How to Increase Productivity with Time Blocking

How do the most productive people become so productive?

Time blocking.

While there’s obviously more than one variable to their success, time blocking is a common habit among high performers.

But what exactly is time blocking? And how does it help you become more productive?

Let’s break down what time blocking is, why it’s important, and how you can start this method today.

What is time blocking?

Time blocking is a time management system of breaking down your day into smaller blocks of time.

During that time, you’re focused on one specific task, or a group of similar tasks.

Unlike a to-do list, time blocking not only tells you what to do but when to do it.

For example, I usually block my mornings off from 6-8 am to prep for work. This is when I get all my lesson plans and other school-related tasks done.

I also schedule exercise around 5 pm during the week, but what I do within that time is called time boxing.

Here's my schedule for the week (see below). 

I use a combination of Google Calendar and my notebook.

This is mostly set in stone but will change from time to time based on holidays, vacations, or other random life occurrences.

If you're wondering what my free time is, it's time I spend doing anything I want such as walking my dog, eating, reading, making music, meditating, working, etc. there's really no limit to what I can do, but it's meant to be a recharge period in my schedule.

What is time boxing?

Time boxing is scheduling tasks at certain times, but it’s within a time block.

For example, I might be working out from 5-7 pm, but if we break that down into smaller time boxes, it would look like this:

5:00-5:20 Drive to gym
5:20-5:40 Dynamic warmups
5:40-6:30 Workout
6:30-6:40 Abs
6:40-7:00 Drive home

You can use this strategy to better manage your attention and focus.

As Parkinson’s Law states, “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” so time blocking is a great way to take back control of your calendar and intentionally schedule work.

Time blocking is particularly useful if:

  • You need more clarity around where your time is going each day.
  • You try multitasking.
  • You need help focusing on one task and reducing distractions.
  • You struggle to manage your time and energy at work.

As you get started with time blocking, think of each block as an uninterrupted chunk of work where you can tackle critical projects and get into deep work.

Why is time blocking important?

Time blocking is important because it can help you take control of your life, time, and agenda.

It requires dedicated time to schedule and prioritize tasks.

It also helps you focus and concentrate for longer periods of time.

In a world where everybody thinks they can multitask, the true power of productivity comes from the ability to single-task and focus on one thing at a time.

It takes a while to develop a positive habit of staying focused on one thing at a time, but over time you will get better at it and build that muscle stronger. I’m still learning and practicing myself, and I will continue to do my best to develop my skills even more.

What are the benefits of time blocking?

There are both short-term and long-term benefits. Such as, tasks will be completed faster and with more attention to detail, or time blocking will help you develop a greater understanding of just how long completing certain tasks actually takes.

Instead of dividing your attention among many tasks at once, that’s draining you of energy, you can stay focused on one important task at a time, and dive deeper into it.

Other time blocking benefits include:

  • Time blocking gives you a chance to reflect on what’s really important to you. This will become extremely evident as you block your calendar each week and need to make decisions over what matters most.
  • Time blocking is the key to eliminating procrastination since you’ll have a certain amount of time to both begin and complete the task.
  • Time blocking allows you to be more efficient once you’ve grouped similar tasks together in a time block and can bring skills to completing the task. In contrast, you’ll find yourself wasting time switching between dissimilar tasks when you don’t time block.
  • Time blocking helps you gain a greater understanding of how long completing a certain task will take. This will help with future scheduling and making commitments.

Not everyone is a fan of time blocking. There are times when it’s just not practical and not everyone has the flexibility to block out their schedule this way (although it’s still possible for everyone because it’s a simple concept).

Is time blocking right for you?

If anything in the list below sounds familiar, time blocking may be a good way to take back control of your schedule:

  • You’re so busy that you can’t find time to focus on big-picture items like strategy and long-term direction.
  • You're ruled by meetings and can’t focus on what really matters.
  • You feel like a victim to your inbox and are constantly answering email requests throughout your day.
  • You have trouble breaking down and planning out larger tasks.
  • Your job requires you to juggle a lot of different responsibilities, tasks, and projects.
  • You’re struggling with work-life balance and fitting in time for fun.
  • You want to try a new style of working to boost your productivity.
  • You want to achieve more of your goals.
  • You’re looking to do more deep work (Focusing on one task for an extended period of time instead of shallow work where you’re constantly switching tasks).

Let’s face it, we’re busy.

We all have a million things going on, but the better you can manage your calendar, the better you can manage your life.

Time blocking is a great strategy and solution for you if you’re looking for greater control, creativity, and peace of mind.

If you're having trouble managing what matters most in life or work, I can help.

Book a free strategy session to get the clarity and confidence you need to take your productivity to the next level.

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