Time Blocking 101: Get Better at Time Management
Life can get overwhelming when juggling multiple responsibilities. Finding a balance between work, personal life, and important tasks can be challenging.
I’ve been there – there was a time when I was working two jobs, pursuing a PhD, and attempting to write a dissertation. However, amidst the chaos, I used a powerful tool that not only kept me sane but also helped me stay on top of my commitments.
Now, this is a tool that I still use to this day in order to lead a productive and an intentional life, and I get a lot of questions about it when I share about it on Instagram.
It’s called Time Blocking, and today, I’m excited to share the basics of this technique with you.
Whether you’re already familiar with time blocking or just starting, this blog will provide valuable insights to lead a more productive and intentional life. I’m also going to cover a couple mistakes that people make when they time block, so keep reading.
What is Time Blocking?
Time blocking is a simple yet effective time management technique. It involves transferring your to-do list into your calendar. Rather than just listing tasks without a clear schedule, you assign specific time slots for each activity.
Ask yourself, “When am I actually going to get this done?”
This method helps you gain a realistic view of your available time and enables you to allocate it efficiently.
The Power of Estimation:
One of the most significant advantages of time blocking is that it forces you to estimate the time required for each task. Unlike a traditional to-do list, where you might be uncertain about the actual time needed, time blocking encourages you to set realistic expectations.
Maybe you have a list of 50 tiny tasks that in total would take you three hours to complete. But more often than not, what I see with our clients is they have a to-do list, and they’re expecting themselves to accomplish it completely in one week… Yet they don’t actually have an accurate estimate of how long each task takes.
By estimating task durations, you develop a more compassionate approach towards yourself, leading to increased productivity. And we’re all about compassion here.
Step 1: Dump your to do list onto a piece of paper.
Step 2: Input those tasks into your calendar for the week.
Now here is a way to get extra fancy with this process…
To make time blocking even more effective, consider creating a “calendar skeleton” as your daily routine. This skeleton includes recurring events that are part of your daily life, such as sleep and regular breaks. Additionally, identify when you’re most productive and allocate focused work sessions during those times.
For example, if you are typically productive from 9 AM to Noon on Mondays and prefer meetings on Thursdays from 3 PM to 5 PM, block these times accordingly.
Note: You do not need to add specific tasks into this calendar skeleton, that is what you will do each week. This is simply to have your most ideal calendar work hours, breaks, etc blocked in your calendar continuously.
For example, let’s say that someone asks you, “Hey, in a month from now I want to schedule a meeting with you. When do you have availability for that?”
Instead of looking at a blank calendar, you have already embedded in your calendar the schedule that you want to follow.
So instead of randomly choosing a time, you’re able to look at your calendar and remember that you like to do meetings on Thursdays from 3-5pm and ask if they have availability a month from now on a Thursday at 3pm. You get the picture!
Having a calendar skeleton helps you maintain a predictable schedule and avoid over-committing to tasks.
Adaptability and Flexibility:
It’s essential to remember that time blocking is not about rigidly following the schedule but rather about visualizing your time effectively. Life is unpredictable, and plans may change.
If unexpected opportunities or urgent matters arise, feel free to move tasks around within your calendar. The key is to stay adaptable while still accomplishing your important responsibilities.
Conclusion: Make Time Blocking Work for You
Everyone’s schedule and preferences differ, so customize your time blocking approach to suit your lifestyle. The goal is to create a system that aligns with your unique needs and helps you stay organized.
Time blocking is a powerful tool to optimize your productivity and lead a more intentional life. By assigning specific time slots to tasks, estimating durations, and building a calendar skeleton, you can achieve a balanced routine that maximizes your efficiency.
Remember, flexibility is crucial, and time blocking should be a dynamic process to accommodate life’s surprises. Embrace this technique, and watch as it transforms the way you manage your time.
Join The Discussion:
Are you already a time blocker or considering adopting this technique? Share your experiences and questions in the comments below.
I’d love to hear from you and create more content to help you on your journey to master time management.
Stay tuned for more valuable tips on our Body Brain Alliance Instagram account, and make sure to check out our other time management blogs for further insights.
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Until next time, stay productive and intentional!
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