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How to Start Time Blocking your Schedule Right Now!
In the world of blogging, everyone is always trying to find new ways to become more productive. And this time around, I have another productivity method for you called time blocking!
I’ll be going over;
-What time blocking is
-Why it works
-What’s the best way to use it
-Apps you can use with it to help
Let’s get started!
What is Time Blocking?
Let’s start off with what time blocking is. Time blocking is a time management technique where you divide your day into blocks. Each block is a specific task in your day.
How Does Time Blocking Work?
-Navigate your day easier
When you’re going through your day with just a normal to-do list, there isn’t really any structure to it.
A to-do list is just a giant list, likely written in the order you thought of the tasks, not by order of importance.
So when you time block, it makes you think about what tasks need to be done when.
For example, have a blog post due Monday? Better start writing on Saturday!
-Helps with time management
It makes you aware of how much time you are spending on certain tasks.
On top of that, this is a perfectionist-syndrome killer. You have a certain time you are allowed to finish each task. If you don’t finish it, you’re forced to move on to the next task or your whole day will fall behind.
For example, I tend to order my to-do list in order of importance (I know, contradictory to the last point, but some people don’t think to do this!). However, if I don’t set a time limit for myself, I will work on the first task until it is polished to perfection.
Let’s say my to-do list has write a blog post, write an email and schedule social media out. I don’t care how long it takes me to write that blog post, I will work on it until it is written, edited, scheduled and has pins created for it.
Depending on how long a blog post takes, I might spend all day writing it. Leaving all of my tasks to be pushed to the next day.
When you have a set time to stop and move on, you’re forced to say “good enough!” and keep moving. Obviously, you can come back to the tasks you didn’t finish at a later time, but not right away!
-There is a time and place for busywork
You know the work I’m talking about. Reading and responding to emails, checking your socials to engage, going through Facebook groups to find potential questions people are asking. All of the stuff that does technically need to be done, but usually leads to hours of mindless scrolling without getting anything done!
When you’re blocking your work, you can set aside an hour or so a day for all of this work that usually can take up so much time!
The Issues with Time Blocking
Now, of course, with everything positive comes a little negative.
-You might lose sight of the bigger picture
When you think about each day so closely, down to the minute, it can make you lose the bigger picture of your overall goals.
-It takes a long time
When you first start out time blocking, it might take up a lot of time to get started.
It will also be hard to figure out exactly how much time each task will take. Eventually, the more you do it the faster you will be at guessing how much time each task will need to take!
What you Need to Start Time Blocking
To make your life easier when you start time blocking, using these things will make it go faster!
-An organized to-do list
And by “organized” I mean a list that is ordered by importance/urgency of the task needing to be done.
-A way to track your time block
For example; google sheets, a bullet journal, calendar ECT…
How to Start Time Blocking
Now let’s get into what it actually takes to time block!
1. Start with things you can’t change
Start with things in your schedule that are non-negotiable.
These can be things like a work schedule, appointments or school classes. These need to be scheduled first so you don’t over-schedule something.
2. Decide when you will start work each day
It is a good idea to get yourself on a schedule as if you were working a 9-5. Some days this might obviously change if you work an actual 9-5 job but that’s okay.
Factor in what time you wake up, and when you will stop working for the night. Getting into a routine will really help you!
3. Schedule breaks
Do not forget this important step! We are not machines. We need to give our brain breaks and periodic rests. You don’t have to feel the need to schedule out every single free minute you have. Allow yourself some time to relax!
For example, I have time when I wake up for me and a lunch time set as well!
4. Schedule the highest priority task first
This is where that organized to-do list comes into play. Consider any deadlines you have and schedule those tasks accordingly.
5. Create a recurring schedule
This is optional, but something that has really helped me is getting into a routine. Scheduling a certain task for a certain day.
-For example, maybe you write for 2 hours in the morning each day
-Or like me, I have set days for things. Sundays are spent getting my Pinterest scheduled out (using method I learned in this course!) Mondays are spent outlining and writing blog posts, Tuesdays are for finishing and scheduling them! This will help you fill your schedule a lot easier!
Make sure you have “overflow days” set aside as well! For example, Thursday and Friday I have nothing scheduled so I can either use them as days off or play catch up or even get ahead depending on what I need to do!
6. Schedule your day according to your energy level
Some people feel their most productive time of day is right when they wake up, so they schedule their most brain-intensive tasks (like writing blog posts) during that time.
Others are more night owls and that is when their creativity flows. Create your schedule around whatever best fits you!
-Take breaks in between tasks
On top of setting a time to start my day, a time to end my day and a set lunchtime it’s also a good idea to work with breaks. I personally use the Pomorodo technique. 30 mins of work with 5 or so minutes of break.
If you are completely switching gears from one big task to another, it’s a good idea to give yourself and your brain a short break to rest and re-focus itself!
Recommended: The Pomododro Technique
-Overestimate your time
Until you get a good idea of how long your tasks take (a good timer would be the Pomodoro technique to time yourself!) overestimate how much time tasks will take. You can always schedule more things if you run out of tasks!
-Remember distractions happen
It’s totally okay if you don’t get everything done every single time. Life happens. That is what those overflow days can be for!
Time Blocking Apps
There are a ton of ways you can begin time blocking! Here are a few methods you can use
-A bullet journal
Other apps that are great to use for time blocking are google timer (or phone timer) to help with the Pomodoro technique! That way you can begin timing yourself so you know how much time you’re spending on each task in the beginning!
This will help you better understand how much time you need to schedule for each task in the future, and will tell you when you need to switch to new tasks!
Time blocking is a great way to schedule out your day and ensure that you are blasting through each task on your to-do list! It allows for;
-Easy navigating through your day
-Helps with time management
-Allows for a time and place for busywork
There are some possible issues with time blocking such as;
-In the beginning, it can take a long time
-You might lose site of the bigger picture
Planning your day down to the minute can make it easy to lose sight of the big goals. But if you frequently remind yourself of your big goals, you can stay on track easily!
The tips I recommend when starting to time block are;
Tools: Create an organized to-do list, have a way to track your time-blocking and have a timer to keep track of when you need to switch tasks!
Start with things you can’t change
Decide when you will start work each day
Take the highest priority first
Create a recurring schedule
Schedule your day according to your energy level
Once you have all of that, you have a very successful start to time-blocking your day!
Have you tried time blocking before? Or maybe some other method? Let us know in the comments section below!