In today’s fast-paced work environments, you can easily become overwhelmed by unnecessary tasks. Protect your precious work time by adopting these simple time blocking habits – experts say they can increase your productivity by 150%!
How Does Time Blocking Work?
By dedicating a certain number of hours to just one task, you “block off” your time (and your mind) from other projects – and the myriad of other demands on your attention.
An office worker might schedule an uninterrupted block of time in the morning and attend meetings only in the afternoons. A stay-at-home parent may dedicate a 3-hour block of time (when the kids are at school) to their small business, leaving all other tasks for later in the day. A professional may let their family members know they will be unavailable at a certain time every night to make space for a passion project.
QUICK TIP: If you spend a good amount of time each day answering calls, texts, and emails, set aside a certain time each day for these tasks. Communicate these “office hours” on your voicemail message and in your email signature. Your clients and co-workers will appreciate knowing when you’ll respond. They won’t have to guess how busy your day is and when you’ll finally answer your messages.
Clock Time vs. Event Time
Most people work by the hour and live according to their bosses’ schedules. Whether or not they complete their work, they leave the office at 5 pm every day.
QUICK TIP: Parents treasure the quiet time each day after their kids go to bed – and you can apply this to your daily work. When (most of your) colleagues leave at 5 pm, you can work distraction-free (perhaps for the first time all day).
Stop clock-watching by scheduling tasks to complete each day. Leave your workplace when you’ve met your goals – not when the clock says it’s time to escape. Instead of leaving a project for the next day, finish it now, when all your ideas are flowing. Not only will you increase your productivity, you’ll impress your colleagues and supervisors with your work ethic!
Use the event time strategy to hold off on lunch breaks, trips to the water cooler, etc. Finish everything you start and never again feel the dread of needing to get something done, caught up, or finished by a deadline.
Planning Time vs. Execution Time
If you’re like me, you love spending time on work-related activities that don’t really count as work.
You can dramatically increase your productivity by limiting the amount of time you spend dreaming about your goals and fiddling with your spreadsheets. Use time blocking and a time tracker to balance necessary planning with actual work.
For example, you can set aside one day every year just for long-term, annual planning. At the beginning of each month, you can dedicate an hour to monthly goal-setting. At the beginning of your week, you can sit down for an hour and schedule your projects into daily time blocks.
How to Prioritize Your Time Blocks
Schedule your most important work first. It’s that simple.
When you make your yearly time blocking plan, consider which one task—once completed—would make all your other work easier (or even unnecessary)? Put this task front-and-center in the first four hours of each workday.
For example, if you brew fish-flavored organic kombucha for fickle felines, don’t spend the first half of your day looking for leads online and trying to expand your client base.
You’ll only be dreading the real task for today – cooking up another vat of your tasty beverages!
Instead, do your most important work first. Later in the day, when you have less energy, you can go online, comment on cute cat videos, and subtly name-drop your brand.
Of course, if morning isn’t your most high-energy time you aren’t alone. Schedule your most important task for your best-feeling time of day!
Use the same method to front-load essential monthly and daily tasks.
When you get to work in the morning, ask yourself, “What will I be proud of having done when I leave work today?” Block time early in your day for these tasks and ride home on your daily commute full of accomplishment, not regrets!
Work tools to elevate your productivity – apps for incredibly simple time tracking and effective project planning.