If you’re obsessed with all things productivity and personal growth, you’ve probably heard about time blocking before. If not, it’s actually really simple. Time blocking is a system of planning where you can plan out your day or week with specific activities falling into blocks of time. For instance, if you decided to work on marketing for your side hustle every Monday from 7-9 PM, this would be an example of a time block. Now, let’s talk about how to time block for a more productive day and why it’s important to do so.
What Exactly Is Time Blocking?
If you’re not 100% convinced that time blocking is for you, let’s chat a little about how it works. First, time blocking your calendar is a little like tidying your house. Before you tidy you probably have a messy space and feel overwhelmed. Once you tidy things up you are able to move everything where it belongs, giving you a clean space and probably mental clarity too. Similarly, with time blocking, you are looking at your day or week and putting every type of task into a block of time. A block of time should include one set of relevant tasks or activities.
Why Is Time Blocking Important?
One of the reasons that I love time blocking is that I no longer have to worry whether or not I’ll have time to do something. For instance, if you do content creation for your 9-5 job or side hustle, you could create a specific block for content creation tasks like writing articles, recording podcast episodes, or recording videos. You might even do this at the same time each week like on Mondays from 5-7 PM. With time blocking you always know when and where a task will be completed.
This can also give you a great sense of relief and a clear view of your day or week. Also, if you are used to procrastinating or ending up spending hours on tasks that should be completed in 30 minutes or less, this will help keep you on task. When you have a specific period of time to accomplish something, it’s much more likely that you’ll finish it quickly.
Turning Your to Do List Into Blocks of Time
You might also be wondering if this means you need to say goodbye to your beloved to-do list. Of course not! In fact, a to-do list can work hand in hand with your blocks of time. You can create your to-do list for each day or for the week and then place each item from the to-do list into a block. To create a time blocked calendar, I love using a calendar or planner where I have an hour-by-hour overview of the day, or half-hour is even better.
You can also use time blocking for both work and personal tasks. If you want to keep work and personal life separate, you might try using one system like Google Calendar for work time blocking and a separate system like a digital planner for before and after work and weekends. Or, you could use the same system for both, the key is to do some trial and error and figure out what works best for you.
A Few Extra Tips for Time Blocking
At first, time blocking might seem overwhelming, especially if you’re a person that doesn’t like planning or structure. But, as you get used to it, you’ll find that you end up getting so much more done each day and have less wasted time throughout your days.
Tip #1: Start Small
If you haven’t time blocked before, start small. Try time blocking one day and see how it goes, don’t start by time blocking your whole week or month as you likely won’t follow your plan and will then just get frustrated and give up. Or, an even smaller micro-step would be to time block your after-work hours from say, 6-11 PM. Then, over time you can time block for larger periods of time.
Tip #2: Be Flexible
Even if you’re a time blocking expert, there will always be days or weeks that don’t go according to plan and that’s perfectly alright. Let’s say your boss plans a last-minute 2-hour meeting, forcing you to abandon your morning block of time for working on a report. No worries! Just reschedule that time block for a later time in the day or for later on in the week. You might even schedule a specific time block at the end of the week as “catch up” time.
Tip #3: Make Your Time Block Tasks Specific
My final piece of advice is to make your time blocks as specific as possible. Or, have a set list of tasks that you hope to accomplish within your time block. For instance, if you create a 3-hour time block and just write, ‘work on business’ you might feel clueless as to what to work on. However, instead, maybe you create a one-hour time block to work on social media for your business and think of what specific tasks this will entail, like create one video, respond to Instagram comments, etc. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to jump in and get started.