Monthly Archives: January 2022

How to Time Block (Without the Apps)

Do you get overwhelmed by digital task management tools?  

Are you seeking a good mix of structure and flexibility in your day?

Is there an easy, stress-free way to block time for important projects?

When you hear the term Time Blocking, you might picture color-coded calendars filled up with specific activities for the week. Digital apps to block time might also come to mind.

But you really don’t need an app or even a planner to time block. 

In episode 47 of The Incrementalist, you will learn:

1) More busyness does not lead to higher quality or better results. To align your intentions with your actions, you need to have structure in your day. You also want to have buffers for emergencies and margin for the unexpected.

2) Time blocking is an essential tool to protect time for important projects and tasks. You assign a time block – with a start time and an end time – to focus on a specific activity or a batch of similar activities.  

3) The subtle and important difference between time blocking and time boxing.

4) 3 main tips for time blocking

Tip 1: schedule time blocks in 30-minute or 1-hour increments (not in 5-minute increments like Elon Musk)

Tip 2: time block just the day (not the whole week)

Tip 3: incorporate theming and batching in your time blocks (not time blocks for whatever, whenever)

4) You do not need digital apps or even a planner to time block.

5) How I time block the easy, stress-free way on a whiteboard.  

To listen to episode 47, How to Time Block (Without the Apps), click here. If you prefer to read the transcript, go here. Subscribe to The Incrementalist at Apple Podcasts or other apps.

If you’re a visual learner, watch the video on our new YouTube channelThe Incrementalist – A Productivity Show! It includes a demo on how to time block the easy, stress-free way on a whiteboard.

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Dyan Williams is a solo lawyer who practices U.S. immigration law and legal ethics at Dyan Williams Law PLLC. She is also a productivity coach who helps working parents, lawyers, small business owners and other busy people turn their ideas into action, reduce overwhelm, and focus on what truly matters. She is the author of The Incrementalist: A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small Steps.

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When to Quit and When to Persist

How do you know when to give up?

And when to push on with everything you’ve got?  

Must you abandon ship or stay the course?  

Patience and persistence are essential for success. If you give up whenever you face a challenge or an obstacle, you’re bound to fail. But you also need to know when to quit and cut your losses. 

In episode 46 of The Incrementalist, you will learn:

1) The Sunk Cost Fallacy means we prefer to continue the action if we already put time, effort, and money into it, even if the current costs outweigh the benefits. 

2) Commitment bias is to stand by past decisions despite new evidence showing this isn’t the best action. 

3) The Endowment Effect is to ascribe a higher value to things we already own. The disutility of a loss is greater than the utility of a comparable gain. The displeasure in losing something is greater than the pleasure in gaining the same thing.   

4) The story behind Instagram

  • How this microbusiness with 13 employees sold to Facebook for $1 billion
  • Why co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger quit working on the check-in app, Burbn, and pivoted to the photo-sharing app, Instagram
  • The significance of focusing on a unique solution for a specific problem

5) The three curves to watch out for in any major endeavor or project, according to Seth Godin:

  • The Dip
  • The Cul-de-sac
  • The Cliff

6) The three questions to ask when deciding whether to quit or stick with it:

  • Am I in a cul-de-sac, on a cliff, or in the dip?
  • Am I willing to slog through the dip?
  • Why am I doing this thing? (Is it to be the best or for some other reason?)

7) Why you need to practice strategic quitting and set your quitting criteria before you start.

8) The Incrementalist approach is to prioritize what matters, make time for it, and create margin.

9) Sometimes you do need to quit even good things to make space for one great thing.

To listen to episode 46, When to Quit and When to Persist, click here. If you prefer to read the transcript, go here. Subscribe to The Incrementalist at Apple Podcasts or other apps.

If you’re a visual learner, watch the video on our new YouTube channelThe Incrementalist – A Productivity Show!

Sources cited:

  • Seth Godin, The Dip: A Little Book that Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

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Dyan Williams is a solo lawyer who practices U.S. immigration law and legal ethics at Dyan Williams Law PLLC. She is also a productivity coach who helps working parents, lawyers, small business owners and other busy people turn their ideas into action, reduce overwhelm, and focus on what truly matters. She is the author of The Incrementalist: A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small Steps.

SUBSCRIBE           CONTACT