How time blocking changes your work life

How time blocking changes your work life

Time blocking (sometimes referred to as "time boxing") is a time management technique that divides your day into manageable chunks. You set up certain amounts of time for specific tasks ahead of time so that you can get through your workday without being interrupted or diverted. Rather than just establishing a to-do list and working through it, time blocking creates regulated spaces to ensure that each activity is completed. Time blocking may be the solution to your productivity issues. It's easy to get distracted and overwhelmed by the sheer length of your to-do list in today's hyper-connected world. The time blocking approach exists to give you back control over your day, allowing you to fit in all you want to do.

How (and why) does time blocking work?

The fact that time blocking is designed for focus is the simple reason why it works. The trick is to keep time blocks to a minimum. It can feel strange and restricting to plan your entire day around a fixed time schedule. However, it may provide the productive structure and focus you've been looking for; in fact, this mechanical approach is one of the reasons why people find it so effective. You may not only avoid distractions but also increase your focus by scheduling every minute of your day.

There are certain proven reasons which make time blocking an effective technique. Time blocking discourages multitasking. It is the polar opposite of multitasking, a cool-sounding concept that, in reality, can harm your productivity. You can encourage deep concentrated work by setting out blocks of time for a specific activity or problem. It also assists you in focusing less on ‘shallow work’, or activities that are urgent but not vital.

It combats perfectionism and procrastination. Perfectionism and procrastination are two of time management’s most challenging adversaries and time blocking is a powerful way to thwart them both. In a way, it ensures you don't overcommit on any one piece of work.

Time blocking is one of the best ways to protect your time. It's simpler to say "no" when you've blocked out time. After all, if you say “yes” to every request that comes your way, you won’t get as much done. Your priorities will eventually get buried underneath those of others.

Time blocking encourages you to secure energy and willpower by planning the most difficult tasks first. You can also use it to divide a larger project into more manageable parts. Also, when you add an item to your calendar, it forces you to commit to getting it done.

Start time blocking your schedule in 3 steps

The best way to figure out how to make time blocking work for you is by considering the following :

  1. Understand your priorities
    Which of your tasks is the most important and which does not really bring you closer to your goals? This can be useful with the use of a time management matrix. Find the time when you are the most productive and plan the most important tasks of the day for that time. Doing this first thing in the morning often helps because the most difficult tasks are unobtrusive and you can focus on it with a fresh and new mind.
  2. Track how long you spend on tasks
    This  effectively collects data about how you are actually working now. This helps you understand how long it takes to  block  a particular task. It also helps  highlight where you may be spending a disproportionate amount of time on low-value work. Calculating the average time spent on a task helps you set  new time goals that are competitive yet realistic for each task.
  3. Factor in your productive patterns
    The advantage of time blocking is that it can be customized to your specific productive habits. Try to cut a break to allow 30 minutes for flexibility - just in case something unavoidable comes up that you have to respond to.

    To truly reap the fruits of this technique, it is important to time-block for relaxation and learning. The most productive people pair work with rest. Block yourself the time you need to relax, let loose, and even learn new skills. You don’t have to be 100% productive 100% of the time.

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