Time Striping



Time striping is a time management technique for managing multiple projects that will each require multiple days. It's best for people like me, who get burned out after an hour or two and need a change. If that doesn't sound like you, check out the Maker vs Manager distinction instead.

Time striping is also called The Block Schedule by Barbara Sher, and it resembles a school day. The concept is to set a pattern of activities that's repeated daily, so that you don't have to spend time trying to decide what to do: the next thing is already on the schedule.

So suppose I'm trying to write a time-management website, help my landlady improve her blog (she gives me a break on rent for this), take night classes, and improve the marketing for my small business. My schedule might look like this:

Home Room (9:00-9:30)
Check email & memos, note emergencies and handle them, create overview for the day, set up work space
1st Period (9:30 - 10:00)

Write content for time-management site; format for HTML
2nd Period (10:00 - 12:00)

Landlady's blog: answer questions, edit/provide feedback for posts, help with research
Lunch (12 - 1)

Lunch
3rd Period (1:00 - 2:00)

Classwork: Read assigned chapters for class, review lecture notes, work on class projects and do homework
4th Period (2:00 - 4:00)

Marketing: review current marketing, create new ads or promotions, interview customers on product satisfaction, improve website, send mailings
Study Hall (4:00 - 5:00)

Reply to the emails from this morning that weren't urgent, review projects and determine next task for each, catch up on blogs, review the day, create plan for tomorrow

Or, if you have 3 major projects and a bunch of small ones, you might have 1st-3rd period be the same every day, and substitute a different minor project in 4th period each day.

So that you can jump right into working in each block, you may want to put a 10-minute "passing period" between each block, giving you 5 minutes to tidy up one project and note where you are on it, as well as 5 minutes to pull out the next project and remember where you are on it. Or you can try stopping in the middle every day.

Doesn't sound like you? Go back to Time Management Hacks and look for a time management technique that fits you better.

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