One way to ensure success is to set goals and make plans from those goals that get into your schedule each day, then implement the plan according to the schedule. This is best accomplished by using a method called time blocking. You can increase your productivity substantially with properly executed time blocking and using your planner. Using time blocking instead of just a to-do list can help you get much more done.
What Is Time Blocking?
Time blocking is a method that increases productivity, and it can work for almost anyone. If you like having things scheduled, it’s possible you already naturally use a form of time blocking. You can improve your efficiency by understanding how to prioritize all your activities and not just your appointments. Time blocking is a process to account for the activities of the day and keep you on track by keeping your flow instead of switching to different tasks all the time.
How Does Time Blocking Work?
The way time blocking works is that ideally, you will schedule your day in thirty-minute to two-hour increments. You should add everything you do during any given day to your block schedule to ensure you’ve set aside enough time for your entire life, not just your work schedule. Some people use the Pomodoro technique to set up time blocks, usually as a 25-minute working block and a 5-minute break.
Start by listing out what you need to do for the day and how much time it will take. You can also prioritize the tasks by what needs to get done first and then next so that you are completing the most important tasks for each day. Doing this before you leave for the day when the remaining tasks and any new thoughts are in your head to create the list for the next morning. Sometimes you can do this first thing in the morning if that works better for you.
Reasons to Use Block Scheduling For Time
Time block scheduling is good at helping you prioritize your day. When you make a list of the tasks that you need to do during a day and then organize it into time blocks, you’re much more likely to put it in the right order so that you can get each thing completed in a timely manner, but also efficiently. When you plan for the day, many people find that they are able to get more done in the same amount of time.
If you tend to get sidetracked easily, it can help you because you can switch blocks around if you do each thing on your daily list, for example. And you are better able to focus because you have planned what you are going to do so you are aware that you will get other tasks done. If you are flitting around looking at different tasks and starting but not finishing them, you get a little bit of many different things done but not enough to make the difference you probably want to.
Making The System Work
The best way to ensure that time block scheduling will work for you is to get used to using a calendar or daily planner to help you make choices each day. Know your goals, plan ahead so you don’t have bottlenecks, and focus on the most important priorities earlier in the day so that you ensure those get done. Don’t be afraid to take breaks because that is important too.
Time blocking basically takes your to-do list and tells it what is going to get done and when. This is invaluable. When you have a list but it’s not prioritized, you probably are jumping around and doing a little bit of a bunch of things. In this case, you plan to work and complete a project or a specific task and then move on to the next. It’s designed to give you focus on what you need to work on and complete.
Use a System to Time Block
Don’t rely on your mind to remember your schedule. Turn to a system like Trello.com or Basecamp.com, or another project management system. Even if you just use Google Calendar, it’s important to set it up and visually look at it to help avoid conflicts with your time. As you use time block scheduling and adjust the schedule over time, you’ll perfect each day and end up maximizing your productivity in the process.
You might be thinking that your day is not the same each time so it’s hard to set up time blocks that work. When you start, it won’t be perfect. But if you look at the tasks you need to complete for the week, and break them down into what you will accomplish in a day, then you can block that time and work on the task over the week. Instead of just trying to do it a little at a time, you are “single tasking” which can be even more productive than multi-tasking.
It can also take a lot of time and effort to get started time blocking. You can start with part of your day or even just one day a week. If you need to do emails for your customers for an upcoming sale, you can time block a section of your day in a week and write those all at once. Then, when you are used to doing sections of your week, you can start even more granular planning. You should even plan blocks for the “fires” or urgent things that come up in a day to be able to handle those. Over time, you will get better at estimating the amount of time it will take to complete tasks and improve your schedule.
A few tools that work well with or are made especially for time blocking are HourStack.io and SkedPal.com. These block scheduling tools will help you set up your schedule fast and even help automate scheduling for you. You can integrate these programs with Google Calendar, Outlook, and others, so they’re very easy to incorporate into what you already have.
Time block scheduling is the perfect way to plan your days and even longer projects that may require multiple days. For example, if you have a conference in the second week of June, that time block schedule will be totally different than your normal day. It’s very adjustable and works for almost anyone, whether you’re naturally organized or not.
This is a great way to plan to do the most important work and items on your list. When you have your list, if it’s more hours than your workday (if it’s too many tasks and not enough time), you can cull out the less important tasks for another day or give them to another person.
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