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Emily Ley Blog

Simplifying Life in a Crisis #7: Block Scheduling vs. Hourly Scheduling

March 16, 2020

Hi, friends! I searched long and hard for a photo of me in leggings, with my hair piled on top of my head, and three children hanging from my limbs to accurately illustrate what its like to work from home with kids in the house, but alas, all I have is a perfectly staged photo of me at my VERY ABSOLUTE BEST. Sorry, just pretend my hair's a little dirtier and I don't have any makeup on. I digress. First, some housekeeping. We're seven posts into this series and I want to thank you for your kind words to our team. We're happy to be able to provide these tips and resources during this tricky time. Also, this morning, I created a private Facebook Group for entrepreneurs to provide support and encouragement as we navigate the unknown and the way it is impacting small businesses. I also wanted to say thank you to everyone who is shopping at Simplified right now. To hear that your planners are helping you manage your time during a crisis is an enormous compliment and something that means a lot to us. Spring Launch is still set for April 8!

Today, I'd like to address a question I've been getting on Instagram a lot, about WFH (or "working from home"). Is it best to block schedule or to hourly schedule your days? Block scheduling is assigning a topic or theme to a large chunk of time. Hourly scheduling is, well, hourly scheduling. Now, you have to do what works best for your family, your situation, and your set-up, BUT, I will tell you that I think there is a right answer here. 

Q: Which is better during this time? Block scheduling or hourly scheduling?

Hourly scheduling is very nitty gritty. It's great for children (because they don't have long attention spans). See this post for my loose schedule for our kids. I will tell you that during the summer, we don't hit this schedule on the nose. Instead, we aim to wake up and get ready around 7am, do some fun stuff, eat lunch at noon, do some more stuff, and have quiet time from 1-3pm. Then, at 5pm, I start making dinner and they get television / iPad time. The twins go to bed at 7pm (5 years old) and our oldest goes to bed at 8pm (and reads for thirty minutes, he's 9 years old).

Block scheduling, on the other hand, is sort of like batching, or assigning themes to the day. For instance, I often do this with my work days:

  • Mondays: meetings with partners and my team
  • Tuesdays: creative work
  • Wednesdays: writing
  • Thursdays: meetings / calls / press interviews
  • Fridays: working ON the business (back-end) and running errands

When using block scheduling for my kids (especially during the summer, I'll do something like this:

  • Mondays: water play day (swimming, playing with the hose, water balloons)
  • Tuesday: adventure day (library, zoo, museum)
  • Wednesdays: summer school day (my kids think this is so fun, I print off worksheets from education.com)
  • Thursdays: outside day (nature walks, a local trail, beach)
  • Fridays: friends day (get together with friends to go to a park or have a picnic)

As you start to figure out a routine for working at home with your kids, I hope this helps. Personally, I think time management is SIMPLEST when we don't overcomplicate it. That means, be flexible, batch stuff together (errands, chores, meetings, phone calls), and set boundaries (my kids are having Quiet Time right now and I'm writing this post. They know not to come out of their rooms until 3pm).

God speed, mamas. God speed. :) 

--

Here are a few resources I hope you'll find helpful (and soothing) during this time:

  • I'm building a playlist called Hope on Spotify. Give it a listen if you need a minute to breathe.
  • Unplug for a few minutes. Even 20. Just put your phone on the charger and go for a walk. The constant stream of information right now is mind numbing.
  • Try the Headspace app if you like a guided meditation. I love it. I've been a subscriber for years.
  • We have a few 2020 Simplified Planners remaining and they're 30% off. Shop here. We also have free daily, weekly, and monthly printables available.