Time blocking could be the strategy you’ve been waiting for!
If you’re tired of going through your day with little purpose or direction – or are simply tired of wasting time during the workday.
It can help you get more done, reduce overwhelm and get you into the habit of clearing out time for the things that really matter…and who doesn’t want that?
But first, the whole concept of time blocking might be new to you.
If so, let’s take a look at what it actually is, and benefits you could experience by using it.
What is Time Blocking?
At its core, time blocking is simply scheduling in set times for different tasks and activities.
It’s not a sort of laisse-faire “Monday to Friday are workdays” type of schedule, but rather a very intentional integration of your to-do list with your calendar.
Sometimes the words “time blocking” and “batching” are used interchangeably, however, they’re actually two quite different things:
Batching means doing a set of related tasks all in one sitting.
Time blocking means optimizing your entire schedule so you always know exactly when different activities will happen.
Having trouble visualizing what I’m talking about?
Here’s a sample day organized using time blocking:
You may notice this is different than a typical calendar, where you would enter specific appointment times as they are scheduled (e.g., dentist appointment at 2:15 pm).
Rather time blocking happens BEFORE appointments are made. You block off certain times you’ve allotted for different categories of tasks, events, or responsibilities.
While I’ve just included a few possible activities in the calendar above, there are some others you may want to consider blocking in throughout your week or month:
- Personal appointments: Doctor or dentist appointments, volunteering at your child’s school, taking your pet to the vet to get shots, etc.
- Administrative office work: Filing, checking email, returning phone calls, etc.
- The commute to and from work: If you have to travel to your office, make sure to build this into your day.
- Client work: Working on projects, doing consultations, etc.
- Writing blog posts or doing social media work
- Breaks: Be sure to build in set-times for lunch breaks and time to stretch your legs.
- Exercise: I find if I don’t block this in, it just doesn’t happen!
While the example above only blocks off time during the workday, you can certainly use time blocking for your entire day…even after you’ve left the office.
And if you want to get REALLY crazy, use Elon Musk’s time blocking strategy.
He plans out his schedule in 5-minute blocks (yes, 5-minute!), from the time he wakes up until the time he goes to bed.And if you want to get REALLY crazy, use Elon Musk’s time blocking strategy. He plans out his schedule in 5-minute blocks (yes, 5-minute!), from the time he wakes up until the time he goes to bed.Click To Tweet
Mind you – he also works up to 100 hours each week, has 5 young kids, and is CEO of not one, but TWO, multi-billion-dollar companies.
So I can see why he might need to be a bit more scheduled than the rest of us!
3 Time Blocking Benefits
Not sure time blocking is right for you? The following are 3 benefits you could be missing out on.
Benefit 1: It Helps You Get Your Work done in The Allotted Time.
Have you ever noticed that when you have 3 hours to complete a task, that task tends to take the full 3 hours?
This is known as Parkinson’s Law which says that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.
If you know it’s possible for you to get a certain task (for example, writing a blog post) done in 30 minutes. Block in 30 minutes for writing that post – no more, and no less.
This is known as Parkinson’s Law which says that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. If you know it’s possible for you to get a certain task (for example, writing a blog post) done in 30 minutes. Block in 30 minutes for writing that post – no more, and no less.Click To Tweet
This will improve your time management, while also boosting your productivity.
Benefit 2: It Gives You An Excuse to Say No.
If you struggle with saying no to certain people or things, time blocking will be your new best friend!
Use a digital calendar like Google Calendar to block out your time, and then say a hearty “No!” when people ask you to do something you haven’t blocked in.
While it’s always nice to do favors for friends or colleagues, you also can’t let those favors eat away at a time when you should be working!
Benefit 3: It Will Decreases Your Stress.
At first, it may seem like scheduling in every moment of your day would actually add more stress: but I find it to be just the opposite.
When I know exactly what to expect throughout the day, my focus stays clear, I get more done, and I don’t have that constant nagging worry that I’m forgetting something.
And hey – there’s also nothing wrong with being spontaneous sometimes!
You’re not a prisoner to your calendar, and if you want to break out of your routine sometimes, I promise I won’t tell anyone 😉
If you’re ready to stop wasting time and want to boost your productivity, give calendar blocking a try.
I promise, once you try it you’ll never go back!
Need more help with increasing your productivity? Check out my post, 7 Productive Habits You Can Learn From Successful Entrepreneurs.
Are you going to try time blocking? Let me know in the comments below!
UPDATED on February 14, 2022