Time Blocking

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This is the final post of what became a three part series about looking at your time, where it goes and what to do with it.

When it comes to working through your day there are generally two approaches. Free fall where you let the loudest, shiniest, most recent thing to take over your day. There is no structure and the only aim is to move  through as many actions as possible.
On the other hand you could look at your day and give it a structure. Schedule some very specific time to work on some important projects. Perhaps these are not the most attractive things you could do, perhaps they are thing the you dread doing. Yet they need to get done and if you don’t have any one to delegate to you have to do it yourself.

Time Blocking what is it?

Time blocking is one of the classic techniques for making sure that your time goes where you want it. This is where rubber meet the road. You’ve looked where your time goes using time map. You’ve planned it using budget, now you need to execute it. Time blocking is exactly that, it helps you follow through on the decisions you’ve made.
It’s very simple to use. All you have to do is pick up a calendar, select an action/project you want to work on and set the time and put it in a calendar. The aim of this is to block any other activities and get focused on that one thing. 
 

Benefits

  • Direction – using time blocking you can add a shape you your day. You can make a choices about the tasks that are important to you and you can devote your time to them. Instead letting yourselt to freely flow through the day you can make sure some of it is used for the right things.
  • Focus – is about getting fixed on one thing and giving it maximum of your attention. Blocking time precisely let’s you do that. It works two fold.  You can focus on the task at hand and work through it. You can also focus on actions that allow you making progress in the direction of your goals and plans. Getting enough focus will help to limit impact of the distractions around you like, your colleagues wandering around, people talking over the phone, pinging email client, etc.
  • Close off on overdue items – some items on your todo  may seem to be more attractive that others and unfortunately that means the second group is always pushed back. Whether you want it or not those tasks still have to get done. What you can do is simply block some time for those type of menial tasks and have them off your list.
  • Reminder – often times it’s easy to get caught up in spinning world of incoming email, co-workers asking favours. Day just whizzes through and you just can’t remember doing anything meaningful. Blocking time will work as a reminder of what you supposed to do. If you use electronic calendar you’ll get a pop up message or text from Google. This works even with paper planners. Next time you look at it you will notice that you ought to be doing something.

I recommend watching this video by Gina Trapani which is a great summary of how time blocking can be used during the day:

(via Fast Company)

Time blocking is very simple but effective technique. Sometimes it might be very easy to over use it. Blocking out full day for different tasks is not the best idea. Although you need structure for your day you also need flexibility. Days are not linear there is always something different happening that you haven’t planned for.

If you liked this post please share your views. Do you block time for some tasks? Does it help? Do you get more done?

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