How often do you get to the end of the day and wonder where the time went? They say time flies when you’re having fun. But time also flies when you spend your day reacting to emails, taking unscheduled meetings and putting out fires. Time blocking can help you get back to a day that feels controlled and productive by eliminating distractions and focusing on what matters most.
When you end your day feeling productive, energetic and fulfilled, the fact that it flew by doesn’t seem to matter. But when you feel like you are mentally exhausted even though you really didn’t accomplish anything you wanted to get done, it sucks.
Emergencies will keep coming up. Emails will keep flooding your inbox. And the world will keep sucking your time from you, unless you take the control back. Control over your time and your calendar. Time-blocking is a method of planning your days in advance so that you can take back control over your life by intentionally choosing what you focus on, how much time you dedicate to a task (and reduce scope creep) and what not to give your time and attention to.
Of course, I realize that not everyone has 100% control over their schedule, so if that’s the case for you, take the advice I’m offering here and apply as much as you can to make it work for your situation. Over time, it will get easier and you will be able to control more and more of your calendar. . . I promise!
What is time blocking
Time blocking is the practice of planning out your day in advance, with time “blocks” dedicated to performing certain tasks or activities.
When you have a lot going on or when you are trying to achieve a goal, there are going to be plenty of tasks that are distractions and tasks that are priorities and have to get done—both will compete for your time. You could allow your day to unfold on its own and hope you have enough time at the end of your day to work on what’s most important, or you could get intentional about planning dedicated time each day to work on matters—guaranteeing that you are moving toward your goals.
Time blocking is a fantastic way to plan your day according to your top priorities and ensure that you’re making time for what’s most important.
Time-blocking is a method of planning your days in advance so that you can take back control over your life
Here’s a simple way to start time blocking:
- Brainstorm all the things that you’d like to get done in a day.
- Prioritize them, according to what’s most important (hint: If your goal is really your top priority, it should be number 1!)
- Starting with number one, estimate how much time you’ll need to accomplish that particular task.
- Schedule a block of time on your calendar to focus on that task. Repeat with your number two priority and continue until your day has been completely scheduled.
- Remember to block out time for the regular daily tasks that you’ll need to accomplish (checking emails, making calls, eating lunch) as well as some buffer time in between time blocks to handle any emergencies that may arise unexpectedly.
Monitor and adjust over time. As you get into this habit, you might find that you underestimate (or overestimate) the time required for each task. Simply take note of what is realistic for you and make adjustments as necessary.
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It’s really simple and once you get into the habit, it is incredibly empowering. Just knowing that you are in control of your day, that you are choosing to make your goals and most important tasks a priority, and that you are making strides toward success is a really good feeling.
This process can feel a bit messy at first, so if you’re new to time-blocking, remember that all new habits come with a learning curve and that it’s not supposed to be perfect in the beginning. Aim to set aside time each week to reflect on what worked and what didn’t, and apply those lessons to the week ahead. And remember to give yourself grace as you figure out the best time-blocking schedule for you. It will come together and before you know it, you’ll be crushing your goals like the boss you are!
Love you to pieces,