One of my productivity hacks is Time Blocking. As I have to manage multiple projects, I always faced challenges to complete the tasks on time. I was pretty good at listing the tasks but had challenges completing those on time. Then I had a conversation with Coach Akua, a couple of years back and she suggested me to start using the time blocking technique.
So, what is this time blocking? Time blocking is a planning method that divides your day into smaller blocks of time. During each block of time, you focus on a single task or a group of similar tasks. Unlike a to-do list, time blocking not only tells you what to do but when to do it.
Usually, on Sunday evening, I plan my week. Previously I used to list down the task for the coming week, and also plan which day I will work on those tasks. But now, I also block time on my calendar, I marked which task I will do when. This also helps me plan way ahead of different meetings/or with whom I need to set meetings. I use different colors for different projects.
After start using Time Blocking techniques, you will see that tasks will be completed faster with more attention to detail since you’re able to focus completely on the job at hand. Instead of dispersing your energy across multiple tasks, you can dive deeply into the important task in front of you.
It also gives you a chance to renew your commitment to priorities and to what really matters in your life. This will become extremely evident as you block your calendar each week and need to make decisions over what matters most.
Time blocking helps you gain a greater understanding of just how long completing tasks actually takes. This will help with future scheduling and making commitments. Now, let’s look at some steps I follow this approach –
- I create my weekly To-Do list on Sunday evening. Be sure to include both personal and work tasks. Next, group items into the appropriate time block, such as “meetings,” “email,” “family time,” and any other high-value projects. Schedule mandatory tasks first. Any high-priority task should be at the top of your to-do list.
- Task batching is when you do a bunch of similar tasks at once. For example, you can use task batching for something as simple as stuffing invoices into envelopes. With task batching, you can break that larger task down and do each smaller task separately.
- Sometimes I theme my day, like writing proposal or contacting potential clients, or cold call day. If you’re working on a larger project, you may choose to devote one day per week where you only work on project-related tasks. And set your everyday work aside for another day.
- Timeboxing is simply blocking out a specific unit of time within your calendar to do a future task. If you’ve ever accepted a meeting invite and had Outlook automatically add it to your calendar, then you’ve done timeboxing.
Let’s face it, our busy lives and over-full calendars are joined at the hip. The better you can manage your calendar, the better you can manage your life. Fortunately, time blocking provides a time management solution that can give us far greater control, creativity, and peace of mind.