Time blocking forces us to think more critically about the time we spend and how we spend it.
Time blocking breaks your time down into discrete “blocks” or set increments wherein you’ll accomplish specific tasks. This forces you to prioritize and fill up free time with pre-commitments and a plan of action.
Here are some time blocking tips:
- Commit to single-tasking: Multitasking doesn’t seem to work without diminishing the quality of your work (studies even cite a 40% decrease in productivity). For each given time block, set one task. Ex., during your 30-minute “finish marketing proposal” task, don’t get distracted by emails, phone calls, or other unrelated tasks.
- Decide on your increments: Time blocking can work no matter what kind of increments you use. Take billionaire Elon Musk, who blocks his days into 5-minute intervals (might be too intense for beginners).
- Decide which parts of your day to time block: For most people, it helps to time block the gritty part of your day between 10 am and 4 pm, after your morning routine and before you’re wrapping up. Some people find it best to block their personal lives too.
- Document it: Choose whether you want to go old school with a planner or new age with digital. If you go digital, you can set alarms at regular intervals to know when to move to your next task.
- Give yourself some flexibility: If you’re using 30-minute time intervals, allow yourself 5 minutes in between. The extra time will enable you to wrap up whatever task you are completing or will need to finish later.
- Block time for breaks: Block time for breaks like you would block any other to-dos. Avoid burnout!!!
- Schedule time for catching up: Sometimes, unexpected tasks will appear, or some tasks will slip through the cracks. Allow yourself a block of time or even a day to do the remaining or missed tasks.
With time blocking, when it comes time to do the task, you don’t have to think, plan, or decide, you only have to DO!