Time blocking is becoming more and more popular as a way for people to manage their time when life gets busy. This allows you to stay on track and keep yourself moving forward. It is also helpful in identifying areas where we are wasting our time and helps us to get clear on how we can make our days as efficient as possible. Time blocking schedules out your entire day including working hours and personal hours. Below we will take you through tips to help you start incorporating this beneficial productivity hack into your daily routine.
Take the time - It's going to take a little bit of your time and energy to set yourself up for success with time blocking, but it is worth it. Set up a time during your morning before you start your day or at the end of your day where you go through your to-dos and schedule in the time you will spend doing each one. It's important to understand that your to-do list tells you what you're going to do and your time blocking schedule tells you when you're going to do it.
Be realistic - It can sometimes be hard to understand how much we can actually get done in one day because of the variance in how long it takes us to complete different tasks. Luckily with time blocking, the more you do it the more you will understand how much time you will need to allocate yourself to do different tasks. To start off air on the side of caution, we have a tendency to overload ourselves with work and then we feel disappointed in ourselves when we don't cross everything off our list. Start small and work your way up, give yourself more time for one task then you think you may need, and then record how long it took so you can accurately schedule yourself next time.
Work your priorities in with your natural rhythm - We all naturally have different productivity peaks throughout the day. Some people are super productive in the morning and some are more productive in the afternoon or night. Understanding where you fall on that schedule will help you allocate your time best. Look at your list of to-dos and identify what your top priorities are and schedule those during the time of day where you are your most productive. This increases the chances of crossing those off your list as complete.
Schedule breaks and buffers - If you time block your day with tasks back to back with no breaks or time for switching gears you may be being a tad over-optimistic with your time. Schedule a buffer after each task to give yourself time to switch gears, pull up necessary documents, etc. Also don't forget to schedule in lunch and breaks, they are just as important to your productivity as time blocking itself.
Expect Delays - It is normal to have things pop up in work and life that will deter us from our time blocked schedule. In order to avoid this its helpful to let your coworkers or at this time of working from home your family what your schedule for the day will look like. This way if they are aware of your time and what you would like to accomplish in the day they will be less likely to interrupt.
Schedule an overflow day - This is helpful because even when we let others know our schedule it's just inevitable in life that things will pop up. This also relieves any stress of not crossing off everything on your to-do list every day. Schedule this day as a day to get done everything that you didn't get to.
Practice - The thing with time blocking is that we almost will never get it perfect. It's a practice just like meditation or yoga, if you keep working at it you will improve but it's not going to be perfect every time. Don't get discouraged and think " this doesn't work for me", it's not supposed to "work" perfectly 100% of the time, it's more so a tool to help us plan and execute our day to be the most efficient as possible.
Comment your best time blocking tips below!
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