Productivity Tip: Time Blocking

If you struggle with planning, prioritizing, and estimating the length of tasks you have to complete, you might benefit from the use of time management tools to help you fix your relationship with time. There are different techniques and tools we can use to address issues with time management, one of those is called time blocking.

In this blog, you will learn more about time blocking, including how to use it and how it can add flexibility to your daily schedule. Bonus: you can access a free time blocking template. You can find the link below.

What is time blocking?

Time blocking is a process that makes your daily schedule more visible, flexible, and rewarding. Flexibility comes from the use of 15-minute blocks for each of your daily tasks. If you run too long on one task, you can easily update your schedule to show your progress in real-time. Also, the flexibility can allow you to update your schedule based on surprises (last-minute meetings) or how you are feeling (afternoon drain).

Bonus: when you complete a task the action of marking it out or deleting it from your schedule can be a point of celebration for your hard work!

Time blocking helps you when you struggle with overwhelm, decision paralysis, and even getting started. Using time blocking can help you:

  • Get started. Having a set time for each of your daily tasks can make help you have an idea of where to start.

  • Reduce decision fatigue and messy transitions in your day. Deciding what to do next can feel next to impossible sometimes and the time between tasks can also be pretty overwhelming. Having a plan can provide clear direction for the energy you carry from the start to the end of the day.

  • Learn a new skill. Time management is beneficial, but it can be tricky! Time blocking offers a visual record of how long it takes you to do tasks which can help you learn how to more effectively manage your daily schedule.

  • Stop overbooking yourself. If you are more aware of how long it tasks you to do daily tasks, you will have a better idea of how much free time you have throughout the day. Seeing our calendar full of tasks can empower you to set healthy boundaries.

How do I use Time Blocking?

Step 1: Brain Dump.

In this step, you will set a timer for 5 minutes to complete a brain dump. What’s a brain dump? A brain dump is an activity where you write down everything that has been on your mind. You might think about upcoming projects, grocery runs, or last minute to-dos.

Tip: Focus on the things that you need to do today to not get caught up in things that can be done in the future.

Step 2: Schedule the unmovables.

Start by putting your regularly scheduled tasks in your calendar. Be sure to include other blocks like prep or travel time.

Tip: Using Google Maps can help you estimate drive time so you can safely block the time you will be on the road between events.

Step 3: Prioritize events and add the most important next.

Now, decide what should go in next based on high to low priority. Then plug your high-priority tasks into your calendar, followed by lower priority tasks. Make your best guess at how long it might take to do a task.

Tip: Overestimation can be more helpful than underestimation. If you overestimate and can complete a task more quickly than expected, you will have extra time in your day to relax!

Step 4: Group similar tasks.

If you struggle with getting and staying started, starting and stopping tasks might feel like a drain on your energy. One way to help make transitions more tolerable is by grouping similar events together. Designate space for when you want to work alone or be social.

Tip: Think about your energy level throughout the day and plan accordingly. Conserving momentum can help you be more successful with starting, working on, and finishing daily tasks.

Have you used time blocking to help you with your daily productivity? If you are interested in trying time blocking, check out Mezzo Solution's Self-Care Resource page to get access to a free Time Blocking Template and for more ideas on how to take care of yourself when things get busy.

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