As a freelancer, controlling your schedule is crucial compared to anyone because you don’t have any manager nagging you to complete the task before EOD.
When we talk about time and focus, the conversation often leads to time management. But time is not something you need to manage because it’s a limited resource. Instead, you need to manage your focus effectively.
So how can you handle the niceties of clients’ work, emails, meetings, and deadlines of your work without getting distracted?
We cannot decide to become a digital hermit just because we’re spending most of our time before a screen.
This is where time blocking comes in. Give time blocking a shot if you:
- Manage multiple tasks in a day.
- Multitask, and it’s not working.
- Struggle to stay focused on one task in a day.
- Find yourself stuck between an endless loop of meetings.
This guide will take you through all the intricacies of time blocking for freelancers and how you can use it for the utmost advantage.
What is the time blocking method?
Some people call it time batching, chunking, and boxing too. The concept behind time blocking is— you plan the day before it arrives, which sounds unrealistically simple.
With the time blocking method, you’ll need to divide the day into various batches. Each of them will be dedicated to one specific task or multiple related tasks during the time.
A to-do list tells you all the tasks you need to complete in a day, leaving you in a dilemma for when and how. But with the time-blocking method, you wake up to a concrete schedule that keeps you focused on each task.
And this means you need to plan the day and a week ahead before you go to sleep. Begin this by having a rough idea about the week and its possible outcomes.
With everything scheduled in advance, you won’t spend the day deciding how and when you should start working.
Benefits of time blocking your days as a freelancer
- Stay ahead of your deadline
If you’re someone who likes to wait until the deadline to finish a task— then you are more likely to stretch it to the very last day. That’s an unhealthy pattern, and you can break this cycle with time blocking.
So when you have got a larger project that is easy to break down into smaller parts—you should dedicate each block to deal with one chunk of it.
For example, you are a freelance designer. So for any project, you need to start with research, mood boards, creating rough sketches, and then creating the final product.
So with time blocking, give yourself 1 hour for researching, then creating mood boards for 2 hours, and later the process continues.
You can focus on completing that goal before your deadline with such a process.
- Deep focused work
It is easier to finish your work when you gather all your focus and decide to work on a single task rather than a scattered to-do list.
So the more you work on a single task, you’re training the mind to focus on deep work.
This might seem like a really simple advantage, but as you keep practicing it every day—you’ll witness a positive change in the focus pattern.
- Bid adieu to multitasking
On the surface, multitasking would seem a great productivity hack to get more things done in the shortest amount of time.
Various researches have concluded that when you’re trying to focus on multiple tasks at once, it may appear simultaneous, but our brain can only handle one task at a time.
Not only is multitasking a myth, but it is also harmful to your productivity and work sessions because it virtually divides your focus.
You cannot expect the optimum result by working on two tasks simultaneously. In most cases, both tasks will suffer, which will ultimately make you a poor performer.
With time blocking, you focus on one task, which ensures maximum productivity.
- A realistic way to plan your day
The planning begins before you execute it. Most people plan their day in the morning, whereas it should be otherwise.
Because the core principle of time blocking demands you to schedule your day ahead.
And as you create different blocks for the day, it narrows down the approach. So now you’re not clueless about spending your day and finishing up all your tasks.
Variations of time blocking
- Macro Blocking
Macro blocking is the form of time blocking where we allocate the more significant segments of time to a single focus. And these segments can be anywhere from weeks to months or years.
Unlike hourly blocking, where we zero in on specific tasks, macro blocking focuses on larger outcomes and goals.
But it doesn’t mean you’ll be working on that single task for the rest of your week or month. The point with macro blocking is about committing your overall focus to one single goal.
- Micro Blocking
Micro blocking asks you to segment the day into smaller blocks that only focus on one specific task. For example, you decide to dedicate two hours from 11 am to 1 pm for researching and so on.
Such a microscopic allocation helps you decide what you should focus on from the beginning. As your focus is undivided at that period, you check off all your tasks in the shortest time.
- Day Blocking
Day blocking is about designating numerous micro blocks throughout the day. Most freelancers fail to distinguish their personal life from work life.
And day blocking helps you maintain your life before and after your work hours. You can and should use time blocking to schedule the daily and mundane tasks.
Such as meditating for half an hour before you start working or taking my dog for a walk in the evening
Time blocking mistakes you don’t want to make
- Being harsh on yourself
As you begin with time blocking, it will take time to know the exact time for finishing a task. As you’ll misjudge your speed and bandwidth, you will feel either time blocking isn’t the right thing for you or you’re not good enough to finish everything on your plate.
These assumptions are incorrect, so cut yourself some slack and be flexible.
Emergencies and things will come up that can ruin your perfect schedule. Sometimes you’ll have to visit someone because they need you or your family might need you.
Remember that the goal is to keep you focused throughout the day and not bind you with a fixed contract.
You can adjust your time blocks according to the demands of the day.
- Over-scheduling your free time
The leisure time is for you, and over-scheduling will make you feel like a robot.
For example, during planning for the next day, you assumed that you would want to read a book, but now all you want is a walk. However, as you’ve scheduled that time for your reading— going for a walk might feel like you’re betraying the productive self.
Eventually, it will take you to the unproductive zone because you won’t enjoy leisure time just because it is pre-scheduled.
Time blocking with Akiflow
With Akiflow you can plan your tasks with ease without going back and forth with your calendar every time.
Step 01: Log in or sign up to Akiflow.
Step 02: Once you’re done signing in to the account, you’ll have to download and install the app on your desktop.
Step 03: After you’ve installed it. Log in to your account to sync the details.
Step 04: As you proceed with the onboarding, Akiflow will ask you to connect the calendar you wish to schedule in. And you must allow all the permission to ensure seamless scheduling.
Step 05: Once you’re on the platform—you can use the calendar to time block and plan you day or week ahead. It works exactly as Google calendar—you can drag the blocks, color code, invite others, and add the video conferencing.
Additional Tip: Most freelancers often struggle in sharing availability depending upon their schedule—Akiflow allows you to share the availability at ease. Then you can copy the information and share as you like.
Have a control on your calendar
Practicing planning your day or week ahead is fruitful and will save you loads of time. Time blocking is the best way for freelancers to get their hands on planning. At first, it might seem overwhelming as you may fail to estimate the exact hours for a task. But as you keep practicing, you’ll know about it.