Discipline,  Time Management

Time-Blocking for 10 Minute Novelists

One of the best things about being a 10-minute novelist is that I know I will have a designated block of time, even a small one, to get a little writing done.

As I’ve done research on productivity and time management, I’ve discovered that time-blocking is a common strategy and is recommended by many. Time blocking means that certain tasks are assigned to certain times during the day or week. You probably already do this with your sleep schedule, your meals, and your commute. Why can’t you do this with other things in your life?

In Effective Time Management for Dummies, author Dirk Zellar said,

“I’ve discovered no better system for managing time on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and lifelong basis. 

I’ve seen miracle-level transformations in the lives of my clients — successes measured in income, health, relationships, personal growth, spiritual transformation, and wisdom.”

Time-blocking creates definition. By sectioning off time for a task, you are creating a container for it. I’ve found that when I have time containers, I speed up, knowing that the timer will ding soon and I need something to show for my time block. I’ve also found that I have to make a choice when that timer goes off. I have to decide: will I be panicked at the thought of leaving something undone? Or will I rest and walk away from the peace knowing that this task will get its turn again.

Gary Keller, the author of One Thing, agrees:

“Most people think there’s never enough time to be successful, but there is when you block it.

Time blocking is a very results-oriented way of viewing and using time. 

It’s a way of making sure that what has to be done gets done. 

Time-blocking harnesses your energy and centers it on your most important work. 

It’s productivity’s greatest power tool.”

The more I use the time-blocking method, the more secure I am in my decisions. 

I am less anxious. I view my day and my week as a series of blocks and the tasks in them will get done in time. Now I understand that if I freak out over the undone or the worry I won’t have enough time, then I may make an impulsive decision — I may steal time from one block to give it to whatever is making me anxious. Often this backfires. Outside of pressing deadlines and taking my kids to their jobs, most of my tasks can reside safely in their blocks. If I have organized the people in my life to help out with household tasks and if I’ve chosen to keep my emotions in check, I can be at peace.

Our days are precious. The people in our lives are priceless. 

Our dreams deserve attention. Try blocking some time to pursue them. 

Katharine Grubb is an author, poet, homeschooling mother, camping enthusiast, bread-baker, and believer in working in small increments of time. She leads 10 Minute Novelists, an international Facebook group of time-crunched writers. She lives with her family in Massachusetts.