What things make up your life? What tasks do you have to do each day, each week, each month?
Step 1 of time-blocking is just making a list! Simply, meaning don’t over think it, dump on paper everything you can think of that requires your attention. Sometimes it is helpful to make categories first such as:
Self-care; children; household jobs; work; education; volunteering, etc.
Then list the things you do within each of those categories. What do you do to care for yourself? What needs to be done to keep your home running as smoothly as possible? Do you have other responsibilities? What do they require and how often?
Once you have a list, let it sit for awhile and see if anything else comes to mind when you’re not thinking so hard.
Sometimes, I find as I make a list like this, when I get right down to it and see it all on paper, that my desires and expectations would take three people to execute! So this step also can be a time to prune back the ideas you may have, or the time-frame that you may be thinking about giving to each responsibility. For example, if I realize that I have more I want to do than is humanly possible, I may make a note to myself to remember that I want to pursue x,y or z later in the month or in the year, or maybe even next year! Unloading some of my mental clutter, even though it may consist of worthy and productive ideas, helps me to get back down to earth, slow my thoughts and lighten my load. It is very helpful to take the time to write these things out so that you can get a clear picture of where you are and what you may be expecting of yourself.
A few years ago while doing this exercise, I decided to put goals and hobbies and projects in quarterly increments on my calendar. One chunk of time had “refinish the toy cabinet” and another had “sew crib skirt and quilt for my granddaughter” and another was “get the learning French lessons at the library!”
If you think about everything you want to do and all you need to do and all it would be nice to do, all at once, it can fry your circuits! So making this list will be instructive. You don’t need to make any decisions at this point, just pour all your thoughts onto your paper.
And that is all for Step 1!
Baby, baby steps will get you there! More later on step 2…
P.S. Even if you don’t “do” it now, write it down if it is something you would like to be doing. (Exercising, date night with your spouse, etc.) You may find that shifting your priorities will help you to fit in the things that are really most important to you. In step 2, when you plug your activities onto a structure of time, they will be added in order of importance! (The big rocks right?) Then the items that are of lesser importance will either fit in more easily or they will drop off your list.