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By: Cassie Ciopryna, Content Manager at MaryRuth’s
If you’ve ever spoken to or followed MaryRuth Ghiyam, the founder and CEO of MaryRuth’s, then you know how passionate she is about certain things in life: her family and other loved ones, her company and team members, helping others in every way possible, food, and time blocking.
I don’t recall the first time I heard MaryRuth talk about time blocking, but I can tell you that it’s a topic that I’ve grown to understand a lot more about in my years here at MaryRuth’s. While time management isn’t necessarily a new topic to learn about, using this specific time management method was a new concept for me.
For a quick refresher for anyone not familiar with time blocking, it is a method that works by dividing time — typically by day or by week — into smaller increments to complete specific tasks. MaryRuth teaches time blocking per day, by dividing your day into one-hour chunks.
A few months back, MaryRuth had Time Blocking Journals created, printed, and sent out to the entire MaryRuth’s team. She encouraged us all to start using these journals. Because she believes in time blocking so much, she even began hosting regular workshops internally to teach and motivate all MaryRuth’s team members to start utilizing the power of time blocking.
These Time Blocking Journals are simple, yet powerful — each includes multiple pages labeled each day from Monday through Sunday, having one page per day to time block. One side of the page has simple lines to write out your to-do’s and things you’d like to get done on that day, and the other side has the actual times of day included where you start writing out these things from your list into the time blocks.
Admittedly, I have long been a list-lover; writing down my to-do’s in one spot and feeling the gratification of checking off something I needed to get done makes me feel accomplished.
Still, the thought of writing down everything I wanted to get done in a day and choosing specific times to do so felt a bit scary at first. We all wish we had more time in the day. And, writing down everything that you want to do on a given day is a very straightforward way to see which days you’re putting unrealistic expectations on yourself, and which days you have more time to get things done than you thought.
The first day I filled out my time blocking sheet, I felt incredible. It was a small accomplishment to simply write out everything I planned to do the next day — even though I hadn’t done any of it yet! I messaged MaryRuth about how excited I was to complete my first time blocking sheet, and she encouraged me to keep doing it daily for at least a few weeks. I set a reminder in my phone for every day at 4pm to remind myself to time block for the next day, so I could create a habit and make this a part of my daily routine.
During the first few weeks, I couldn’t believe how much better I felt at work and in the hours before and after work. I felt like I had freed up some headspace so that I no longer was stressing out, wondering if there was something that needed to be done I had forgotten about.
Writing out all of my meetings for the next day, and filling in the rest of the space with other tasks I had to and wanted to accomplish made me feel like I could get more done than I previously thought possible! And, writing out things I wanted to do in my mornings and evenings allowed me to see how much time I had for doing things that needed to get done and things that I just wanted to make time for. I wrote out time for my morning workout, taking my vitamins, and even time blocked for meals to cook at night or time I wanted to spend with friends.
I learned that, although time blocking may seem like an activity only for the most organized and planner-type individuals, it also requires a lot of flexibility and forgiveness. Even MaryRuth will tell you that there will be days you may hardly get to many of the things you blocked out time to do — and that’s okay! They can always simply be pushed to the next day (or the day after that).
Life happens, and no amount of planning ahead can always prepare you for what can occur day to day. So, my advice to those who feel like they can’t time block because they aren’t a huge planner is to still give it a try, because time blocking teaches you lessons on how to make better use of your time, no matter your personality.
I’ve been pretty regularly time blocking for a few months now, mainly for Monday through Friday. Having my paper next to me for the day makes me feel more at ease and ready to tackle my day. It’s truly become a regular part of my daily routine, and on the few days I’ve forgotten, I feel like something is missing. I’ve already moved on to my second time blocking journal!
My goal is to more regularly time block my weekends as well with to-do’s and tasks that I say I wish I had time for, but in reality, just need to make the time for. And that’s the great thing about time blocking! It’s made me more aware of my time and what I choose to spend my time doing.
MaryRuth’s dedication to time blocking (and all that she does, really) is aspirational, and I hope to one day hone in on taking control of my time as much as MaryRuth does every day!
Never underestimate what you can get done even by setting aside time to do something for one minute each day, and get to time blocking with our Time Blocking Journal or free downloadable time blocking sheet.
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