How Time Blocking Can Give You Freedom
If you tend to get caught up in the tyranny of the urgent, time blocking might be something worth trying.
Burnout happens when we experience prolonged periods of stress. So often we are caught in the chaos of everything happening around us and the many needs of others that we forget how important it is to simply slow down. To give yourself time to think. To give yourself time to focus on something different. To allow yourself the gift of saying no or not right now.
If you're working for a nonprofit it's probably because you're living out your passion. You feel called to the work that you do. Unfortunately at times it feels like the need is much too great, and unless you're working constantly you are failing those you're trying to serve.
I remember when I interned at a nonprofit in college and hearing one of the staff members talk about her realization that she ran everywhere she went. She was constantly in a hurry. There was so much to be done. One day she ran without looking and ran into a pole! In that moment she recognized this unhealthy pattern, and committed to walking. It sounds silly, but I think we've all found ourselves addicted to hurry at times. We often think that is what we must do.
If you're anything like me, you live off your calendar. Every morning you check what is on it, and prioritize your day around it. You have your appointments, meetings, and everything that's necessary. You find yourself saying you wish you had more time to do x.
One thing I like to recommend trying is time blocking. Think through what it would look like for you to really take time for the things that fill your cup and motivate you. What would make your day more satisfying, less stressful and more fruitful? Is it an hour a day to read up on some articles and drink a cup of coffee? Or maybe just 30 minutes to think? Perhaps it is making sure you stick to that Thursday date night with your spouse. Think through the things that you want and need to prioritize, then put them on your calendar. Even if you're not sure of the specifics. For me, I have a committed morning where I take my little one to do something fun just the two of us. I haven't always had that luxury, but in this season I want to take advantage of it. And if it's not on my calendar, unfortunately I'll fill that time in with the things that seem more urgent.
Your time is your most valuable resource. You will actually be more effective if you take the time to slow down. Fill your cup. Prioritize what's important.