long it will take you to complete the amount of activities to achieve your goals. For example, if you’re in real estate and you have a goal of personally selling 4 houses per month, you should know how many appointments with prospects you need to have in a month to sell 4 homes. However, appointments aren’t the activity. Contacting people is the activity that will get the appointments… so you should know that it takes you 20 conversations to set 1 appointment and you need 2 appointments a week to sell 4 homes a month. Therefore, each week, you’ll need 40 contacts. However long it takes you to make 40 contacts is how long you need to block off time for in a given week.

5th Hierarchy: Work Training. When are you spending time to get better at your craft? If you’re in sales, when are you practicing scripts and sales skills? If you’re a leader, when are you practicing communication/coaching/training? Yes, we increase our skill “on the job” yet I’m pretty sure that Tom Brady doesn’t just show up to the stadium on Sunday and expect to win at the highest level. Take time to skill up each week.

6th Hierarchy: Check Back in on the Pillars… do you have something meaningful in all 6 areas of your life each week? If not, consider what you can add in that will enhance an unserved area.

7th Hierarchy: What Do you Love? Circle the activities on your schedule that you love, especially at work. The goal is that you spend 20% of your time doing activities that you love. If you’re not spending enough time doing things you love, find time to plug in more of those activities. Author Marcus Buckingham says that we need to spend 20% of our time doing activities that we love to ultimately love what we do. The more we love our jobs, the better our results will be.

Now that we have our calendar laid out… let’s plus it with two considerations.

#1 Batching. It’s the art of stacking like activities together. If you’re doing your work needle movers, put them all in larger chunks of time together. Your brain will get focused on what you desire to accomplish, you’ll be more productive and get better results.

#2 Whitespace. This is simply having chunks of time in our week that we have nothing planned or planned rest. Attempt to have at least 25% whitespace during your workday. This will do multiple things…. first, allow you a chance to rest. We all need mental and physical breaks throughout the day to maintain peak performance. Also, life will happen to you. Fire drills will happen to you. If you’re scheduled every hour on the hour and a project blows up, when will you address it and at what expense? It’s the whitespace that allows for the unforeseen to not knock us off our game.

When you set up your week based on these 7 Hierarchies and factor in batching and whitespace, you’ll have the Perfect Week. From there, your job is to go execute it and enjoy all the results.