How do the busiest people around manage the many tasks on their plate? Their schedule is within reach for anyone with the right tools in place.
Time blocking became an interest after I realized the challenges some people feel when they aren’t getting their to-dos done. I feel that way too sometimes and wanted to try this to get more focused on what needed to be accomplished. There was also a desperate need to stop jumping around between tasks randomly because it was wasting too much time.
Using time blocking throughout the day can keep you moving through tasks. It can also help you form boundaries so you can operate at your optimal pace. This is what you need to get everything done that you want to accomplish.
After reading this post, you will know how to create achievable blocks of time, while incorporating the personal and goal setting time you need. Bonus! You will also get to see what I use for time blocking so you can get started right away.
Time Blocking Your To-Do List
Tackling a to-do list is always a weekly challenge. There always seem to be more tasks then hours in the day.
Breaking your list down to time slots that are achievable for you can help the projects seem less daunting. When I’m working on a task, I will block out time in a few different places during the week to accomplish all the pieces. For example, a project that I’m working on right now is going to include research, formatting and reviewing the draft. The project will have 4 blocks over the span of a few days to get it done. This makes it seem less overwhelming and its more likely to get done.
When I’m blocking out time to complete my to-do list, I also include all my meetings. On my time blocking sheet, I am doing this first for the entire week first so I can see what it will look like. One day there may be three meetings in the morning, so I know that I will only have time to complete smaller tasks. Optimizing the time you have will help you achieve success.
You will start to notice how much time you should devote to certain types of projects. If something doesn’t get completed during the block, adjust your block if you’re in the zone or add another block to your calendar.
This method is all about managing your productivity and the flow of your day, so create the schedule you need to work at your best.
Time Block Your Personal Time
Now that you are setting up time for all the important things in your day, don’t forget about the personal time you need.
As you put your schedule together, make break time and lunch a priority. I am notorious for skipping breaks and taking late lunches while working on a big task. It’s also so easy to overlook, but stepping away from your workspace is really what you need! After taking a break, you can return refreshed and can focus clearly on what needs to be done.
To take care of my mental health, I include transition time between meetings and events in my schedule. I’ve had too many days where meetings are held one right after another. It is hard to be focused, then leave that room to immediately jump on a call to deal with a different situation minutes later. Even 15-30 minutes will make a difference, so block it in if you have some control over this. Transition time also includes travel time if you’re meetings are held in another location. Give yourself the appropriate time so you don’t have to rush. There is nothing worse then stressing about not being on time.
Time Block Your Goals
Setting aside time blocks to achieve your goals is a game changer!
It’s so easy to think that we don’t have time to accomplish our goals. I’ve found that often times we aren’t making our time work for us and that’s really creating the barrier. Our time is being squandered away in emails, tending to everyone else or working inefficiently.
Getting a daily plan together helps to ensure there is time set aside for what you want to accomplish. Some of the time that I’ve intentionally set aside has been for exercise, meal prepping for the week, reading and personal development.
Recently, I committed to working 10 hours per week on something I’m passionate about. I was scared to commit to 10 hours because I wasn’t sure where it was going to come from. At the end of the month, I looked back and was able to see how much had been completed. During one week, my time was a little under plan but there was still so much to show. It really was possible to carve out the necessary time!
A Glimpse into Time Blocking
Before you set out to make your schedule, I want to show you a couple of different ways I’ve done it.
Here is a notebook that I’ve used at work. It isn’t as detailed as I would like, but it’s a great starting point to get used to time blocking and creating the framework you need for your day.
I’ve recently found this sheet from Happy Planner. You don’t have to have the planner to use these sheets. I love the half hour details that are on this sheet because you can get detailed with your breaks and transition time.
If you like going digital, use your phone calendar or outlook. This is a good feature because you will always have it with you for sure and you can do up to 15-minute increments of time.
Being Unproductive is Over
These tips will be helpful if you feel like you aren’t getting to all your tasks for the day. Time blocking will help you manage a hectic schedule and will keep your focus where it needs to be. Once you can get a handle on what your day looks like, you will be better equipped to make changes as needed and still stay on top of it all. Planning will help keep all your tasks from piling up and becoming overwhelming.
What is your best time blocking tip? Share it in the comments.
If you have a busy person in your life who needs to keep their schedule from getting away from them, pass this along!