Life comes at us fast. All day, every day, we are bombarded with emails, phone calls, and requests for our time. The volume of it all seems to grow each day. And it can wreck our time management.
When these external demands for your attention are added to your already full desk of paperwork and follow-ups, your day can be lost just trying to dig out and keep up.
That’s when it’s time for the “buffer blocks” time management tactic.
Buffer blocks are 30 to 60 minutes blocks of time that you use to get the
… phone messages,
… and other routine tasks done efficiently.
The most important benefit of your buffer block time is that they reduce the time it takes to get all of the incoming and administrative tasks done, and they keep those tasks from interrupting the more important things (like your BIG 3 essential list).
Here are a few helpful tips for applying this useful time management tactic:
- Let your team know. If you decide to try buffer blocks, let your team know when you have your blocks scheduled each day (block your calendar) so that they know when not to interrupt you. (Suggest your team set buffer blocks into their calendars, too.)
- Update your voicemail greeting. You could say: “I am not available right now, but if you leave a message, I return calls between 11 to 12 and 4 to 5 each day.” Even if just 60% of your callers leave messages, you will be way ahead!
- Email Out of Office: Schedule your email auto-reply to let people know you only check and respond to emails during certain time windows. (If you’re anything like me, the email notification can be so interruptive!)
The Challenge: Look at your calendar and determine what one or two buffer blocks you can build into your daily calendar. Block the time and then stick to it.
I promise it will be a challenge to get comfortable with this strategy. And I promise it will be a welcome part of your routine once you get yourself in the good habit of abiding by your buffer blocks.