Planning your day and creating a structure with time blocking makes for excellent time management. Multiple tasks and to-do lists can make 24 hours a day feel overwhelming when we’ve got a lot to accomplish. Time blocking helps you stay on top of your goals!
Let’s learn more about managing time with time-blocking strategies to be more productive throughout our day.
What Is Time Blocking?
When you sit down to schedule several hours for a particular task on your calendar, you are essentially blocking out time for that task.
It is also important to eliminate distractions from other projects unrelated to the specific task. It’s like setting aside a room in your house to paint. You shut the door and lock it so nothing else can enter—that way, you can focus on the job at hand without being distracted and get it done faster.
When you block out a specific time on your calendar for a task, you can better understand what it takes to complete it and better learn how to manage your time!
Benefits of Time Blocking
Helps You Avoid Procrastination
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology discovered that setting self-imposed deadlines (rather than leaving tasks until the last minute) can boost performance. When you have the whole day ahead of you, it’s easy to procrastinate, but when you only have two hours to write a report, you’re more likely to stay focused.
Boost Your Productivity
Time blocking not only boosts productivity but also helps you accomplish more in less time. Choosing to focus on strategy development for the next hour means ignoring distractions and fully engaging with the task at hand. As a result, you will be able to improve your quality of work.
Reduce Task-Related Stress
First, let’s start with the fact that this method can reduce stress for you and your team members, especially if you’re working in a small company or running your own business. This makes it easier to see and manage time commitments during the day or week and increases productivity.
As a result, you can avoid overloading your schedule with unnecessary tasks or activities, manage your time, and focus on each task more effectively. Work smarter, not harder.
Time Blocking Variations
“Practice makes perfect,” but when it comes to a technique that will change your daily habits and schedule, it’s important to learn the different variations of this approach to organize your work.
Time blocking involves breaking your day into blocks of time, integrating them into your calendar, and relegating each task to one specific block. An example would be: “Today I will do social media management from 1 to 2 p.m. and continue working on content creation from 4 to 5 p.m.”
By setting fixed times, you will not be interrupted constantly and can concentrate better. Plus, accomplishing something can help boost your mood and confidence.
This productivity technique involves grouping smaller and similar tasks to be completed during a specific block of time. Multitasking, streamlining workflow, and increasing efficiency can be achieved with this approach.
Consider, for example, the following tasks—answering emails, editing pictures, or running errands. Each task in the example is set in a single environment, like a daily routine in the office. If everything remains in one environment, you can devote yourself entirely to the task, and the small units are ticked off bit by bit.
Organizing your tasks based on a specific theme for each day of the week can greatly improve your focus, efficiency, and overall productivity. This technique is where you assign certain types of work to specific days.
For instance, a marketing manager might try to plan the week. They could allocate Mondays to project management, devote Tuesdays and Wednesdays to content creation, and reserve Thursdays and Fridays for meetings.
The Pomodoro Technique is simple and effective for bettering your time management. It involves working for 25 minutes, followed by a five-minute break. After you complete four consecutive periods (or “pomodoros”) of work, take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes. This technique helps you develop a more efficient relationship with time, complete multiple tasks efficiently, and boost productivity with less anxiety.
Setting a fixed deadline for a task is a tried and true time management technique. During the Financially Well Off podcast, Nir Eyal, author of Indistractable, discussed how to master the art of focus and become distraction-proof, saying, “Time boxing is a technique you can use to make time for traction in each of your life domains.”
Avoid These Time Blocking Mistakes
One of the most common mistakes in time planning is overcommitting to too many tasks. To avoid being overwhelmed, you should estimate how long it will take to complete each task and block the whole day if necessary. This way, you can maintain a lower stress level and avoid burnout.
How to Get Started with Time Blocking
Want to do more in less time efficiently? Following these steps can help ease your time-blocking planning and help you reach your time management goals!
Establish Your Priorities and Tasks
List all tasks and activities that are both personal and work-related. Then, prioritize tasks based on how important they are and the urgency in which they need to be done. This makes your to-do list much more manageable.
Review Your Calendar
Assess your calendar to identify commitments and available time slots. Using one platform will help you keep track of all your online calendars. Merge your personal and business calendars from Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook for easy management.
Allocate Dedicated Time Slots
Plan your tasks to be more efficient by scheduling specific time slots on your calendar. Estimate how much time each task may take and consider your energy level, attention span, and team availability. This will optimize your productivity and help you complete your tasks efficiently.
Avoid Overloading Your Schedule
Be realistic with your time. Avoid scheduling all your tasks back to back without accounting for breaks. Leave room for unexpected events or interruptions.
Clarify Your Expectations
It’s important to communicate your availability to anyone whose schedule might be affected. For instance, you should let others know when you’re free and when you’re not. This helps you avoid any confusion and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Distractions Should Be Kept to a Minimum
Improve productivity by turning off notifications, closing unnecessary tabs or apps, and finding a quiet and conducive work environment.
Flexibility, Review, and Adjustment Are Essential
While time blocking provides structure, it’s important to remain adaptable as schedules change.
Toward a Brighter Future
By time blocking, you decide when and what you will work on in a scheduled fashion. Set better boundaries, manage your to-do list, and procrastinate less with this time management technique.
Your workday will be more focused when you block your schedule, and this will ultimately make you more productive and efficient.
This article was originally produced and syndicated by Financially Well Off.