I’ve been using time blocking for almost 20 years now. I just didn’t know that it had a name. I was first introduced to this type of time management by my then boss back in the late 90’s. He taught me how to create a “dream week” schedule by establishing blocks of time to work on every aspect of my life. I’ve been doing it ever since.
So what exactly is time blocking? It’s essentially organizing your day into blocks of time rather than flitting from one task to another on your to-do-list.
Let’s take a closer look at how it works.
When using time blocking, you break your day down into blocks of time to complete specific tasks. For example, you may have been wanting to do some planning for the next fiscal year but you’re so busy with day to day operations that it doesn’t ever get done. What you would do is block out a designated time frame solely dedicated to planning. This can be set for 30 minutes to an hour each day or take a single day and block out 4 or more hours to focus on it. (I recommend using the Pomodoro Technique for time blocks an hour or longer.) Take large tasks and break them down into smaller ones. During that time block you’ll focus solely on the task at hand.
It is important to prioritize your time blocks. Depending on the type of task you plan to work on during each block, you’ll want to schedule it during a time frame when you have the appropriate amount of energy. For example, if you tend to be low on energy in the afternoons right after lunch that would be a good time to block out for returning phone calls and answering emails. In contrast, if you have the most focus capacity in the mornings between 9 am and 11 am, you would schedule the most challenging tasks for that time block while you’re fresh.
You also want to schedule time blocks for personal development and leisure time. Time blocking isn’t just for work. Investing in yourself should also be a priority. By using this scheduling technique you can ensure that you don’t get sacrificed in the pursuit of productivity. Just like our electronic devices need recharging after regular use, we too need time to recharge. Commit to blocking time for fun, adventure and education.
I understand it may be a bit overwhelming to think about sitting down to plan out your whole week into time blocks. You don’t have to incorporate this technique all at once. Start with just one time block each day and grow from there. I’m confident that once you start and see its benefits, you’ll build more and more time blocks into your daily and weekly schedule.
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