Time blocking for better productivity

February 1, 2021

A simple strategy to help you feel organized and productive.

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Time Blocking for Better Productivity
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Calendar, jounrals, and the book Playing Big by Tara Mohr on a desk.

Do you ever feel like there are just too many tasks for a single day?

I often hear from clients—and have certainly felt myself—that it feels like the number of responsibilities and the number of hours in a day just don’t add up to everything getting done.

I remember feeling this intensely when starting my first business, while juggling parenting and graduate school.

So, to help me feel better organized, I adopted the strategy of time blocking.

The concept of time blocking involves intentionally setting aside specific days and designated blocks of time for recurring activities, both for your personal life (for things like laundry, meal prep, and cleaning) and for work tasks, which can be especially helpful if you run your own business.

Want to give time blocking a try in your life? Here’s how to get started:

Grab a piece of paper and create three columns—one for daily, one for weekly, and one for monthly.

In the first column, write every task you have to complete daily and the amount of time you think each takes. (Be realistic here, but not too generous. If you aren’t sure, get a stopwatch and time how long it takes you the next time you have to complete it.)

Then, do the same for weekly and monthly, writing down all recurring tasks you have to do each week and each month. Then, write the estimated amount of time it would take to complete each task.

Now that you have three columns with all of your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks, start to determine when might be best to complete each task.

For instance, if you run a business, maybe you run all of your financial reports on the last day of each month. If so, find the best time to do that and mark that task in your calendar for the last day of each month, with the designated time blocked off.

Or if you’re scheduling laundry time each week, maybe you determine that Sunday mornings work best. Then, you’ll block off Sunday mornings (for the designated amount of time) every week.

What this does is schedule the recurring tasks that you know will come up for you on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. On Fridays at 12 pm, for instance, you know you’re supposed to be sitting down and doing administrative tasks for your business, so you don’t schedule other meetings or responsibilities at that time.

It’s on your calendar and you don’t have to spend the time or energy thinking about when you’re supposed to be doing that or find yourself accidentally not doing it for three weeks until it piles up so much that you then ignore it for another few weeks.

So, next time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or wishing for more time, try time blocking and see what it does for your schedule and life.

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