Time blocking is one of the most powerful approaches I am using to plan my time. I have also witnessed it working successfully in the lives of many other people. You too can try this approach to planning your weeks and days for greater results and less stress.
A time block is a pre-established amount of time scheduled into your daily plan to allow uninterrupted, focused work to be accomplished.
Why is Time Blocking effective?
1) Enough time to complete important tasks
People often don’t achieve results at the required level of quality, simply because they don’t plan in enough time for accomplishing a specific task. They usually plan many things into the day, thus breaking the day into smaller, more ineffective periods.
2) Improved focus and quality
To creatively solve problems or accomplish an important task, a person often needs a larger block of uninterrupted time, as smaller periods of time are simply not enough for the required focus.
Without distractions during a specific block of time, your mind stays focused, which leads to faster completion and better quality.
3) Less stress
By scheduling blocks of time in advance, you keep making steady, daily progress on the highest priorities instead of procrastinating or stressing out about important projects and tasks at the last minute. (Related post: 5 Effective Steps To Reduce Stress And Avoid Burnout)
4) Improved overall results
The fact that you accomplish the most important things each day and constantly move forward with them also helps you to reach your business goals or life goals faster.
Here are three simple steps to implement this effective tool in your life.
1. Divide your day into 3 major time blocks
I suggest you divide your day roughly into 3 major time blocks:
#Most important tasks
This is the most important time of your day that needs to be protected and planned in, every day. Start with having one block of 1½ -2 hrs each day. You will see better results right away, whether you are CEO, department manager or just an employee.
During this time you focus on the most important tasks and priorities, difficult projects and complex issues, which also might include reviewing the big picture and your goals, designing preventive actions, etc.
Protect this time and do not allow any distractions. Your mind needs to focus.
#Routine and administrative tasks
There are many routine tasks that do not require much creative thinking, but completing them takes time. Checking and answering emails, returning calls, preparing reports, etc might be on the list.
Group as many similar activities together as possible, as you’re actually several times more productive when you can focus on one type of task rather than switching among different types of tasks.
Try to plan routine tasks into the part of the day when you are not as productive based on your individual biological rhythms.
If you absolutely have to have a meeting, then as much as possible, try to schedule several meetings close together, eg., late afternoon or late morning. It will allow you to focus on meetings and not break your day into smaller, ineffective pieces. (Related post: How To Make Internal Meetings More Effective)
2. Start each day with the “Most important tasks“ time block
This is your most important time period. Start your day with it. Find a place where nobody and nothing could distract you. Yes, even your boss 🙂 From my experience as a CEO, usually there are very rarely urgent situations when your boss would need you right now and could not wait for 2 hrs when you are available. So, no worries 🙂 Plus . . . if your boss is managing his/her schedule well, he/she is also focusing during this time, so he/she is not likely to be looking for you to respond to some crisis.
For example, John Reed, the former CEO of Citigroup, kept his office door closed from 7am to 10am every day, refusing to take any calls or visits until he opened his door.
After finishing your “Most important tasks” block you can do other things on your list and feel you had a great day, because the most important things are already done.
3. Schedule “flexibility” time and plan “fun” time after each block
Plan about 30 minutes of “flexibility” time after each block or every couple of hours. This will enable you to handle an emergency without adjusting your schedule.
Also, schedule in some “fun” activities between tasks to have a rest and switch your mind onto something enjoyable.
Try it out tomorrow for several days and see the positive impact it has on your days and how you feel 🙂 Let me know in the comments how it worked for you.
You might also enjoy these posts:
Get a FREE 7-Day Course
A FREE 7-day email course "Simplify Your Workday in 7 Days" will help you to get the most important things done at work with less stress and fewer hours. Sign up and instantly get the first lesson to your inbox.