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Running a cleaning company operation means balancing a full calendar of big-picture thinking and small, everyday tasks. So stay on top of it with time blocking.

The internet is full of exciting and innovative ideas for managing and organizing your time. Bullet journals, elaborate planners, and other tools have all made the rounds on Pinterest and Instagram. Each has its devoted following, often full of superfans who proclaim theirs as the only tool that works.

But our philosophy is that the best time management system is the one that works for you.

As a cleaning service owner, you have to manage time for yourself and your cleaning company. Balancing the two can be challenging, especially if your mind is constantly running through everything on your list. So today, we’re sharing another time management method you might consider: Time blocking.

What is time blocking, and how does it work?

Time blocking is a pretty simple concept. Essentially, you treat every item on your to-do list as a “block” or a calendar item. Rather than making a to-do list and cherry-picking your way through it, you “block” time for each task. For example, if you time-block your workday, it might look like this:

  • 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Answer emails.
  • 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. Billing and accounting for the week/month.
  • 11:30 am – 12:00 pm Reply to social media comments and schedule posts for the next week.
  • 12:00 – 1:00 pm Lunch break.
  • 1:00 – 1:15 pm Drive to client’s home.
  • 1:30 – 3:00 pm Clean client’s home.
  • 3:00 – 3:15 pm Drive home.
  • 3:15 – 3:30 pm Change into clean clothes and take a little break.
  • 3:30 – 4:15 p.m. Check inventory and place orders for restocking supplies.
  • 4:15 – 5:00 pm Write a short article for your monthly newsletter.
  • 5:00 – 5:30 pm Answer emails.

Of course, no two days will look the same. You’re probably not going to order supplies every day, and some days will be nonstop cleanings. The point is to plan this schedule.

It’s easier and more efficient to wake up knowing you’ve already blocked off time to order supplies. There’s no need to worry about it all day since you’ve already designated a time for it. Until that time arrives, you can stay focused on your other tasks.

Time blocking is a pretty flexible method. You can use Google Calendar, iCal, a paper planner—whatever works for you. You can use colors or even emojis to code your time blocks. You can block out your day the night before. You can take 30 minutes on Friday afternoon to block out the entire next week.

Tweak the system, so it works for you.

How will time blocking benefit my cleaning company operation?

Time blocking can be an excellent tool for just about anyone. But there are a few specific benefits for cleaning company owners:

  • Time blocking improves your focus. We’ve all heard that multitasking and constant task-switching are bad for productivity. This is because our brains don’t handle jumping from task to task as quickly as we’d like to think. And studies have shown that multitasking is a myth. Time blocking keeps you focused on a single task for longer, so you can truly concentrate. And you’ll lose less time to the constant back-and-forth between email, billing, and your phone.
  • Time blocking reduces decision fatigue. If you have a full to-do list, you constantly think through all the elements. “I need to order new mops today! Should I do that now? Oh, I should answer this email first. But what if I forget? Okay, let me place the order right now. Oh, wait, do we also need paper products? I don’t have time to check the supply closet right now!” Making a new decision every few minutes about what you’re going to do next can be exhausting. Time blocking saves you from this mental merry-go-round by making those decisions ahead of time. There’s no more deciding what’s next at the moment because you know you’re dedicating the next hour to customer calls.
  • Time blocking makes your mind more peaceful. Without all that decision fatigue and the constant worry about forgetting something, you can relax. Running a cleaning company is not for the faint of heart, but you can certainly reduce stress. Time blocking gives your brain a break from anxiety and lets you enjoy the fun of entrepreneurship.

Time blocking tips for cleaning company owners

If you’re just getting started with time blocking, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Start with set appointments. Some blocks are less time-sensitive than others. For example, you can check your cleaning company’s Facebook page at noon or 5:00 pm. But scheduled cleanings, doctor’s appointments, and meetings are usually locked in. So, add those set appointments to your calendar first to block the rest of your time around them. It’s a real pain to spend 25 minutes crafting the perfect week—and then realize you forgot your dentist appointment.
  • Don’t forget “transition” tasks. If it takes 15 minutes to drive to your client’s house or your child’s soccer practice, block that time. Otherwise, you can find yourself running behind.
  • Consider a time-tracking software like Toggl. When you start time blocking, you may struggle initially, not knowing exactly how long specific tasks will take. A time-tracking tool can help you better understand how much time you need. Plus, you gain a high-level understanding of where your time goes!

Ultimately, the best time management tool is the one that works for you, your cleaning company operation, and your personality.

If you’re already a fan of time blocking, share your tips below.