Time blocking is my new to-do list. Don’t get me wrong, a simple to-do list is still great for compiling everything that needs to get done. However, I’m already overwhelmed by the time I write down bullet ten! I’m aware of what to do, but not when.
Time blocking is a time management method that schedules each part of your day. It’s an instant productivity booster because no hour will go unused. I like to start by identifying and ranking my priorities and estimate the amount of time each may take. While doing this, I also take into account what may take more brainpower. I am more productive in the morning, so I flag tasks complex tasks for the morning.
Once I know my priorities and needs, I start blocking off time. This may seem overly structured or super type A, but it works. Work gets done.
Time blocking boosts productivity. Here’s why I time block my schedule and you should:
- Planning is intentional: The entire concept of planning and preparation relies on being intentional. Setting up a specified time for each task only adds to it. Go into your day with a plan of what and when and use the time to go about the ‘how’.
- It’s realistic: My plain jane notepad to-do list was expansive. I wrote down every minute tasks that I wanted to achieve. This left me with an unrealistic plan for the day – you’re not getting through 25 items in an 8 hour day. Time blocking forces you to categorize and prioritize the day. Don’t forget to be realistic about how long a task may take.
- You can say “no”: When you have a booked schedule, it’s easier to say no to additional tasks and activities. If you’re at work, your colleagues will also be able to see the busy time slots and move to your free time. Not only can you say no, but you have a reason. You’re working towards a goal right now.
- Productivity increases: No longer are the days of writing multiple to-do list which take up time to write on their own. With time blocking, we have set time to do the work. Time blocking allows us to focus on completing our tasks in their allotted time. Don’t fret if it’s not 100% complete in the timeframe, be proud that you’re steps closer to checking off that list.
Ready to start time blocking? Here are my quick tips to getting it right the first time:
- Maximize your best hours: If you’re a morning person like me, you wake up ready to work. I time block my top priorities and more complex projects at the beginning of the day and lighter work for the afternoon. Figure out when you work best to maximize your productivity.
- Breaks are necessary: Don’t time block back to back. Give yourself time to breathe, reflect, and step away from the tasks. Taking breaks helps to better your work because you get time to relax your brain. Be flexible and recharge.
- Nix the perfectionism: Underestimating the time needed for a task, distractions, and random needs will pop up. It’s inevitable. We can plan, plan, plan some more, but we aren’t always in control. Take a step back and adjust your schedule, maybe even re-prioritize. Most of all, don’t give up. Jump right back in and tackle your day.
How are you increasing your productivity? Let me know in the comments below.