“It’s not always that we need to do more but rather that we need to focus on less.” - Nathan W. Morris
For some people, the main goal of keeping a planner or schedule is simply to make sure everything is written down on paper and therefore not forgotten. A list is made, meetings and appointments are scheduled, and the items are checked off one by one. Admittedly that’s not a bad place to start!
However, if this isn’t your first rodeo, or if you are one of the millions of people wondering how to stop time and get more hours in the day, let us introduce you to the concept of time blocking.
What is Time Blocking?
Time blocking is a time management method that asks you to focus on each task on your list for a dedicated period. Instead of having an open-ended to-do list that you attempt to tackle aimlessly each day, time blocking forces you to stick to a schedule you set for yourself based on priorities and how long you think it will take you to accomplish each task.
How to Time Block Effectively
To use time blocking successfully, you should set time at the beginning of each week and review the tasks and projects you need to accomplish. From here, you will set a specific block of time for each task or group of tasks. You may find it helpful to set timers to help you stick to your schedule and don’t forget to schedule breaks too!
You will review your schedule again at the end of each day to evaluate what you accomplished and shift anything needed in the coming days.
The Self-Care Planner: Daily Edition is a great tool to use when you are organizing your day with time blocking. Each daily layout includes an area for tasks and an hourly schedule. Start planning your day by writing all of the tasks you need to accomplish under you to-do list and then decide how much time you will need to take to accomplish each one. From there, all you need to do is decide how you want to prioritize and organize your tasks throughout your day, using your hourly schedule.
Time Blocking Variations
There are a few different variations of time blocking that you can use to organize your time and the tasks you need to accomplish.
Task batching is the method of grouping a bunch of smaller tasks into one block of time. Grouping similar, smaller tasks allows you to focus more on larger items throughout the day by eliminating interruptions. An example of this is dedicating two 30-minute blocks of time to answering your emails. You’ll find this is more efficient than stopping what you are working on each time a new email comes through to your inbox.
Day theming is another time blocking tool people find to be effective. Using this concept, you will pick a general theme for the things you will accomplish each day. For example, if you are a writer, you may choose one day to research all of your assignments for the week, one day to write, and one day to edit. You may find it easier to concentrate on the work you are doing because you are having to mentally switch gears less frequently.
Why is time blocking effective?
Time blocking is so effective for people because it allows them to actually focus. It eliminates the habit of multitasking which ultimately lends itself to lower quality work. Time blocking allows you to ignore distractions and other tasks because you already know when you are going to accomplish them.
The coolest part about this method is if you practice focusing on one topic or task at a time your brain gets better at it! This method not only allows for you to focus more on important work but it makes the “surface level work” like answering emails or doing paperwork more efficient.
Looking for More? Check out our How to Plan a Morning Routine for Personal Success blog for more productivity tips.