Hi folks, It’s Sam here.
After releasing our task & time system, a few of you have asked me to talk about how I time block and what it actually is. Again, time blocking isn’t my brainchild; it’s a widely adopted method among productivity gurus and high-achievers, and for good reason.
I’ve harnessed time blocking alongside other techniques to improve my daily productivity and here are some key takeaways from this article for you to quickly skim through.
- Time blocking is the practice of assigning specific blocks of time to your tasks, transforming your to-do list into an organized schedule.
- Prioritize tasks to capitalize on your peak productivity hours, ensuring high-priority tasks get the focus they deserve.
- Incorporate flexibility within your blocks to handle the inevitable disruptions and task overflows.
- Use digital tools like Google Calendar for a visual layout of your day or a physical daily calendar like our task & time system.
- Don’t forget to include buffer times between blocks to accommodate for transitions and unexpected tasks.
- Expect improved focus, accountability, and clarity in your daily routine, turning chaotic days into structured, productive ones.
1/ What is Time Blocking?
Imagine crafting a masterpiece daily schedule where each group of tasks fits snugly into a designated time slot. That’s time blocking in a nutshell. It’s a time management method that prompts you to divide your day into blocks of time. Each block is reserved for accomplishing a specific task or group of tasks. The reasons why it makes your day more efficient are mainly:
- Eliminates Decision Fatigue: With your tasks scheduled ahead of time, you spend less mental energy deciding what to do next. This preserves cognitive resources for the tasks themselves.
- Reduces Context Switching: By dedicating blocks of time to related tasks, you minimize the frequency of switching between different types of work, which can be mentally taxing and time-consuming.
- Prioritizes Your Day: Time blocking forces you to prioritize tasks because you can only fit so many blocks into your day. This ensures that important tasks are not overshadowed by urgent but less important ones.
- Keeps You Focused: Knowing you have a limited amount of time to work on a task creates a sense of urgency, which can help you stay focused and avoid procrastination.
- Tracks Your Time: By allocating blocks of time to tasks, you can more easily track where your time goes, which is essential for improving your time management skills.
2/ How I Use Time Blocking
I generally time block at the start of my day. I first highlight all the working periods that I have in a single day, which makes me aware of the time I have in my day to do work. Each block varies in length, from 30 minutes to several hours, depending on the task’s complexity.
Here’s my twist: I prioritize!
The morning blocks are important – reserved for my most demanding tasks. This is when my energy peaks, and I can tackle the heavy tasks with all my energy. Afternoons? They’re perfect for meetings and admin work. And as for the dreaded inbox? It gets its own block, so it doesn’t spill over and soak up the day.
I don’t just plan work, though. Time Blocks for lunch, a quick walk, and even downtime are sacred. This isn’t just about getting stuff done; it’s about balance.
3/ Tips for Time Blocking Mastery
A/ Prioritize Ruthlessly
Start with the big tasks – the tasks that move the needle. Give them the prime slots in your day. Everything else can wait.
B/ Embrace Flexibility
Some days, the blocks fall apart – and that’s okay! Adjust, shuffle, and keep moving. The blocks are your strategy, not your master.
C/ Keep it Real
Be realistic about how much time each task takes. Underestimate your time, and you’ll be playing catch-up; overestimate, and you’re wasting precious time.
D/ Block Buffer Times
Always, always add buffer blocks. These are small time pockets for overflows, surprises, or just to catch your breath.
4/ Time blocking & Tools
For those who are looking for a digital solution, Notion is one of the best tools you can use to schedule your day. Google Calendar can work too!
For those who are old school like me and love tactility, use a daily planner and highlight the periods that you are time blocking and the purpose of that block. You can also use our daily task and time cards which I specifically designed for time blocking.
5/ The Power of Time Blocking
Why does it work? Because it brings order to chaos. Time blocking compels you to consider your time as finite and to make intentional choices about how you spend it. It can turn an overwhelming list of to-dos into a structured, attainable plan.
The Big Wins?
- Focus: When it’s time to work, you work on just one thing. Eliminate multitasking.
- Accountability: You said you’d do it, and you’ve got the block to prove it.
- Clarity: You see your day’s terrain. No guesswork on where to start or what’s next.
6/ Real Talk: Results
After embedding Time blocking into my routine, the change is stark. I’m not just doing more; I’m doing what matters. And at day’s end, I can see where my time went – it’s all there, in colourful blocks, a testament to a day well-spent.
Give Time Blocking a whirl, and you might just find yourself doing the best work of your life. And hey, if you need some guidance, our community is buzzing with block-building enthusiasts.
We’re all about that productive life at MDS, so for more productivity content, tap into our productivity newsletter.
Got questions? I’m just a message away on our socials (IG: @minimal.desksetups).