Time blocking is a way to schedule tasks to help you manage your time better. Time blocking is the practice of scheduling tasks into individual time blocks and only working on one task at a time. You can time block by using a calendar (e.g, Google Calendar) or time blocking template.
What Is Time Blocking?
Time blocking involves arranging your tasks into blocks of time to achieve maximum productivity. You only work on one task at a time and move on once you reach the end of your time block (even if I don’t finish). Instead of being reactive to others’ demands, it allows you to design your day proactively.
While you could create a time blocking schedule from scratch, I’ve made a time blocking template that can take your production to the next level. The template is customizable to your specific daily tasks and time frames. Overall, it can save you loads of time.
Why Is Time Blocking Important?
The purpose of time blocking is to encourage you to focus on self-improvement and make plans that can help you take charge of the direction of your day. It forces you to prioritize your daily tasks, eliminates any unused time throughout your day, prevents procrastination, and gives you a solid routine. Most importantly, it helps to focus your efforts on one task at a time.
Four ways time blocking is important are it:
- Forces you to prioritize your tasks: When you start to time block your day, the first thing you need to do is identify your priorities. Time blocking challenges you to understand which tasks are more important than others.
- Eliminates any unused time in your day: Time blocking promotes using every minute of your time to your advantage. Once your schedule is set up, you should have no unused time throughout your day.
- Prevents procrastination: When a time block ends, another one starts. This means you have no time to procrastinate starting your next task. Overall, it puts your production efficiencies through the roof.
- Creates a concrete, recurring routine: Don’t be afraid of a concrete routine. Over time, your time blocks will allow you to develop beneficial habits that are only going to improve your workflow.
Overall, time blocking helps you take control of your time and establish a schedule that is tailored to your tasks. It’s easy to be overwhelmed at first, which is why a time blocking template is helpful. You can also do it on your own. Either way, make sure to follow the six steps to creating a successful schedule.
How to Time Block In 6 Steps
Remember, your schedule is unique to yourself when you time block. To create a successful time blocking schedule, you’ll need to make a list of all your daily tasks, identify your top daily priorities, set up your time blocks, add your blocks to a calendar, follow through with your new schedule, and revise time blocks as you go.
1. Make a List of Your Typical Daily Tasks
To start time blocking, it’s important to make a list of all of your typical daily tasks. This includes both personal and work-related tasks unless you only want to time block for one or the other. But for the purpose of this article, we are going to use both personal and work-related tasks. Start from the beginning of your day and work toward the end, making a list of everything you have to complete daily.
Some common daily tasks to add to your list for time blocking include the following:
- Exercise or gym-related activities
- Daily journaling and meditation
- Breakfast, coffee, tea, and lunch
- Individual morning and afternoon work-related tasks
- Morning and afternoon breaks
Once you’ve made a complete list of your typical daily tasks, you’re on your way to successful time blocking. Before deciding on how much time you’ll allocate for each task, you need to weigh out the importance of each task and determine their priorities.
2. Identify Your Top Daily Priorities
Next, you’ll need to identify which items are your top priorities for time blocking. A good way to do this is by ranking each task between one to five, one being the highest priority, and five being the lowest priority item. Determining your priorities will help you decide when to block times for specific tasks. Overall, this step is going to make it much easier to set up your time blocks.
3. Set Up Your Time Blocks
Time blocking is all about working by the clock and not by your work. To start, dedicate at least one hour to your highest priority item. With that being said, it’s best to block time for your most difficult tasks when you’re most productive. For example, if you work best in the morning, plan to spend the time block after breakfast or your morning routine on your hardest task. Time blocks are typically most effective when they last a few hours.
After you’ve blocked time for your highest priority items, it’s time to schedule the rest of your day. It’s important to only schedule one task per time block, as it will allow you to fully focus on one item. These time blocks should also go in order of priority. Remember, this is just a starting point. Everyone’s tasks are different, so it’s important to decide what will make you most productive throughout the day.
4. Add Your Time Blocks to a Calendar
After you’ve set up your time blocks, it’s time to add them to a digital calendar like Google Calendar or Apple Calendar. Add each time block into the calendar of your choice and have them repeat weekly with alerts. By setting up alerts, it will remind you to move on to the next task. Personally, I prefer using Google Calendar because it syncs up nicely with Gmail. However, both work well.
5. Follow Through With Your New Schedule
Once you’ve set up your time blocks in a calendar, it’s time to follow through your new time blocking schedule. As with most new things, it may be uncomfortable at first. However, it’s important to give it some time and adapt to your schedule changes. As you get the hang of it, be aware of areas where you can improve your time blocks. You may find you’ve allocated too much or too little time for a specific task.
6. Revise Time Blocks As You Go
After the first week of time blocking, revise your new schedule. Review it for areas where you have too much time or not enough time to complete a task. If one or the other is the case, change your time blocks accordingly. Once you do your first revision, you won’t have to revisit your schedule any time soon. However, whenever you notice your time isn’t blocked out well, it’s always important to make adjustments.
Time Blocking Template
A time blocking template can help you set up your new schedule and make it easier to shift time blocks around. The time blocking template is customizable to your specific tasks and can save you a lot of hassle. You can download the time blocking template by clicking the button below.
To start, either open the document in Excel or upload it to your Google Drive. I prefer Google Drive because it’s easy to access even if you’re not at your own computer. From there, change the time slots accordingly on the left-hand side to match your day. For me, I time block from 5:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Once you’ve set up your overall time blocking window, you can input your tasks and their appropriate time blocks.
You can create colored blocks by highlighting the specific cells in Excel and merging them. I recommend using different colors for each specific block, but the same colors for identical tasks. For example, all of your breaks (breakfast, lunch, and afternoon break) should be the same color. Once you’ve time blocked your entire week, it’s time to add them to a calendar.
I recommend using either Google Calendar or Apple Calendar, both work fine. Adding your time blocks to your calendar allows you to schedule alerts or alarms to remind you to move on to your next task. This helps keep you moving through your day and on track with your tasks. To make it easy, I’ve excluded an example of time blocking in use.
Example of Time Blocking In Use
As an author, my week is often based on deadlines. With that being said, my work schedule is up to me as long as I meet those deadlines every week. I use time blocking to help ensure I meet every deadline and also have time for other work-related projects. It has also come with several other benefits.
Specifically, my time blocking schedule has helped me with the following:
- Eliminate any dead or unused time throughout my workday
- Prevent me from taking too long of breaks
- Increase my overall production levels
- Opens up more time to work on projects outside of my job description
- Allows me to be in complete control of my day
Time blocking has improved my overall production levels and has created a less stressful work environment. Before the week starts, I already know I can complete all the work ahead of me because it’s all preplanned. I was never truly a planner until I learned about time blocking and how it could optimize my time.
Time blocking isn’t meant to be confusing, but at first, it can be a challenge to create your schedule and implement it into your weeks. That’s where I come in. I’ve left you with my time blocking schedule as an example that can help guide. Keep in mind, only use it as a guide because not everyone has similar tasks and deadlines.
Time Blocking Tips
With a time blocking template and real example, you’re well on your way to creating a stellar daily schedule. However, there are a few things you should consider. Always overestimate how long your tasks will take in the beginning, revise and change your schedule as you go, and don’t forget to schedule in breaks throughout your day.
Some of the best time blocking tips are:
- Overestimate how long tasks will take: Typically, if you’ve never estimated your time before, everything will take longer than you expect. In the beginning, I recommend blocking more time than you think you’ll need.
- Change your schedule as you go: As you get comfortable and master your schedule, it’s important to revise it as you go. In the beginning, you may time block more time than you need. If you aren’t using all the time for a task, change your time blocks around.
- Schedule in breaks: A lot of us forget how important it is to take breaks from whatever task we’re doing. Don’t forget to schedule in time for breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon break. I especially like scheduling a 30-minute walk near the end of my day.
If you can include these time blocking tips, you should have tons of success when you create your new schedule. Keep in mind, that with time blocking comes several benefits that make it worthwhile to create an in-depth schedule.
Pros & Cons of Time Blocking
Pros of Time Blocking
- Allows you to be the master of your daily schedule: Setting up your schedule like this puts you fully in charge. Forget your old ways of being micromanaged; this will change the way you handle your various tasks.
- Increases production levels: Don’t be surprised when you’re finishing your work easier and quicker than normal. Time blocks will boost your production levels through the roof and you’ll have more time for other tasks throughout your day.
- Makes you realize how much time you have in your day: Once you portion out your day, you’ll see how much time you have to complete what you need. It helps assure you that you have plenty of time to take care of your work.
Cons of Time Blocking
- Requires planning ahead: When you’re preparing your new schedule, you’ll need to think ahead and plan for upcoming tasks. Some people prefer to work day-to-day, which is not how this works.
- Creates a structured schedule: If you’re a go with the flow type of person, this may not be right for you. It creates a structured schedule to follow daily and weekly, with little room for change.
- Doesn’t work for every type of job: It’s likely that a schedule like this will be hard to create with your type of job. Unfortunately, some jobs are more demanding than others and may not promote time blocks.
Time blocking is a way to organize your daily tasks to help you manage your time wisely and optimize your workflow. It’s best used in work situations, but can also be used for tasks around the house or for common errands. Overall, time blocking gives you the control of your day back in your hands.
Setting up a time block schedule can be a challenge and time-consuming. While you could set it up on your own, I have created a time blocking template for you to use. It can help guide you to a new successful schedule. Download it by clicking the button below.