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How To Use Time Blocking for a More Productive Day

Value your time and be conscious of how you use it. 

Does this sound familiar? You’re working on a project or task and think of something you need to do. So, you stop what you’re doing and go to complete another project/task. Now you have 2 projects in the works and you think of something else you need to do. Then, you start a third project. Now, you have 3 incomplete projects.

Or, maybe this sounds more familiar? You’re engrossed in a project and before you know it 2 hours have gone by, you’ve skipped lunch and you don’t have time to complete the other tasks on your to-do list.

If you feel like you’re juggling too many things and you have no idea what to tackle and when, you’re not alone.

It’s time to make some changes to that never ending to-do list that is more overwhelming than it is productive.

Do you want to feel extremely productive at the end of the day? Do you want to be productive and not just busy?

Because it’s the most important thing I can say, let me begin with my #1 tip to being more productive, no matter what time management system you use. Be kind to yourself and give yourself some grace.  There are days when the schedule does not go exactly as I have them planned. Life happens and things come up. That is okay! Having a realistic plan and a big picture of my day motivates me to stay on task and accomplish what I have planned for the day. If something doesn’t get done I plan for it the next day. There is nothing productive about beating yourself up for what you did not accomplish or for the things that didn’t go as planned.

Now that that’s been said, let me introduce you to time blocking.

Time-blocking is organizing your day in a series of time slots. Instead of writing a list of tasks that take as long as they take, with a time-blocked system, time periods are devoted to a task.

Time blocking helps me minimize distractions because I know I’ve allotted a specific amount to time to focus on a task. In other words, I don’t have time to scroll through my Instagram feed. This time management system also keeps me on task. If I think of a blog task I need to get done that day, I know I can continue what I’m doing because I’ve scheduled blog tasks for another time.

With time blocking, I am able to accomplish what is most important and with less stress. I feel more organized and motivated and less overwhelmed. I like being super clear on what I need to focus on during the day. It also helped me to see where I was being unrealistic with my time.

How I use time blocking to plan a productive day:

  1. On Sunday with the family calendar in hand, with a focus on the whole week, I time block recurring tasks (e.g. morning routine, commute, etc.), appointments, deadlines and time specific commitments.
  2. As part of my daily morning routine, with a focus on the day, I  time block 3 (no more than 4) priority tasks for that specific day.
  3. I check off the day as I go. I like the visual of what I have accomplished and I’m clear at the end of the day what, if anything, needs to be planned for another day.
  4. If something comes up during the day, I make note of it so I don’t forget, and move on staying focused on the task at hand.
  5. And, at the end of the day, I make note of what might need to be a priority on the schedule for the next day.
  6. Repeat.

It takes time and intention to form a habit. Be consistent and adjust the system to meet your needs.

Tips for Time Blocking:

  • Keep it simple with categories and consider color coding: Work, Family, Rest, Personal.
  • It’s not as complicated as it looks and it gets easier with time.
  • Use the right tools. Find an app, use an online calendar or a paper and pen planner that works for you. I use iCal.
  • Plan your time blocks the night before if you’re more of a night owl.
  • Schedule priority tasks, if they’re not specific to a time of day, during your most productive time of day.
  • Focus on one task at a time.
  • Give yourself enough time to work on a task to completion or to a stopping point.
  • Keep in mind how long can be productive and focused.
  • Make sure to schedule follow up time for meetings and tasks, if needed.

Something to keep in mind, research on time management shows that people tend to be most productive when they can work in focused blocks of time and take regular breaks to stretch and refresh. Take breaks! It can be counter productive if you don’t.

 

Final thoughts.

I loved that with time blocking I could let the other stuff go to focus on whatever is on the schedule vs. feeling the pressure of all the things on the list because I know there will be time set aside to attack it later in the week. That was huge for me.

I also loved that it really makes me more conscious of my time. I give more thought to other opportunities as they pop up. Do they align with my current goals? Is taking time away from one of my regular tasks on the schedule worth it to be able to do something else?

Be sure to make time for fun and relaxation so you create a life you want and absolutely love.

I’d love to chat.

Do you have a system for planning your day? Are you a to-do list kind of person?

Have a beautiful day!

be the best version of YOU

 

 

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42 Comments

  1. I really think I should try this out once the kids have started back at school (24 hours and counting!); I do tend to flap about and not really get as much done as I should, especially considering how frantically busy I always feel. More structure is the key, I think… x

  2. My mummy needs to introduce time blocking into her routine, especially for blogging as she does it when she has a spare minute then never really has any downtime to relax (apart hen she’s sleeping)

  3. I use to do this for my exams at uni and it helped me a lot. I wasn’t stressed as I would usually be and I actually followed through

  4. What an awesome idea and I think this is exactly what I need I’m not always in my focus but I love to achieve all my task for the whole day and it’s great to list all the task that I’ve done.

  5. I’ve never heard of time blocking before, but there are some great tips here that I can put into practice for managing my work load at work! Thanks for sharing 🙂 x

  6. This sounds like a great idea for me! Atm I am surrounded by loads of to do lists so I know what I should be doing but it still isn’t getting done!

  7. I am pretty organised and do this all the time and without this process I would be in a right frazzle 🙂 x

  8. Thanks for sharing! As a freelancer, I definitely need to be better and actually use those tips.

  9. Great post! I’m currently in need of putting something like this into place, as juggling full-time work which is currently requiring overtime too, plus studying part-time AND wanting/trying to blog, is proving difficult at the best of times.

    Kayleigh x

  10. I recently started being more disciplined in blocking time in my diary for specific tasks and projects. It really saves my work day filling up with meetings.

  11. I will definitely be using these tips, I have got into an awful habit of going from one thing to the next, getting distracted and being late of what I want to do

  12. I wish I was this organised, I write really rough to do lists on paper and nothing ever gets done. I love this idea though, this month it can be my challenge! 🙂

  13. I need to do this. I just try to get all my tasks done in the morning but I feel like I never do and get super overwhelmed.

  14. All great tips!! Time blocking makes a huge difference in being more organized and being able to complete more tasks. I write several to do lists each day and prioritize them then give myself so much time for each task.

  15. These are great tips. Whenever I use time blocking I find that it really gives me clarity and boost my productivity. I think I need to work on being more consistent.

  16. These tips are so helpful! One of my favorite things to do is block out 20 minutes a day to complete tasks on my to-do list or even just clean. I like to set up my week on Sundays as well and set my goals. 🙂

  17. Nancy Gao says:

    Thanks for these tips, I was looking for such type of article for a long.i was really in need of such briefly explained tips to organize myself. Thank you again. Keep up the good work.

  18. I’ve never thought about using time blocking to help be more productive nor had I ever heard of it. But, I can see how it would help throughout the course of the week!

  19. I love the idea of time blocking. It would keep me organized. Thanks!

  20. Elizabeth O says:

    These are very helpful tips for getting things done. Of course, there are those days when life throws us curve balls and we have to go with the flow. 🙂

  21. Thank you for these tips. There are days when I get so overwhelmed with the tasks I need to accomplish. There are even days that i do not sleep because there are deadlines to meet. All this has got to change. I am going to try your tips.

  22. Now that I’m balancing a 16 credit hour school schedule with a full-time job, this will be even more essential for me. Time blocking has helped me out immensely — I really appreciate your tips.

  23. I’m headed to college in the fall, and I’m also a single mom of 3 girls. I definitely need to do something now to organize our life before school starts.

  24. I like the idea of writing it all down so that you can see it being done. There’s a sense of relief.

  25. Blair villanueva says:

    Thank you for your beautiful tips! You are right, this will help our schedule organized and simplified.

  26. Ashley cook says:

    Time blocking is essential to my life haha! If I don’t block out what I’m doing I’ll literally find myself on the couch eating something I shouldn’t , for far too long! I’m not as organized as to color code yet but it has been so helpful! Thanks for the article and reminding me I’m doing something right! Haha

  27. I used to be more productive when I was able to plan my schedule & use a journal! Now, my timing is just all over the place! Maybe I should use this strategy.

  28. This is so awesome, and you posted at such perfect timing! I use my Sundays to plan out the week too, and I’m going to use your timeblocking method this week and see if it helps me stay on track! I hope you have a great week! 🙂

  29. You’re so organized!!! I definitely need to look into time blocking because my current list making, then more list making and not getting anything done but 1 or 2 things on my lists method is obviously not working. LOL Thanks so much for the tips!

  30. I’m totally to-do list kind of person. I usually plan important tasks for the whole week. But sometimes some tasks overtakes me and then I find myself in panic. That’s why I love this time blocking plan. I definitely need to try this.

  31. This is so helpful. I always have at least 3 projects going on at once, if not more!

  32. These are fabulous tips that I need to add to my life! Thanks for breaking it down so well and reminding me to give myself grace!

  33. Time blocking is so helpful! I started doing in during the winter, but have kind of fell off the wagon. Hoping to get back on track after I move 🙂

  34. I will definitely be using these tips! Every day I feel like there’s never enough time in the day, so I can always benefit from ways to be more productive! Thanks Jill 🙂

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