Sometimes the day goes by so fast we lose track of all time. We suddenly look at our watch and realize the hours went somewhere. Time goes through an hourglass much faster than we think it should. This is where time-blocking comes to the rescue. It might just be the thing to keep you on track.
What Is Time Blocking?
Time blocking uses blocks on your calendar to manage your life. It’s meant to be your own personal secretary. Time blocking makes sure that your minutes and hours in the day have a purpose. That purpose at times might not seem like much, but every block of time has meaning. This means you block out time for things like reading and going to the gym.
Your time is valuable. It needs to be respected. Place your list of to-do items on a calendar. You can do it on your phone, computer, and/or your planner. These things can be work-related, home-related, or just recreation-related. Write out the amount of time each thing will take. You can adjust this as you go. It might be a rough draft, but at least you will have it written out in front of you.
The first thing to do when blocking your time is to schedule in your work. You need to fit in projects and work meetings. You can’t schedule fun things to do when you’re actually at work.
If you don’t go to an actual place of work, you can designate these times for when you’re doing your work from home or your everyday working tasks. These could be things like going to the grocery store or taking the kids to school. This is work, too.
Large Blocks For Quality Work
Quality work is things that take a lot of your time and focus. You will need to schedule large blocks of time to do your toughest tasks. Schedule these tasks when you’re ready to attack the day.
If you work best in the morning, knock out large blocks for these tasks. If you work best when the kids are in bed, use these large blocks at this time. One rule of thumb is not switching between big tasks too much in this large block of time. You don’t want to lose concentration.
Time Between Tasks
Time blocking might make you feel like a robot at times. Give yourself some fun buffer time between your tasks. This will give you flexibility and a mental break.
You will have small gaps of free time that let you have a little fun. You can also move things around during this time. Don’t overwork yourself. Sometimes tasks get overwhelming. You’ll finish making dinner only to throw the kids in the car to run to soccer practice.
Give yourself some breathing room, so you aren’t rushed all of the time.
Block Small Tasks Together
Sometimes the small tasks start to beat us down. Small tasks are things like writing business e-mails, throwing in the laundry, or texting someone back. These things often feel like they don’t accomplish much, but we need to get them done.
It’s best to group these blocks of time together. Put a big block on your schedule for getting these meaningless tasks done. This will help keep the focus on your big tasks.
Do all of these things in a one-hour time frame. Of course, you’ll want to check your e-mail a few times during the day so you don’t miss anything important, but you don’t have to write anyone back until your designated time.
Block Personal Time
One of the best things about time blocking is you get to block out time for fun. You don’t have to just work all of the time. You don’t have to pour yourself into taking the kids places and helping them with homework either. Remember to block out time for yourself. This is important to your mental health.
If it’s on the calendar, you’re more likely to actually do it. Schedule time to call a friend, take a relaxing bath, or read a chapter in a book. It sounds silly to have to schedule a time for these things, but you’ll feel a lot better when you know you get time for yourself.
You can even block out time for goals. Look at your calendar to see where you can block out about an hour to work on your goals. This might mean learning to cook more meals, get in a run, or work on a special work project.
When these things are scheduled, you’ll be more likely to attack them. Sometimes goals just sit there waiting for you to get to them. Don’t let them get away from you.
Segment Meeting and Creative Time
Your workday should have blocks of time for meetings. Try to designate certain days for meeting days. This means all of your focus goes into these standard meetings during these days.
You won’t be thrown off by other things during this time. You can be flexible during the actual days. The other days of the week at work can be your actual time working on things and/or your creative time to brainstorm. Meetings and creative work are usually very different. It’s good to have designated time for each to maintain focus.
Time is important. It seems we never get enough of it in life. Live life to the fullest by trying time blocking. This effective time management could change your life.