Using a Block Time Approach to Big Work Days

My world has changed so much in the past few years, but especially in the past two years. I went from homeschooling mom to full time self-employed mom.


I have worked at least half time for fifteen years. We put in the super (and I mean super) hard work of doing practically nothing but parenting for fifteen years. Then I was able to start writing curriculum for one publisher, speaking, etc., some while we finished homeschooling/raising our seven children. (Squeezed it in here and there like all working homeschooling mamas do!)

But the past two years (including this, my last official year of homeschooling), I only had one in school—and he was either taught by his brother, sister, or dad or taking college classes. (This year it is all college classes except for Geometry on his own.)


But that isn’t all that has changed. With full time working, my to do list has drastically changed as well. So weird. So different. Some days I just say out loud (over and over), “My life is weird.”


It was somewhat of a seamless change since I had been writing, speaking, etc., part time for over a dozen years, but occasionally, I will look around and realize just how different my life is now. It is fun (most of the time!). But I still long for the days of six kids in school…seriously….long for those days.


Back to my to do list. We always had what we “affectionately” called BIG WORK DAYS. They were days (often Saturdays) that we would set aside for a household project that everybody would work on—planting garden, harvesting produce, mega cooking, garage cleaning. Things we all do all the time.


But now my BIG WORK DAYS are based on my writing, speaking, and curriculum projects. And it sometimes isn’t quite so clear as to what do to first, which things to put off til the next work time, etc.

For these reasons, I go back to my block scheduling that I used with homeschooling. (I never did the 8:15-8:45 math approach. I broke the day into blocks of time (early morning, late morning, noon hours, early afternoon, late afternoon, dinner hours, evening), and I planned what would go into each block.)


It also works for any big work day that you might be having (school-related or work-related). Here is how I set mine up.

When I get a *big* work day (as in nobody needs anything; non teaching day; just get to work), I like to divide my day into blocks (based on how much time I have–two hour blocks, three hours blocks, etc.).


1. Decide on the number of different blocks I am going to have (three four-hour ones for a twelve hour; four three-hour ones for a twelve; three three-hour ones for a nine, etc.) based on the number of areas I want to work in. Today I chose four three-hour blocks: (1) Blog posts/blog in general; (2) Podcasts/podcast handouts; (3) Meaningful Composition re-writes/new lessons; (4) Recipe sorting and typing for the blog (of recipes I have been trying and tweaking.

2. Make my “sure would love to get all of this done” list for each block. (It can be totally nutso, unrealistic, etc., at this point…which mine always is!).

3. Place an A, B, or C before each task. A means I really want to do this/need to do this today, and I will do these things first. B is I would like to, but A’s come first. C’s will go on another work day’s list! 🙂  (See my article “As Easy As ABC’s, 123, Do-Re-Mi.”)

4. Set timer for first block of work time. (Three hours for me today.) And start on the A’s from that block’s list.

5. When timer goes off, give myself five to ten minutes to wrap up and move on to the next block. (I will transfer undone things to my other lists later…otherwise I get bogged down in list making rather than doing.)


That’s it!


How do you handle big work days? Or even work periods…to be the most efficient/effective? I would love some tips! )

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