Use Time Blocks To Get More Done!
Do you feel like your days seem to fly by? It is often easy to let the day sneak by you without getting done all that you wanted. Or to get so caught up with the little tasks, that you never have time to work on the important projects. If you experience this, time blocking might be exactly what you need.
See how blocking your time can help make you more productive, efficient, and happy!
15 Way Time Blocking Can Improve Your Life TODAY!
1. Able to focus on long term projects
So I started time blocking a while ago, because I noticed that my productivity was taking a hit whenever things went wrong. I was taking phone calls and checking email constantly which forced me to work on others people's schedules and what they think is an immediate need, may not match my own.
So I began time blocking.
Now, I check emails at the end of the day and mid morning AFTER I complete my most important task of the day, or at least work on it for 90 minutes which is about my level of concentration. In essence what happened was that when I wasn't time blocking, my most important long term task was being pushed behind regular customer service and things that could have waited until at least the afternoon. Now, those big tasks get done and I'm able to actually get through my long term to-do list and build my business. Frankly, I wish I started time blocking earlier!
Mark Aselstine | Founder | Uncorked Ventures
2. Narrow your focus and free up mental space
Time blocking is essential for my personal productivity and for growing my business. My to-do list is long - but by time blocking, I get the benefits of having a single focus during that period of time. It's especially helpful for recurring tasks like marketing, so I know I have a specific time each week to get it done (freeing up the mental space not to think about it the rest of the time.) It's also been great for projects like writing my book, knowing I have dedicated writing time blocked out in my day and week.
I'm the founder of Wellpreneur, a company that helps entrepreneurs to grow their businesses without burning out! Time blocking is also key to make sure you're taking care of yourself (blocking out time for exercise or meditation etc). Schedule it in, so you don't have to think about it!
Amanda Cook | Founder | wellpreneur.com
3. Get more out of each day + fore free time!
When I first started my business, I would work for 12-16 hours a day and not feel like I accomplished nearly as much as I wanted. I realized this was because I wasn't focused on specific tasks, so I was moving from item to item, allowing my mind to wander, stopping and starting, and generally using an inefficient method of the workflow.
I started what I guess you might call time-blocking light by using the Pomodoro method. I'd focus for 25 minutes on one task, take a 5-minute break, then continue. I noticed a sharp increase in my productivity, as I wasn't allowed diversions to go check email, message an employee, or deal with anything outside of that task for 25 minutes.
Once I built up the habit of doing this for at least a few hours a day, I decided to become even stricter with it. I assigned each task a certain amount of time and didn't deviate from that. If for some reason I couldn't complete the task in the given time, I re-evaluated and tried again. If I still couldn't, I allowed slightly more time, in 5-minute increments.
It's helped me get more done each day, and I feel like I can keep track of what I've accomplished much better. It's also honestly given me more free time. When tasks aren't dragging out for no reason, it turns out there are a lot more hours available each day.
Jesse Silkoff | Co-Founder and President | MyRoofingPal
4. Maintain a better balance of work, family, and relaxation.
As a clinical therapist specializing in anxiety, university professor, writer and mom of 2 kids, time blocking helps me organize my chaotic and ever-changing schedule. Because I work from home a lot of the time, the need to block off chunks of time that are dedicated to "work" as opposed to "mom errands", "household needs" and "family time" becomes essential to my ability to focus. Some tricks I use are... when I am doing therapy, I have that time blocked out in one color on my calendar, and when I'm grading papers, I block off sections of time in another color. This becomes a visual cue to me that's time to wear different hats. I try to keep the blocks of time consistent each week. I also sometimes play music that cues my mind that it is a new block of time; for instance, I play Bach's Brandenburg concerto when it's time to focus on paper grading, and I will play more upbeat music when I'm working on writing a book. I find that creating symbols in my mind to divide up the time is important. I have also found that the increased structure helps me focus more and accomplish more in the times I have set aside for particular tasks.
As a therapist, an important idea to me is to also block off "relaxation and recharge" blocks of time throughout my day where I am not on my phone, email or social media. I consider recharge time to be as important as work time because it gives me time to get mental clarity on challenges and to let my body unwind from stress that has built up. Respecting these recharge time blocks is just as important as taking action.
Risa Williams | Therapist and Life Coach | RisaWilliams.com
5. Manage the many responsibilities of a business owner
I've improved my productivity by at least 50% by using time blocking as part of my workday. I handle a lot of different tasks as the owner of an eCommerce business, and without a planned schedule it's easy to try to do everything at once which is inefficient. I set blocks of time in one-hour increments to keep my mind fresh and engaged.
I would recommend people with varied responsibilities try time blocking. It's probably not necessary if your workday consists of one or two tasks, but if you're juggling tens of different things it can be a lifesaver. The great part about it is it's free! No need for expensive organizational software.
Calloway Cook | President | Illuminate Labs
6. Manage your time, and your team's time, better
I am a lawyer and founder of a busy personal injury practice in San Antonio, TX. I also have Adult ADD and focusing on one task is really hard for me to do. It’s easy to get pulled in ten directions with client calls, settlement negotiations, filing deadlines, and more. If I don’t manage my time well, I can be busy all day and not get much accomplished. That’s where time blocking has been a game changer. Every morning, I write down my three most important tasks for the day. I set aside a block of time for each task (usually 25 to 45 minutes). I enter the time blocks into my schedule and my office staff know that those time blocks are sacred. They only interrupt if a potential client calls with a catastrophic injury case. Aside from that exception, absolutely nothing is allowed to interrupt my productivity time blocks. This strategy has been such a game changer for me that I recommend it to all of my employees. If they block out time, I respect it. I take it so seriously that I won’t interrupt them even if I have an urgent matter. Most of the time, it can wait. I can’t imagine operating my practice any other way.
Eric Ramos | Personal Injury Lawyer | https://ericramoslaw.com/
7. Makes you more efficient in a small company
Being part of a small company means wearing a lot of hats and blocking out my time has made my life so much easier and more productive. I think I started doing it after one too many days of feeling like I hadn’t gotten any “work” done because questions and interruptions kept coming up. When I sat down to figure out how I could balance my time better, it dawned on me that the only things I actually blocked out in my schedule were times when other people needed me, which doesn’t accurately reflect that the rest of my workday isn’t totally open.
Time blocking has had four major benefits for my productivity:
I spend less time trying to decide or figure out what’s next. I dedicate a little time at the beginning and end of the day to assess priorities and think about how much time I need to spend on a given project or task. Then, most of the rest of the time, I can move on easily without breaking my flow.
It’s easier to tell people “no” when I’m in the middle of something. I know what my schedule looks like and what benchmarks I need to hit, so if a colleague asks me for something, and it’s not an emergency, I’m not tempted to drop what I’m doing. I know exactly when I’ll have time to devote my full attention to them, which works out better for both of us.
I find it much easier to switch my brain out of work mode, which means it’s easier to relax and recharge.
I no longer feel like notifications are flying at me from all directions. I have specific times to focus on emails, messages, and any other correspondence. I focus better in between and get more done, and fewer of my messages fall through the cracks because I got distracted.
Science has concluded firmly that our brains don’t really multitask well, so time blocking makes sense to me as the best way to focus on one thing at a time while also balancing the many things I need to get done on a daily basis.
Quincy Smith | SEO & Content Specialist | www.ampjar.com
8. Dedicate more time for cognitive work
Time Blocking has helped me be more productive. I follow my calendar relentlessly and there have been times when all my calendar is filled with fire fighting kind of work. For me, It was difficult to do long term thinking, to focus on strategy and tactical work more than executional work. So, I decided to block times on my calendar for thinking, I have blocked 2hrs a day, twice a week for cognitive work and results have been great. I've been able to drive my organization better. There has been a shift in the way we do things all because I can contribute better and make tactical decisions better with more thinking time blocked on my calendar.
Also, as the time is blocked, everything else magically gets settled in unblocked hours, and I am able to do the thinking consistently.
Now my managers are also practicing the same, blocking time for most important things in their calendar to do it consistently and manage their time better around it. We call such things "Big Rocks", we put our big rocks first in the calendar and then everything falls around them and this improves productivity and also brings clarity on what is important for our organization.
Rahul Vij | CEO | WebSpero
9. Create a better work-life balance
Before time blocking, I’ve fallen into the trap of multitasking under pressure to meet most of my obligations, which at times felt so overwhelming that I became desperate that a day only has 24 hours. I decided to set aside time blocking for the two most important things to me: the priority part of my work and family time. Now, from 11 to 1, I have a distraction-free zone where I’m alone at my office and observe the data reports, make strategies, and tend to the most demanding communication with partners via email. I chose this time based on the fact that I’m the most productive at that time.
Another time blocking batch, I’ve reserved for family time, from 7 to 9 pm. During those hours, I’m unavailable on my phone and don’t respond to emails or social media messages..
I’ve come to realize that time blocking has enabled me to engage in deep work and to accomplish more, in less time. My focus doesn’t dissipate, the fact that I’ve blocked time helps me relax into the tasks and think about nothing else while on them.
I’d especially recommend time blocking for people who have a lot on their plates to handle. It will help with focus and pressure management. It’s essential to make it a habit, a routine that the people around know about and help you achieve the distraction-free environment.
Jovan Milenkovic | Co-founder | KommandoTech
10. Divide time into "buckets"
I run The Advisor Coach LLC, a marketing consultancy that works specifically with financial advisors. Time blocking has DEFINITELY helped me accomplish more in my business. The way I've done it is to categorize my time into buckets. For example, I write a monthly paper-and-ink newsletter. I block off a certain amount of time each month to do nothing but write that newsletter. That's one bucket. I also send daily emails. I block off a time each week to write all of my emails in one sitting. That's another bucket. I also have a podcast called "Financial Advisor Marketing". While we release an episode every week, we block off one time each month to recorded four episodes at a time. I also block off time to work with clients, create new projects, conduct webinars, answer questions, etc. I definitely recommend time blocking to other people because it's a way to get in the "flow" when working. If I were to write my newsletter in bits and pieces, I would never achieve that "flow" state. I would never really get into whatever it is that I'm doing. Plus, by time blocking, you avoid all the "getting ready" tasks. For example, I would have to launch my email software, get out my CRM, upload docs, etc. each individual time. Instead, I do it once.
James Pollard | Founder TheAdvisorCoach.com
11. Less overwhelm and more guilt-free time
Balancing freelance writing with work on a novel, I've relied on time blocking to structure my days. My week is balanced between writing-intensive blocks that let me dive into the novel guilt-free with work-intensive days where I write minimally or focus on other author-centric tasks, like editing or submitting to relevant outlets.
Before I began time blocking, I would feel overwhelmed with all the things I could do and guilty when I spent time on my author career instead of something that would "pay the bills." Time tracking allowed me to better understand how much time different activities took, so I could then schedule a daily, weekly, or monthly block for the needed activity (such as spending time on author marketing or social media). Over the last year, I've chunked together the relevant blocks into a monthly administrative day that allows me to work on the systems that keep my freelance self-employed life humming along without spending mental energy within the day to day worrying about that stuff. Bottom line, I've got more time to do the things I want to do (to fill my cup), plenty of time to do the things I need to do ($-generating activities), and more mental energy, focus, and satisfaction.
Lindsey Danis | Writer | http://www.lindseydanis.com
12. Reduce anxiety and increase confidence
Time blocking has helped me in EVERY aspect of my life. As a mom, a business owner and also employee I've got A LOT going on. Time blocking has helped my productivity levels, lessened my anxiety, increased my confidence in my abilities to get things done and has allowed me to be more present with my family so I'm not constantly worrying if I forgot to do something. I would recommend time blocking to ANYONE. Even if you don't have three jobs or run a business, time blocking can benefit you.
Alexa Massie | Online Health Coach and Personal Trainer | AlexaMassie.com
13. Prioritize and plan your day better
Time blocking schedules my tasks and help me manage my time in a better way. Instead of making things complicated, I prefer doing big tasks first so that I can easily do small tasks later even if the time is short. Time blocking forced me to manage my time at work. With it, I became more realistic in planning my work. The tool helped me in being more productive as I got to know how I am going to manage my time. Most importantly, the tool helped me in prioritizing things.
As I see many people in workplaces that are capable of doing multiple tasks at a time but still are not that productive. For them, I suggest making the habit of prioritizing their tasks with time blocking. In that one can aggregate all of their important meetings and tasks and then can drag and drop tasks. This will be more fruitful for them.
Rafid Nassir | Fitness Coach & Blogger | Veganliftz
14. Eliminate wasted time
I have utilized time blocking since college. As a working mother, this time management system has enabled me to be extremely productive and successful in my endeavors. I purposely designate blocks of time on my calendars, planners and schedulers for each of my activities including professional and personal.
One of the benefits of the system is that I am able to limit wasteful activities. It helped me increase my productivity at home and in my career. I am now able to balance my work and life together. I feel I can do so much more when I use it. When I haven't used time blocking, I felt that my day lagged or was always trying to play catch up. I even felt unorganized. I schedule my day to the minute. If I don't have time in the day, I know to accommodate the time on alternate days.
I would recommend that time blocking is used. It enables users to eliminate the process or habit of being busy. When your time is not planned, you're more prone to do "busy work". The block time scheduling allows you to work smarter and shorter instead of harder and longer. It keeps you at a steady pace and sets a routine for you.
Angelique Hamilton | Founder/Chief Executive Officer | HR Chique Group
15. How to Time Block
Maybe because of my MBTI Profile (INTJ), I apply time blocking to raise my productivity on a daily basis. The time blocks show up in my iCal with reminders to make sure I remember to do the work.
I am happy to share with you the entire system with you:
On a daily basis, I list out 3 important tasks I have to accomplish for myself
and for my business (only 3 and no more). This is why some of my students
told me that time blocking did not work for them – they listed too many tasks
to do each day.
When it’s time to execute the task, avoid answering calls, checking emails and browsing social media. In short, no distraction at all.
The maximum duration for each time block is 1 hour (for me). And if the tasks require more than an hour, there will be a 15 min break in between.
Evaluate the results for the day. Have I completed all my 3 tasks? What are the next 3 tasks I have to do the next day? If I did not complete all my tasks, then I examine what I can do to make up for it.
Time block for the “me” time. I schedule it once a month where during this
“me” time, it’s totally up to me how I want to use it. No work or business dealings what so ever. The importance of having “me” time is to reward myself for being productive.
Finally, I would like to add one more thought -> being busy is very different from being productive. I have students who came to me wondering why they did not achieve exceptional results despite being busy. When I checked their calendar, I notice one thing -> they like to start something but do not like to finish it. So, the emphasis of having a time block is not just to
start something but make sure it is finished.
Jack HM Wong | Author | Cracking The Entrepreneur Code
Now Get To It!
Give it a try! If you haven't used time blocking before, you can start today! Set a timer for 25 minutes and work on ONE task until the timer goes off. Don't answer phone calls, check emails, or respond to a text. Keep your focus narrow and your efficiency high.
If you need help, check out the GoalCrazy 90 day planner. It's layout is designed to work with time blocking schedules-giving you appropriate spaces to plan you day using time blocks rather than a conventional schedule with the hours of the day.
You can check it out below!