We’ve all had the experience of gazing at our to-do lists and feeling terror set in. “How am I going to finish everything?” we begin to wonder. “There isn’t enough time in a day to get everything done!”
Once we move past the panic phase, we then begin to think about how we can prioritize our tasks and stay organized without losing our sanity in the process.
This is where time blocking comes is important to maintain productivity.Amber Drake
What is Time Blocking?
Time blocking is a technique to help you manage your time and be more efficient, effective, and productive.
It’s a method for prioritizing work and achieving goals in a more effective manner. Being deliberate about how you schedule and use your time is what time blocking entails. Time blocking, rather than being reactive throughout the day and week, requires the person to think and prepare ahead for the following week.
For the coming week, we all have different priorities. Time blocking entails setting aside some time to determine one’s priorities and scheduling time to focus on them properly.
Tasks that need to get done may include:
- Writing blog posts and website content
- Social media marketing (PS. Hootsuite can help with this).
- Marketing efforts
- Meeting with clients or your team
- Responding to emails
All of these are critical and necessary tasks, and when you use the time blocking method, you set out a specific day and time for each one.
How Time Blocking Works
Monday through Friday:
- 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m: Writing blog posts
- 10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Posting on social media– or posting ahead if you have a scheduler.
- 11:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. Responding to emails
- 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Schedule your meetings for this time period if possible
- 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Any outstanding tasks
While this is an oversimplified example, it illustrates the basic concept of time blocking. You might decide to prioritize certain tasks over others and commit more time to them. This timetable may change or remain the same from week to week.
The aim is to make a list of your priorities, goals, and objectives for the following week and carve out time to work on them. Of course, things pop up and this may be altered a bit, but overall, it can help increase productivity even if it’s a flexible schedule.
How Does Time Blocking Make You More Productive?
Time blocking is effective because it’s designed for focus and efficiency.
You are protecting yourself against distraction and expanding your ability to focus by planning out your day.
When you arrange a block of time to work on a particular project or activity, you are focusing your mental energies on that one thing rather than spreading them across multiple projects, which makes you more productive. You’ll be able to focus better and go deeper into your task. Also, whenever you have the opportunity, turn off your social media to avoid being distracted.
It also helps you check off tasks more efficiently.
Multitasking May Hinder Productivity
Multitasking may be our go-to approach, but it’s actually hindering our productivity efforts by not allowing us to focus on the task at hand fully.
When you switch tasks frequently, your day gets disorganized, and you may feel nervous, frustrated, or anxious. You can react to emails at the start and end of the day, schedule all phone calls after lunch, and set aside two hours of uninterrupted time for your tasks using time blocking. This allows your brain to focus more intently on one job rather than being distracted by others.
How to Begin Incorporating Time Blocking
This may be a novel thought for some. It might be difficult to change the way we do things after being accustomed to doing them one way for a long period.
Set a date for when you will start time blocking and commit to that date. Choose a day before the next week starts where you can sit down and think through the priorities of the following week. Once you have thought through the week with the associated tasks, responsibilities, and priorities, that’s when you can start blocking.
Identify the best days and periods of times for those tasks and write it down.
Adjust if You Need To
You’ll put your week plan into action and see what works and what needs to be tweaked now that you’ve done your best to plan out your week and set out time for your priorities.
You may discover that you’ve done an excellent job up front and that the time blocks are ideal for your week. Often, you’ll discover that you’ve spent too much time on one task and not enough on others. That’s good; time blocking is a work in progress, and as you apply it, you’ll adjust the schedule and time blocks as you go. You’ll eventually find the best time-blocking schedule for you if you keep doing this.
Stay Patient with Yourself
You can begin time blocking right now and begin to reap the benefits quickly. Yet, for the majority of our lives, we have gone about time management in a certain way… in our own way that we have become accustomed.
It may take some time to become used to a new way of managing our time and priorities during the week. It’s similar to breaking a bad habit and forming a new one. When we form new habits, it takes time for the new habit to feel as natural as the old one did.
Take Note of Advantages
Keep a record of how time blocking is helping you.
- You may find that the quality of your work has improved dramatically.
- You may experience less stress and anxiety.
- You may feel less rushed or pressured throughout the day.
- You may find that you are sleeping better at night with a better sense of accomplishment.
How do you plan to utilize time blocking in your daily life? Share your thoughts in the comments below!