How To Get The Most Of Your Days: The Time Blocking Strategy
Back-to-back meetings, endless chains of emails, social media distractions, instant message notifications, moments of procrastination… Does it all sound familiar? And do you find that your productivity rarely makes it through the day?
You’ve probably tried multiple organisation tips and strategies already but often come to the same conclusion: not all the tasks on your to-do list get to be ticked at the end of the day, and a feeling of frustration remains.
Highly productive people – from Elon Musk to Nir Eyal, author of Indistractable – have ditched the to-do list as we know it, in favour of something much-much more powerful: the time blocking strategy, also known as calendar blocking or timeboxing.
What is time blocking and how does it help become truly productive both at work and in your personal life?
Time blocking is the strategy of blocking every moment of your day in advance, and dedicating specific time blocks to focus on certain tasks. Instead of listing out on a to-do list all the work and responsibilities you wish to accomplish during the coming week, the time blocking strategy forces you to plan when and for how long you will be focusing on what really matters. By using your favourite online calendar as the main space of organisation and scheduling, the idea is to fill it out with the tasks you plan to complete – from your morning yoga class and dentist appointment to this analytics report and marketing brief you need to write.
How does it differ from your standard to-do list? How is time blocking more powerful?
Well, whether you use the good old pen & paper or a fancy to do-list software, it will only show you a list of the things you need to do – with no prioritisation, no allocated time, no focus time. On the other hand, time blocking is designed for full focus: by scheduling every part of your day, you decide to block time to focus on specific and important tasks. No more multitasking, no more external distractions! Then you create a space and time in your calendar to actually work on what needs to be done and what truly matters. Another great effect is that nobody will be able to steal time from you: by showing yourself as ‘busy’ in your calendar, you take control back of your time.
4 easy steps to implement the time blocking strategy in your routine:
1. Choose your calendar
Select your favourite online calendar. You can use the time blocking strategy with Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook. And you will do much better if you use a Calendar app that was specifically designed for this approach, like KosmoTime. It will make it super easy to group, schedule and complete your tasks.
2. List out all your tasks
Write down all of the tasks that you want to accomplish, and allocate time to each of them. Then, you should have a list of small (30 minutes), medium (1 hour) and large (1+ hour) tasks. Be extra generous with time! Also known as the planning fallacy – we naturally tend to be too optimistic with how long a task actually takes to do.
3. Organise your tasks
As much as possible, gather tasks that have something in common together, notice the ones that are recurring, and identify what the priorities for the day or the week are. You’ll want to spend more time for the larger tasks, and to block time for the most important ones at a time when you’ll feel the most concentrated.
4. Block time in your calendar
Your list is ready, and your calendar is now waiting to be filled out! Where you see free time, simply block time accordingly against a day and time and reserve that space for one task only. With Calendar apps like KosmoTime, you can simply drag & drop your tasks into your calendar, it will automatically block the time. Others will see you as ‘busy’ in your calendar, and you have now dedicated time for focus and accomplishment.
That great feeling of taking control back on your time!
At KosmoTime, we see time blocking as a synonym of taking control back of your time, which is essential to personal productivity. Having uninterrupted blocks of focus time is definitely a huge game changer! Our Calendar app was developed from this realisation: the to-do list system is good but has its own limits. We needed to create something much more powerful – a tool that really places individual productivity to the core. To go even further, we have developed additional features – such as Mute distractions and Track time – to reinforce a full focus environment.
We encourage you to try out the time blocking strategy, and would love to hear your feedback and know how it has changed your productivity on a daily basis!