How to Benefit From Block Scheduling
What is block scheduling?
Block scheduling is a block-based system where you block out particular times in the day to focus on key elements or the most important thing for that designated time. Instead of using the traditional to-do list, you’ll start your day with a detailed schedule that sets out what you’ll focus on when you will do it and for who long.
If you're used to the traditional to-do list, then a great approach to blockwork is to look back at your list and prioritise, what is important and what needs to be done today. Take these priorities and put them into your designated blocks for the day. Keep in mind that you'll need to estimate how long you think you'll need on each block. It's crucial to not lose track of the day, so block out mini-breaks, time to look at emails and check-in with colleagues. There is no specific time that you should work too with time blocking, its all dependant on you.
What are some of the advantages of Block Scheduling?
Helps you pick your urgent and important tasks for the day.
Forces you to commit to your priorities and stick with them.
Makes you more realistic with your time and how to manage it.
When you have a precise amount of time to perform a task, you’re motivated and more likely to get it done.
Helps you say 'no' to more things that come your way without having that feeling of guilt.
It battles procrastination and helps you follow through on your goals and help you get into a state of 'Deep Work'
It makes you more aware of how you spend your time daily.
When it comes to scheduling your daily tasks, you are most likely going to follow through with what you have planned for the day. Time blocking forces you to stick to the plan you have laid out and pushes you towards completing your goals every day. As Cal Newport states:
“A 40-hour time-blocked work week, I estimate, produces the same amount of output as a 60+ hour work week pursued without structure.” – Cal Newport, author of Deep Work
How do I make block timing working for me?
Choose a calendar:
The first thing to do is pick an app or use your phone as a calendar or even use a pen and pad, it is up to you. I like the google calendar. Block scheduling can be used on any type of calendar so the one you choose doesn't matter.
The next step is for you to write down a to-do list for the day or week and break this into sections. This could be, anything from meetings, planned phone calls, breaks, leisure time or work activities. You then want to rank them in order of importance. Take the list and block out time in your calendar for the most important activities. If you find yourself running out of time for that day, don't sweat it, just move these tasks to the next day.
Allow some spare time between tasks
It's important to not overdo it, you want to make sure you can have some sort of flexibility when it comes to blocking time for your day or week. Having these small breaks or gaps in your schedule helps you to pick up the smaller things during the day like, checking email or finishing off a small task or speaking to a colleague.
Use Block Scheduling to Promote Deep Work
If you're on a deadline for a particular client then it may be useful to book in long periods for you to get into a 'Deep Work' state. Quality work, as we all know, takes time so make sure you give yourself enough of it. Planning your 'Deep Work' at the times when you're most focused is the best way to do it, for me it is always the morning.
Review, replan and re-prioritise
Finally, it's important to look back at your week or day to see what went right and what could have gone better. Reflect on what you could do to save more time, maybe you spent a little too long on a particular time block or the opposite. The main thing is to look back and see if you can make any changes, they don't need to be huge but small changes make a huge impact.
Check out this video on block scheduling: Time Blocking with Google Calendar (Tutorial & Tips)
It can be a pain when it comes to time blocking. It may even seem like a waste of time to plan your whole week out in front of you. At the end of the day, if don't have discipline over your routine then it's a gateway for all the distractions to come flooding in. Time is our most important resource. Being effective at time management helps you get more done in less time. Giving you the time you need to focus on the things you enjoy in life. Give block scheduling a go, you may be surprised about the amount you can achieve.
Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts!
Blogish - The Productivity Club