To be your most productive self, scheduling and planning out your days is a hugely important part. With work, it can be next to impossible to control your schedule and fit everything necessary into your workday. Scheduling meetings, appointments, and your regular work all into eight hours a day can feel impossible, but with some good time management it can all work out. Time management can be a difficult talent to master, but there are a few tools that can make it easier.
To-do lists can be useful, but there are more organized and efficient ways to keep track of what needs to be done. One useful time management practice is time blocking, a technique used by hundreds of business owners to organize their day and keep track of what needs to be done. Let’s dive into what time blocking is and why we’re convinced that you need to start using it!
What Is Time Blocking?
Time blocking is a time management technique that divides your day up into blocks of time. This involves planning out every hour of your day into separate blocks of time. Then you’ll dedicate specific ‘blocks’ specific tasks. This means that instead of leaving your day open to an entire list of tasks, you’ll know that your day is split up to get each one done in a specific amount of time.
This may sound like your calendar will be a jumbled, chaotic mess, but if done right, time blocking can be efficient and help you become more organized. To really get the most out of time blocking, it’s key to prioritize your task list. At the start of the week make a list of what’s most crucial for you to accomplish this week above all else. At the end of each day take stock of if you were able to complete your most important tasks.
This method is perfect for procrastinators who find themselves taking hours on one project. By prioritizing tasks and then completing them before moving onto the next one you’ll know what’s next. No more spending five minutes quickly checking social media before moving onto your next project.
Time blocking is fairly easy to get started with. Make a list of what you need to get done and then try to schedule blocks of time for you to complete each task. Make sure that you allow enough time to complete each project. It is important to hold yourself accountable for completing the project and getting it done within the specific time length.
Different Time Blocking Methods
Before getting started with time blocking, you need to decide which method you want to use. There are different variations of time blocking that you can use to get started. Time blocking is broken up into three variations: day theming, task batching, and time boxing. These methods are fairly self-explanatory, with each method being different than the other.
Time blocking is what we talked about above, where your day is broken up into different blocks and you have different tasks assigned to each time block. But time blocking has close relatives that are very similar to time blocking and that some people find easier to incorporate into their routine than time blocking specifically.
Task batching is very similar to time blocking, the only difference being that you’ll group a bunch of similar tasks to accomplish them all in one block at once. This makes it so that you’ll complete similar projects faster altogether.
If you’re the type who has a lot on your plate, then you may want to do day theming instead. Day theming is when you assign each day to one specific area of work. Let’s say that you work in a variety of different areas that all require you to be present. If you’re a busy entrepreneur, you can break your days up and assign them to different areas of work. For instance, Monday might be assigned to ‘Marketing’ and Tuesday may be assigned to ‘Customer Support’. This makes it easy to know what each day means before you start it!
Time Blocking vs Time Boxing
Time blocking and time boxing are often mixed up since the concept is so similar. You’re still assigning blocks of time to specific tasks, but the process is a bit different. Time blocking has you set aside a certain amount of time to work on a project, while time boxing puts a limit on how much time you spend on a certain task. While time blocking says that you’ll designate a certain amount of time to a project, time boxing says that you’ll complete a project in a specific amount of time. This encourages you to work efficiently and says you know you only have a specific amount of time to complete a project.
How to Get Started with Time Blocking: The Easy Way
Getting started with time blocking isn’t difficult! You’ll want to start with listing out your high-priority tasks. Whatever is highest on your list will be what absolutely makes it into your schedule and gets taken care of during the week. This is why it’s important that you make sure what you need to have accomplished at the end of the week is at the top of your priority list.
Next, start with breaking your day up into blocks, not including work. Start easy with only doing tasks outside of work so that you’ll have more room in your schedule. Schedule out when you’ll get up, breakfast, and the rest of your day into blocks. Try to include important areas of your life into your blocks; family, friends, and exercise.
However, make sure that you also schedule in the things that may seem shallow. If you know that you’ll check Twitter during the day at some point, it’s better to have it written down and a set time for it. This way you won’t get distracted and end up scrolling when you’re supposed to be doing important tasks. It’s important to include everything in your day.
Now that you have everything jotted down with time blocks assigned to all your tasks, it’s time to put your time blocking to the test. Write out a to-do list of what you have to include in your day and make sure that it’s all fitted into your schedule. If it works then you can continue to use a similar template, but you may have to adjust it if not. Although you may have to do some trial and error before getting the final result, the amazing results of time blocking are worth it!
Time Blocking for Productivity at Work
Now that you’ve learned how to do time block journaling, the easy way. It’s time to put it to work for you in the workplace. The same methods and techniques that you used for learning to do time block journaling for your personal life can be used at work. Begin each day with a fresh list of what needs to be done and then set aside blocks of time for each task. This will help keep you focused throughout the day. You’ll be amazed at how much more you will get done.