We all know that time management is an essential skill, and time blocking is an easy and powerful way to help you master this skill. Time blocking can be best described as blocking off specific periods of time in your schedule in which you commit to getting things started, progressed or finished. It enables you to take control of the minutes in each day.
The 5 Step Time Blocking Process
It all starts with planning. Make a list of all the tasks that you have to complete during an upcoming week, there are likely to be lots. Then, narrow this list down to three to five tasks that you absolutely must either complete or as a minimum make a start on during the upcoming week. Make sure that you’re being realistic when you plan.
- Start blocking your time. Once you have completed step 1, start to block out time in your schedule to achieve these tasks. Decide how long your time blocks are going to be an hour is ideal but you may have to settle for less, if this is the case aim for a minimum of 30 min blocks. Assign a task or tasks to each time block. Try to batch like tasks together and add them to a specific time block and don’t forget to block time for you. A short break will give you renewed energy, you may even consider taking a power nap.
Reduce distractions. When working in your time block, it’s essential that you eliminate distractions, if you don’t you will quickly lose your focus. Be honest about what your main distractions are. Do you waste time on social media or are you constantly check your phone or emails? Eliminate or reduce these distractions. You may want to set aside a specific chunk of time each day to handle your social media, email inbox, and other tasks that distract you from your more essential actions. And when you’re working in your time block let others know and if they still interrupt you, be assertive, tell them that you’re busy and will get back to them.
Keep the time blocks flexible. It’s not always possible to know the exact amount of time each task will take, so it’s important to keep your time blocks flexible. This will also enable you to take care of other important things that come up with a minimum amount of stress or changes to your schedule.
- Review your time blocks regularly. Like any other system, you need to review it and adjust as needed. If your tasks change, or you find that they take more or less time than you thought, modify your time blocks to take the new information into account. Does time blocking work for you? If not can you modify the concept to work for you? Reviewing your time blocks will also give you the chance to see when you’re most productive. If you do your best work in the morning, schedule more important tasks during these hours. Reviews will help you evaluate your productivity levels and decide which parts need attention.
Time blocking is a useful method for anyone who is interested in greater productivity, either at home or at work and can help you to finish more tasks each day and feel more accomplished.
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Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor