Do you face too many choices of what to do and when to do it? Do you get paralyzed without a plan? Are you distracted rather than productive? There is a way to move to a more structured day to gain control of your time and be proactive about your tasks and projects. Time blocking is documented strategy to be productive and effective. It gives you the opportunity to prioritize.
Time blocking fundamentals
What is time blocking? Time blocking is a time management strategy where you divide your days and weeks into units of time. Each time block has an assigned tasks or project. It is useful at both work and home to assign rather than choose an activity at a specific time. There are many uses for time blocking. It prioritizes completing specific work rather than chopping up your day with distractions. You can set aside time blocks at home to get your errands done. You can also use time blocks to establish transition time between meetings, activities and errands. Time blocking establishes the “when” of your “what To Do” list. You will be adding an assigned time to accomplish the tasks you have listed. By minimizing distractions, you are setting up productivity success. As Cal Newport writes, “my goal is to make sure progress is being made on the right things at the right pace for the relevant deadlines.” You can have this success too!
Establishing Time Blocks
Here is how to get started with the time block concept. During weekly planning time, choose your top 3 Most Important Tasks for the week. These are tasks that are required to be done, and may not be urgent and are important. Project forward to see if any responsibilities are elevated to this level. At home this might be personal taxes, upcoming travel, bill paying or administrative time. At work this might be upcoming reports, meetings, or any assigned project.
Set time blocks for the duration that works well for you. As you know about your best work, choose a block of 1 hour or 2 hours, or a specific day of the week. People with ADHD tend to like longer time blocks for 2-3 hours. For me, I like one hour blocks because my energy moves quickly in this time. I use several blocks over a week to complete my tasks. I am a morning person so my best work is in the morning.
Assign a task or project to your chosen block periods.
- I also refer to this as a “power period” which is a time of single, intense focus for working on or completing a project.
- Set aside a day to do a single focus (Money Monday, Marketing Monday, Training Tuesday)
- Assign highest priorities with the best time block depending on what time of day you work best.
- You may need to assign multiple blocks for completion of your task or project.
- Set up your team to work with you too on these projects. Communicate your new strategy and coordinate working together to benefit from collaboration.
Work and home successes leads this strategic use of time.
Routines and time blocks
At home and at work there are necessary routines that need attention every week. Here are my favorite time blocks that are common at home and work.
- Home: Paper management, Finances and Bills, and Family Meeting
- Work: Email, Administrative, Financial, and Client
Check to see what is not being accomplished in a week and schedule a time block for this. By time blocking these priorities, you will have a greater sense of control and foundation.
Scheduling time blocks is the answer to your distracted, unproductive day. It helps you accomplish your goals and keep on target. Filling in when to accomplish a task means you are not at the mercy of decision making and paralysis. It’s the best solution for assigning your time and attention to your priorities.