Everybody needs an effective time management system to smoothly go about their day. Multitasking and procrastination are very prominent factors that can cause even the most productive people to be stuck. The question is, how do you take control of your daily schedule and get things going? What is the best way to organize your daily schedule?
Whether you’re a student, a stay-at-home mom or work a 9 to 5 job, taking control of your time by scheduling or breaking it into blocks helps you increase productivity. This effective way of time management is known as “time blocking.”
How Time Blocking Works
Time blocking is sometimes referred to as “monotasking” or “time chunking,”. It is a time management technique where you block off a period of time to complete a specific task. There are many ways how you can manage your own time blocking system. However, if this is your first time and you need help to get started, fret not! Let’s dive in a little deeper.
The four different time blocks to help organize your daily schedule
Time blocking typically consists of four main blocks. The focus block, admin block, recovery block, and social block. These four blocks each have different durations depending on priority and urgency. For example, the focus block is typically scheduled to be 90 to 120 minutes long. This block helps you focus to complete important tasks and is best implemented when you are feeling highly motivated or inspired. These different blocks will help you to organize your daily schedule.
This technique is helpful especially when you feel overwhelmed or have trouble prioritizing your tasks. This system helps you become more aware of items on your to-do list. This helps you automatically categorize them into respective blocks. For instance, instead of checking your phone every time you receive a notification, you block off specific times throughout the day to return phone calls, respond to emails, and check your social media accounts.
With this technique, you’re essentially setting aside specific blocks of time to complete different tasks. In the end, your schedule is broken into chunks of time where you are focusing on one task at a time. This helps you become more organized and efficient.
This type of time management not only makes your to-do list more manageable, but also gives you more control over your day. Say goodbye to getting anxious about not knowing what to do first or worrying that you do not have enough time to settle your tasks for the day. Time blocking also improves focus and deters procrastination. Not only will this approach cut down on mental errors and meltdowns, but it also helps you unleash your creativity. You are only funneling your energy and paying all your attention to one task within the time block. The best part is that at the end of the day, you have this sense of accomplishment, making you feel good about your day.
How to Start Implementing Time Blocking into Your Schedule
Step 1: Create Your To-Do List
Start by creating a list of all the things you need to get done for the week. Write down all your work projects, your family commitments, the daily habits you are trying to implement, and even your exercise goals. The key is to include everything from doing laundry, appointments you need to schedule, telephone calls you need to make to the meals you need to prepare.
Step 2: Highlight Priority Tasks
Once you have your list, highlight tasks that are your top priorities for the week like work projects, meetings with clients, or doctors’ appointments. The goal is that you will give your most important tasks the prime slots in your time-blocking schedule and schedule other tasks around them. You should also plan and allocate time each day for your past time. This is to ensure you spend your leisure time with things you actually want to do. Whether it is a walk at the park, or reading a new book. You don’t want the time to suddenly slip by and nothing was done.
Step 3: Create a Weekly Schedule
Your next step is to think about how much time you have in a day. How long do you want to allow for each task on your list. Start by creating time blocks for your daily activities. Such as your morning routines and evening rituals, exercising, your commute to and from work, meals and meal preparations, house chores, and so on. Your weekly schedule should roughly have all your priority tasks listed on their respective days.
Step 4: Block Off Your Entire Day
Ideally, once your weekly blueprint is complete, you will be able to block off each day of the week. For instance, if your top priority for the week is to write a report by Friday, think about how long it will take you to put it together and plan accordingly. If you think it will take six hours to complete it, then schedule two hours on Monday to Wednesday to work on it. Then on Thursday allocate another hour to edit and finalize it. By planning these set blocks of time prior, you not only prevent procrastination, but you are also setting aside the time you need to focus on developing the report without distractions.
Step 5: Protect Your Time
Once you have your schedule completed, protect your time as best you can. However, if unexpected things come up you will need to be flexible. It is important to resist the urge to give up your priority tasks for something that can wait. Getting out of the habit of answering your phone when it rings is one way to protect your time. This way you will not get distracted. Leave them a message or get back to them when you are available.
We hope these tips are useful for you in being able to manage your time. Ultimately the key to efficient time management is to always stay focused. Follow through with tasks you intended to do. In theory, it really is that simple but in practice, it can be so difficult to commit. Especially when staying focused and protecting boundaries sometimes means being antisocial or the “always unavailable” friend. However, perhaps it’s ok to be unavailable to others. Everyone needs healthy boundaries right?
Verily, effective use of time blocking can help you take control of your day, improve your focus, and ward off procrastination. It may take some trial and error to create a routine that works for you at first. However, with a little practice, patience and determination, you will be able to breeze through your days and manage time efficiently like a champ.