How To Use Time Blocking To Get More Done

time block

Ahh!! The last couple of months have been crazy busy….

So, I start using more productivity strategies.

Especially time blocking. And I thought I’d be great to teach you how to use it, too.

If you work from home, this technique it’s exactly what you need. You might feel overwhelmed by how many things you need to get done in your business at this moment. But once you use time blocking, everything will be much easier…

What is time blocking:

Time blocking means you assigning your tasks to specific blocks of time during the day.

Here’s an example:

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Rather than having a random to-do list that you have to finish before 7 PM, you’ll have several blocks of time dedicated to completing individual tasks one at a time.

What do you think? My example has just one task/day but you can set as many as you want.

It will feel like your limit yourself but you’re doing something smart.

You decide to spend your minutes on something specific, instead of thinking about what task should you finish. You also get better results when you know how to do this right.

Why you should use time blocking:

Probably the best benefit of time blocking is that you’ll be tempted to make the most of every hour.

Parkinson’s Law is a real challenge for most of us: ‘’Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.’’

I bet you noticed that.

When you have a week to do something, it usually takes a week. You’re not in a hurry. On the contrary, you’re tempted to work slower.

When you need to finish something in one day, things start to change. Because your deadline is tight, you work much faster.

Most people give themselves plenty of extra time just in case they don’t finish their task. That’s not so productive.

It’s better to limit your time to the lowest amount you think is realistic and stay in that position. You’re more productive when you do that.

Other time blocking benefits:

  • Helps you organize your day better: Because you know exactly what to do and when.
  • Force you to set your priorities: Because you’ll realize your time is limited and you can’t waste it doing something that doesn’t matter.
  • Makes you avoid multitasking: You focus on one task at a time. You also eliminate the temptation of switching tasks.

Time blocking trains you to be better at estimating how long different tasks take. And when you’re aware of your productivity level, you also discover how to improve it.

Ok, we talked about the main benefits.

Let’s see what you need to do.

How to block your time the right way:

Maybe I convinced you to try this time management strategy.

But you still wonder…

How do you effectively block time?

As I said, it requires you to set a certain amount of time for each one of your tasks.  But you’ll estimate this time wrong in the beginning.

When I first started to use time-blocking, it turned out I had no idea what I was doing. Most of my work took me longer or shorter than I expected.

How can you avoid this?

I recommend a time audit. Track your regular tasks for two weeks before using this technique.

And by the way, don’t time block your entire day. That’s a bad idea. You’ll feel overwhelmed and procrastinate.

Time block just 3 things for the beginning. Write them down in your calendar.

I don’t suggest time blocking apps.

I think G-calendar is better. You can plan your work and personal life activities, using different colors for your tasks.

For instance:

  • pink(for what’s important)
  • yellow(for what’s not so important)
  • green(for what’s not important at all)

You can also edit the schedule when the day ends with:

  • red(finished)
  • orange(half-finished)
  • dark blue(not started)

Here’s an example:

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I like the fact a calendar have reminders. If something is really important, you will never forget about it.

Also, you can track what you’re doing much easier.

I always edit my schedule with my results. If I write 500 words in 30 minutes, I edit ‘’write’’ and I add the number of words.

Or, if I meditate for 10 minutes instead of 5, I adjust that.

You can also plan what result you expect to accomplish and edit your calendar when you finish.

Both of these methods work like magic.

Plan for distractions:

Ok, so you created your time blocking schedule.

But here’s the thing: You still have to deal with distractions.

The biggest one is your phone. Turn it off and put it in another room. Having your phone near you can decrease your productivity, even if it’s turned off.

After that? Close notifications on your laptop.

And make sure nobody interrupts you. If you work in a quiet place, you already solved 90% of your problems.

What else could you do? Schedule breaks. Yeah, seriously. Taking breaks can make you more productive.

Studies have shown that taking 17 minutes break after 52 minutes of working straight, increase productivity.

It makes sense when you think about it. After working for 1 hour or more, you lose your focus, get bored and can’t concentrate well.

If you time-block 2 hours for a task, one break of 10 minutes won’t hurt.

Note: Remember things can always come up in your way. Don’t worry about that. As long as you can block your schedule 90% of the time, you’re fine.

Use a timer:

If you work on full-screen, you’ll forget what time is it. But if you exit from it to look at the watch, you also switch tasks.

And shifting between tasks can cost as much as 40 percent of someone’s productive time.

That’s why you should use a timer.

You know exactly when you finish. It creates a sense of urgency and remembers you to stop. It’s impossible to spend hours in front of your computer without getting burned out.

But the ticking timer reminds you to get up and take a break. Here’s an online timer but feel free to use anything you want. You’ll stay focused and fresh while working.

Commit to follow your calendar:

Your brain wants you to avoid pain.

When you do something that moves you from your comfort zone, you feel resistance.

You’d rather do nothing. When you want to practice time-blocking, it’s the same story: You’re tempted to ignore everything.

Your brain is going to come up with a million reasons why you shouldn’t do anything at all. Don’t listen to it. Make a commitment to follow your time blocking schedule anyway.

It happens to me each day. I expect to get bored with my tasks. And I’m always right.

I’m never motivated. But I do them anyway. And once I start, I get the energy to finish.

Block time when you’re super productive:

Did you know a lot of people prefer to manage their energy instead of their time?

It might sound weird but it works.

If you know when your energy levels are high, you can time block during these hours.

Why would you do that? Because you can finish your tasks 5 times faster. Now, you probably don’t know when your energy is high. Don’t overthink about it. It’s either in the morning or in the evening.

Find out and use that in your advantage.

Use 60-60-30 technique:

If you can’t estimate how long a task will take, don’t worry.

Decide when you’ll begin and it’s enough. Here’s the thing: You won’t always know when you should stop. However, you should take some breaks. And you can use 60-60-30 solution for that.

I learned about this concept a long time ago.

It’s very simple:

  • Set a timer for 50 minutes
  • Work until the timer finishes
  • Take a 10-minute break
  • Repeat the process
  • Take a 30-minute break

It’s a great way to do deep work(like writing).

Sometimes, I find myself working for 2 hours straight and ignoring the first break. But I don’t suggest that.

Don’t get too involved in your activities. The 60-60-30 method can offer bigger benefits when it’s followed.

Combine Time Blocking & Time Batching:

Time batching is a time management technique that requires you to batch similar tasks together and doing them all before doing something else.

Let’s say you need to do the following tasks(in the same order):

  • Write an article
  • Create 3 images for Facebook
  • Write an email
  • Create 3 pins for Pinterest
  • Write 3 Pinterest descriptions

If you time batch, your schedule will look like this:

  • Write an article
  • Write an email
  • Write 3 Pinterest descriptions
  • Create 3 images for Facebook
  • Create 3 pins for Pinterest

It might seem like a small change. But the benefits are huge. Time batching with time blocking is a killer combination.

What if time blocking doesn’t work:

Although it’s a great technique, it might not work for everyone.

So, what can you do about it?

First off, give yourself time. You don’t need to do everything right from the beginning. Give yourself a month.

Secondly, start smaller. Schedule just one task in your calendar each day.

That’s how I started too. After a while, it’ll be something normal and you can schedule 2-3 or more things at once.

Sometimes you can’t do everything as planned. Don’t beat yourself up for that. You’re not a superhero. As long as this technique works, it doesn’t matter if you don’t use it one day.

Finally, if nothing really works, here’s my final suggestion: Give up and try something else.

There are still many time management tricks. I’m sure some of them will work for you.

Conclusion:

Time blocking is a great time management technique.

It could help you become more productive but it’s not for everyone. Start time blocking one task, avoid distractions and try to make a habit from it.

Give yourself time to see if it works for you.

All right, we finish here. I’d like you to share this article on Pinterest. And if you want a time blocking template, you can buy one down below.

2019 Time-Block Planner: Weekly Calendar Organizer + Schedule | Polkadot Watercolor Pattern Cover | January 2019 through December 2019
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