When done right, this secret technique can help team members keep distractions at bay and focus on the task at hand. As a leader, here’s what you need to know to keep their schedules in tip-top shape.

Are you receiving our weekly Teams Beat newsletter? For the teams latest news, insight and trends, subscribe here. 

Great time management is one of the most essential skills leaders can develop. In fact, being so good at time management that you can pass on your knowledge to your team members may very well be one of the most important skills of all. 

If we all have the same amount of hours in a day, why are some of us more productive than others? In this article, I’m going to let you in on a secret weapon to increase your productivity levels on your team: time-blocking. Only then can we run our teams on a more efficient and productive level.

What is time-blocking?

Firstly, let’s give you a proper introduction into what time-blocking is. Time-blocking is when you block off a spot or a chunk of time on your calendar to work on a single task.

When doing this, you are blocking off your time (and your mind) from other projects that you may be typically distracted by. By time-blocking, you eliminate anything that demands your attention outside of the allocated task.

Think of time-blocking as your to-do list, but instead of just telling you what you’re going to do, it also tells you what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it. If you use this system to block your team’s time, you’ll be able to track their productivity and timing more accurately.

How does it work?

As you know already, every one of your team members works differently. This is why the first step to effective time-blocking is identifying your team’s productivity times. You can do this by monitoring their current regimes and work schedule to take note of how and when they complete tasks.

Without this knowledge, we wouldn’t be able to accurately time-block. Once you’ve completed this first key step, you can now begin time-blocking to plan your team’s schedules with more ease and effectiveness.

Then, you can assign time blocks to each team member for each project they’re currently working on. Adding these blocks as recurring tasks in your team’s schedule is simple — even with a basic tool like Google Calendar.

Importance and urgency

When we talk about time management, we like to use what’s commonly referred to as the “time management matrix.” Others refer to it as the “quadrants.” Whatever you call it, Stephen Covey, the author behind The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, pioneered what’s truly one of the greatest tools when it comes to time management.

You can make your time-blocking technique even more effective when you use the following quadrant systems to prioritize your activities and projects.

1. The first quadrant: Firefighting

The first quadrant is what we refer to as “firefighting.” It represents the activities that are time-sensitive and important to you. These activities can be classified as the following:

  • Deadline-driven tasks
  • Important daily responsibilities
  • Demanding obstacles
  • Last-minute financing
  • Last-minute repairs
  • Paying past-due bills
  • Time-sensitive appointments
  • Crisis management

2. The second quadrant: Quality time

The second quadrant is what we like to refer to as “quality time.” Even though these activities are just as important as those in the first quadrant, they don’t have to be completed immediately.

As a result, they can be planned for when you can give proper attention to them. These activities can be classified as the following:

  • Preparation and planning
  • Crisis prevention
  • Time-sensitive activities
  • Showings, offers and appointments
  • Marketing
  • Team management
  • Skill development
  • Family time
  • Things done for loved ones
  • Lead generation

3. The third quadrant: Deception and distraction

The third quadrant contains what we call “deception and distraction.” These activities are tasks we have deceived ourselves into believing are more important than they are, and we’ve incorrectly categorized them into the first quadrant.

We often get deceived into believing that these activities are important simply because they are urgent. Here are a few things that fall into this category:

  • Interruptions
  • Minor pressing tasks
  • Some phone calls
  • Most meetings
  • Some mail
  • Some salespeople
  • Some repairs and cleanup

4. The fourth quadrant: Time-wasting

Lastly, the fourth quadrant is what we call “time-wasting.” Some tasks are hard to place. For example, if you are treating yourself to true recreation and relaxation (or resting and renewing yourself), you are in “quality time.” 

If the activity you are engaging in really means that you are avoiding a problem and not finding the solution, you are time-wastingTasks in the fourth quadrant include:

  • Busy work
  • Time-wasters
  • Junk mail
  • Some phone calls
  • Surfing the internet
  • Playing games

If you implement time-blocking into your team’s schedule from the start, you will have already pivoted yourself beyond most teams capabilities. We ensure we have clear goals and understand our key performance indicators with team members to not only time-block, but to model a schedule built for performance.

Kathleen Black is the CEO of Kathleen Black Coaching and Consulting in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. Connect with her on Instagram at @kathleenblackcoaching or through her website ItTakesa.Team.

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription